Found November 20, 2012 on
Fox Sports West:
NEW YORK The NCAA is investigating a conversation pertaining to UCLA basketball player Shabazz Muhammad that a Memphis, Tenn., attorney said she overheard on an Aug. 7 commuter flight.
The attorney, Florence Johnson Raines, said she heard a man who said he was dating "an NCAA attorney" loudly telling people around him that his girlfriend had said Muhammad would never play college basketball this season because he broke rules.
Raines emailed a letter to Dennis Thomas, then a member of the NCAA infractions committee, saying she was concerned that what should have been a confidential matter was being discussed in such a way.
Muhammad, a highly recruited freshman swingman, was declared ineligible Nov. 9, just hours before UCLA opened the season against Indiana State. The NCAA ruled that its amateurism policies had been violated because a financial planner whom the Muhammad family considered a friend paid for unofficial recruiting visits the player took to Duke and North Carolina.
The Times obtained a copy of Raines' letter and spoke to her last Wednesday, publishing a story online later that day. When contacted, she confirmed her story and added details such as the man referring to his girlfriend as "Abigail." Abigail Grantstein was the NCAA's lead investigator on the Muhammad case.
The NCAA announced Friday that Muhammad would be eligible after paying 1,600, which was the approximate cost of the recruiting trips, and serving a three-game suspension. It effectively made him immediately eligible because he had already missed three games.
"I was relieved by what the NCAA did on Friday," said Raines, who practices labor and employment law at Johnson and Brown, P.C., in Memphis. "I felt they understood that they had an issue."
When Raines' letter was first publicized, the attorney requested anonymity, saying she wanted to avoid more media attention. However, she granted permission for her name to be published Monday, when she confirmed she had been contacted by the NCAA about her letter.
She said she planned to speak by telephone this week with an independent attorney representing the NCAA. That attorney, Donald Lundberg, told Raines that her original letter had been "apparently overlooked" and was "not forwarded to the NCAA."
"The NCAA expects our staff to protect the integrity of all of its processes, and we take any credible claims to the contrary very seriously," NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said Monday. "As a result, we are working with experienced outside counsel to conduct an inquiry into this matter but do not have any further comment."
The airplane conversation took place only eight days after the NCAA first requested documentation from Muhammad's family and long before any of it was received.
BEST OF MAXIM
Shabazz Muhammad is a queer...
— Dimitri (@dimi_rakas) November 20, 2012
A Pull-Up As Your 1st Bucket Eh ? #Shabazz
— * Dee Garland™ (@Da_Dream23) November 20, 2012
shabazz Muhammad looks like somebody's Father...
— Naphiysh (@TFisaNaphiysh) November 20, 2012
Shabazz Muhammad look 40 years...
Shabazz Muhammad had 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting in 25 minutes in his UCLA debut.
With his collegiate debut out of the way, it was time for another first for UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad. The freshman made his first career start for the Bruins as they concluded their trip to Brooklyn for the 2012 Progressive Legends Classic.
Muhammad started in place of David Wear who injured his back in Monday's loss against Georgetown.
Ben Howland's most prized recruit...
The much-anticipated debut of freshman Shabazz Muhammad couldn't produce a win for UCLA.
Perhaps a matchup with slumping Georgia will.
The 11th-ranked Bruins will try to rebound from their first loss of the season Tuesday night against the Bulldogs in the third-place game of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn.
Declared ineligible by the NCAA earlier this month following an investigation...
NEW YORK -- The Shabazz Muhammad Era finally has begun at UCLA -- if you want to call one season an era, that is. But fans expecting one of the nation's most explosive freshmen to live up to the hype in his first career game were disappointed by Muhammad's debut in the Bruins' 78-70 loss to Georgetown on Monday night at the Barclays Center.
Sure, Muhammad, the No. 2...
Hyped UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad took 11 free throws. Georgia took 10 as a team.
That, more than any other stat, told the story of the night for Georgia, which frittered away a strong start and lost to UCLA 60-56 Tuesday night in the consolation game of the Legends Classic tournament.
''I thought the difference in the game was the free-throw line,'' Georgia...
Shabazz Muhammad scored 20 points and No. 11 UCLA made enough free throws late to hold off Georgia for a 60-56 win Tuesday night in the consolation game of the Legends Classic tournament.
In the final minutes of a mostly dreary game, UCLA (4-1) took the lead with Muhammad on the bench, on baskets by Travis Wear and Jordan Adams, but the hyped freshman re-entered with 1:58 left to...
NEW YORK (AP) -- Markel Starks scored 23 points and Georgetown beat No. 11 UCLA 78-70 in the semifinals of the Progressive Legends Classic on Monday night at the Barclays Center, spoiling the college debut of Shabazz Muhammad.
Otto Porter had 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Hoyas (3-0), who will face No. 1 Indiana in Tuesday night's championship game. The Hoosiers...
The crowd at the Barclays Center was keeping its eyes on the court as much as possible. The fans were all keeping an eye on Shabazz Muhammad.
When would the heralded freshman from UCLA, who was cleared to play the NCAA just three days ago, enter a college game for the first time?
For history's sake the 6-foot-6 lefty from Las Vegas entered the game against Georgetown with 14...
UCLA's next game will mark one of the most highly anticipated debuts in college basketball, as freshman Shabazz Muhammad will hit for the floor for the Bruins as they meet Georgetown in a Legends Classic semifinal at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Monday night.
The No. 13 Bruins (3-0) will finally have Muhammad, considered by many to be the No. 1 recruit in his class. The...