- James Wiseman was the No. 1 recruit in the nation and helped give Memphis the top recruiting class in the country last year.
- He is expected to be a lottery pick in the next NBA Draft.
- But since the NCAA has decided to look at a bylaw in a new light, his prior relationship with his coach, Penny Hardaway, may end his college career before it starts.
The NCAA has some pretty antiquated rules. Few would dispute that, but they are the governing body for college athletics, so it is their job to make, interpret, and enforce the rules. However bizarre they may be.
It is up to the NCAA to make sure there is a level playing field for every team. If teams cheat or try to circumvent the rules, it’s their responsibility to make them regret it. But what they shouldn’t do is deliberately interpret statutes in such a way that they find violations where there aren’t any.
However, that is precisely what they are doing by deeming Memphis freshman James Wiseman ineligible.
NCAA vs. James Wiseman (and Penny Hardaway)
The NCAA is using Penny Hardaway’s generosity against him. | Source: Michael Reaves / Getty Images / AFP
In someone’s mind, the case the NCAA has involving Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway and his star recruit, James Wiseman, makes sense. But to most observers, it is ridiculous.
Hardaway, who was hired by Memphis in 2018, gave a $1 million donation to the university in 2008. This made him a “booster” in perpetuity – at least according to the NCAA. That created problems in 2017, when he gave James Wiseman’s mother $11,500 to cover moving expenses for the family to move from Nashville to Memphis.