James Wiseman suspension: NCAA upholds 12-game punishment for Memphis star freshman

While Memphis cooperated with the NCAA and ruled freshman James Wiseman ineligible from competition two weeks ago over eligibility concerns, the NCAA showed no leniency in his appeal to lessen his previously ruled-upon 12-game suspension. The NCAA announced Wednesday that its initial punishment, which withholds the Tigers star from competition until Jan. 12, has been upheld.

"The Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement upheld the staff decision regarding University of Memphis student-athlete James Wiseman," the NCAA said in a statement. "He is eligible to return to competition on Jan. 12."

The suspension was handed down Nov. 20 as a result of a booster dispute related to Tigers coach Penny Hardaway. Hardaway donated $1 million to the University of Memphis in 2008, long before he was hired as Memphis coach. Because he made that donation, however, he was deemed a booster, making his $11,500 donation to the Wiseman family's moving expenses several years ago a violation of NCAA rules.

The NCAA ruled Wiseman must pay that exact amount -- $11,500 -- to a charity of his choosing.

"This morning, the NCAA's Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement upheld the conditions of reinstatement for James Wiseman, who will be eligible to return to competition Jan. 12," Memphis said in a statement. "Although disappointing, we look forward to a promising season."

Wiseman was the No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2019 when he signed with Memphis, and he remains in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. A 7-foot-1 center with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, Wiseman's averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in three games this season -- all played before the Tigers ruled him ineligible.

Based on the NCAA ruling, Wiseman will miss the start of conference play for Memphis but will return Jan. 12 when the Tigers face South Florida on the road. His first home conference game is scheduled to take place Jan. 16 against Cincinnati.

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