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New Mexico guard Jamal Fenton's extra benefit: Birthday party discount

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

It came out recently that New Mexico guard Jamal Fenton was suspended for three games for an NCAA violation. At the time, the only detail released was that it was a “minor NCAA violation regarding an impermissible benefit.”

Now we know exactly what happened.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Fenton received a $250 discount when renting out a hotel ballroom for his 21st birthday. He paid $500, when the ballroom normally costs $750.

Fenton insisted he did not know he was getting a discount.

“Not knowing I already got the discount, [the hotel sales representative] told me the price and it sounded like a good price for me,” Fenton wrote in an email to the New Mexico compliance office last April. “If I would have known the real price, I still would have got it.”

The hotel sales rep told compliance officers that Fenton did not ask for the discount, but the hotel lowered the price once they became aware it was for a New Mexico student-athlete.

Any extra benefit from $100 to $300 requires a three-game suspension, while Fenton also had to pay back the benefit to a charity of his choice. While the penalty seems harsh -- especially considering Fenton claims he didn't know about the extra benefit -- it is consistent with NCAA guidelines.

Fenton, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, averaged 6.5 points and 2.4 assists last season. He will sit out the season opener against Davidson, and also miss two games at the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

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