|UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad remains in limbo, and his family is now publicly going after the NCAA . (US Presswire)|
The NCAA deemed UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad ineligible just hours prior to the Bruins season-opener on Friday night and now the family has released a statement regarding its displeasure and frustration with the organization:
"Shabazz's family is very distressed by the NCAA's recent decision and the manner in which it was announced. Shabazz and his family have been cooperating with the NCAA for well over a year. Earlier this year, the NCAA asked Shabazz and his family not to reveal to each other or to the press facts related to the NCAA investigation. Despite the many untrue rumors which were circulating on the Internet, Shabazz and his family dutifully did what they were told. In order to entice Shabazz's family and others to cooperate, the NCAA repeatedly gave assurances that it would keep details of the investigation strictly confidential. As recently as November 2012, the NCAA promised that it would not issue a Press Release.
"Last Friday, the NCAA released a Press Release which not only was wrong in its conclusions but which also inaccurately portrayed the investigation process in this case. For over a year, the NCAA has known all of the relevant facts related to its ruling last Friday. Prior to the unofficial visits in question, Ron Holmes and Ben Lincoln received approval from NCAA (through its member universities) for Mr. Lincoln (who has had a continuous close friendship with Shabazz's family since 2007) to pay for airline tickets and hotel rooms. In 2010, Mr. Holmes openly and honestly revealed to the NCAA the source of the payments on the NCAA's compliance form. Shabazz's family is now faced with the situation where they are concerned that any attempt to tell more of their side of the story will result in further punitive action, as Shabazz is still under the mercy of the NCAA. Shabazz and his family will continue to honestly cooperate with the NCAA in the hopes that Shabazz soon will be allowed to play basketball at UCLA."
Both Holmes, Muhammad's father, and attorney Bill Trosch declined to comment further to CBSSports.com on the situation.
The statement was released first to the Los Angeles Times.
Muhammad, a 6-foot-6 wing who could be the key to UCLA's resurgence and also head coach Ben Howland saving his job, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for violating amateurism rules. The NCAA has been looking into various aspects of Muhammad's recruiting -- including unofficial visits about two years ago to Duke and North Carolina paid for by financial adviser Lincoln. The organization has also investigated another financial adviser, Ken Kavanagh, who helped fund Muhammad's former AAU organization, Dream Vision.
There was no specific timetable on the length of the punishment and it's unclear whether UCLA will appeal the decision. UCLA plays home games this week against UC Irvine and James Madison and then travels to New York, where it could have a highly anticipated meeting with top-ranked Indiana in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Arena in Brooklyn.