Memphis' James Wiseman withdraws lawsuit against the NCAA, will sit in hopes of having eligibility restored
Wiseman and the NCAA are working toward a resolution of his eligibility issues
Five-star freshman James Wiseman has formally withdrawn his lawsuit against the NCAA and Memphis and, as CBS Sports reported Wednesday night, is in the process of resolving his eligibility issues. In the meantime, Memphis announced Thursday that it has ruled Wiseman ineligible. The school is now applying for reinstatement and will withhold Wiseman from competition until further notice.
The Tigers' next game is Saturday against Alcorn State.
Memphis had been in contact with the NCAA throughout the week and working toward a resolution to end the controversy surrounding Wiseman. A source told CBS Sports that the NCAA, Memphis and Wiseman's family all came to the realization that it's in everybody's best interests to reach an agreement rather than continue a high-profile and contentious legal battle that was risky, on some level, for each party.
Wiseman's attorneys issued the following statement Thursday:
"It has become clear to Mr. Wiseman that the lawsuit he filed last week has become an impediment to the University of Memphis in its efforts to reach a fair and equitable resolution with the NCAA concerning his eligibility status. Therefore, Mr. Wiseman advised his legal team that he wished to withdraw his lawsuit. There will be no further comment at this time."
After Wiseman's legal representatives announced the lawsuit would be dropped, Memphis issued a statement saying Wiseman would be withheld from competition until he is cleared by the NCAA. Here's the full statement:
University of Memphis student-athlete James Wiseman has decided to withdraw his lawsuit against the NCAA and the University. The University supports the decision, as it believes it is in James' and the men's basketball team's best interests to resolve his eligibility issue expeditiously through the NCAA process.
In order to move the matter forward, the University has declared James ineligible for competition and will immediately apply for his reinstatement. Pending that notification, James will be withheld from competition but will continue to practice with the team.
The NCAA is fully aware of the unique nature and challenges in this particular case, and the University is confident that the NCAA will render a fair and equitable decision consistent with its mission.
The number of games Wiseman might be asked to sit out due to an alleged impermissible benefit his mother accepted from Memphis coach Penny Hardaway in 2017 is the biggest issue to resolve, a source told CBS Sports. The range of possible games remains unclear.
The NCAA publicly acknowledged last week that it told Memphis that Wiseman, the presumptive No. 1 pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, is "likely ineligible" for what the school stated was a payment from Hardaway of approximately $11,500 designed to help the Wiseman family relocate from Nashville to Memphis. At the time, Hardaway was the coach at East High School. He was also labeled a Memphis booster, which means -- in the simplest of terms -- the NCAA has alleged that a Memphis booster provided an impermissible benefit to the mother of a recruitable student-athlete who ultimately enrolled at Memphis, in violation of NCAA rules.
Wiseman received a temporary restraining order against the NCAA last Friday -- at which point Memphis decided to play him against Illinois-Chicago. He played again Tuesday against Oregon and was due back in court Monday. But now, obviously, that appearance will not happen.
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