One of the offseason's most bizarre stories has a fizzling finale. Texas freshman center Mohamed Bamba has been cleared, again, by the NCAA's eligibility center less than two weeks after with self-described intent to get Bamba off the court next season.
Bamba's half-brother, Ibrahim Johnson, claimed a man named Greer Love provided benefits and gifts to Bamba that violated NCAA bylaws. But Love's long-standing relationship with Bamba had already been established by the NCAA. Still, upon Johnson's video upload and contact to the NCAA, a second round of checks were made.
On Tuesday, the NCAA cleared Bamba. Texas was never formally investigated by the NCAA's enforcement staff. This was purely a matter of amateurism eligibility.
"After evaluating all available information, the NCAA determined the assistance Greer Love provides to Mohamed Bamba does not violate rules," the NCAA's statement reads. "Bamba remains certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center."
Texas put out a statement with more context toward the decision. Shaka Smart did not release a statement, and did not respond to a text message from CBS Sports about the decision. Via Texas' sports information department, here is the NCAA's interpretation of the situation, and the reason it ruled the way it did -- in UT's favor.
"Based on the information provided, the relationship between [Bamba] and Mr. Love meets the 6/6/2000 pre-existing relationship test. In this case, the relationship between [Bamba] and Mr. Love developed when [Bamba] was in 4th grade through an after school mentoring program. Although the mentoring program had both an academic and athletics purpose, their relationship was not established based on [Bamba's] ability or reputation as an athlete. Further, the pattern of communication between [Bamba] and Mr. Love has been continuous and the benefits provided to [Bamba] have been consistent since the establishment of their relationship. In addition, Mr. Love has a consistent, established pattern of providing comparable benefits to other individuals (and family of individuals) who were also a part of the mentoring program and most of which are pursuing nonathletic career paths/opportunities. Therefore, based on the information provided, the benefits provided to [Bamba] by Mr. Love are not in violation of NCAA amateurism rules. Further, any future benefits provided to [Bamba] by Mr. Love are permissible provided the pattern of such benefits remain consistent. Finally, there is no evidence in the facts provided that Mr. Love meets the definition of an agent for purposes of NCAA rules."
Bamba's inclusion to Texas is massive. He projects as a top-five pick in the 2018 draft and was the No. 2 player in the high school class of 2017, according to 247 Sports. With him playing center for the Longhorns, UT will have an upgraded defensive presence and should expect to contend for the NCAA Tournament after an 11-22 season in 2016-17.