Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 11/20/12
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. -Baxter Holmes
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Robert Griffin III on QB battle: Only one of us runs 4.3

Gordon defends friendship with 'good friend' Manziel

Geno Smith ‘kind of pissed off’ about Ryan Fitzpatrick’s return

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

Five NFL teams set to underachieve in 2016

WATCH: Belichick gets annoyed by Jimmy Garoppolo question

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker