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Comments by Shabazz Muhammad’s lawyer are not a good sign

Oct 22, 2012, 10:00 AM EST

Shabazz Muhammad

It sounds like Shabazz Muhammad might be in trouble when it comes to his NCAA eligibility.

Let’s ignore what we already know for a second. Let’s forget about the fact that he wasn’t cleared to go on a trip to China with the rest of his UCLA team and that his sister is sponsored by the same shoe company that sponsored his AAU team and sponsors UCLA. Let’s get past all the issues with his association to agents and financial advisers and all of the mess surrounding his unofficial visits across the country.

All you need to know about Muhammad’s attempt to become NCAA eligible is this quote that his lawyer, Robert Orr, gave to the LA Times on Sunday night:

“Shabazz didn’t even turn 18 until November of 2011 and until he signed with UCLA in April of this year was not under NCAA jurisdiction,” Orr said.

Obviously, we don’t know the context of the quote, so this will all be speculation. But the speculation isn’t all that difficult, is it? This is, essentially, Orr telling one of the biggest papers in the country that the NCAA shouldn’t be allowed to punish Muhammad — or, for that matter, Anderson or any recruit that asks for an NLI signing bonus or has their recruitment brokered by an agent — for the amateurism violations his committed while in high school.

That’s not a defense. That’s a technicality. That’s semantics. That’s Ross trying to convince Rachel he didn’t cheat on her because they were on a break.

And it doesn’t even work. Take, for example, NCAA Bylaw 12.01.3, which says:

NCAA amateur status may be lost as a result of activities prior to enrollment in college. If NCAA rules specify that an “individual” may or may not participate in certain activities, this term refers to a person prior to and after enrollment in a member institution. If NCAA rules specify a “student-athlete,” the legislation applies only to that person’s activities after enrollment.

If you continue on to NCAA Bylaw 12.1.2, you’ll find this (my emphasis added):

An individual loses amateur status and thus shall not be eligible for intercollegiate competition in a particular sport if the individual:

(a) Uses his or her athletics skill (directly or indirectly) for pay in any form in that sport;
(b) Accepts a promise of pay even if such pay is to be received following completion of intercollegiate athletics participation;
(c) Signs a contract or commitment of any kind to play professional athletics, regardless of its legal enforceability or any consideration received, except as permitted in Bylaw 12.2.5.1(Revised:  4/29/10 effective 8/1/10)
(d) Receives, directly or indirectly, a salary, reimbursement of expenses or any other form of financial assistance from a professional sports organization based on athletics skill or participation, except as permitted by NCAA rules and regulations;
(e) Competes on any professional athletics team per Bylaw 12.02.5, even if no pay or remuneration for expenses was received, except as permitted in Bylaw 12.2.3.2.1;  (Revised: 4/25/02 effective 8/1/02, 4/29/10 effective 8/1/10)
(f) After initial full-time collegiate enrollment, enters into a professional draft (see Bylaw 12.2.4); or  (Revised: 4/25/02 effective 8/1/02, 4/24/03 effective 8/1/03)
(g) Enters into an agreement with an agent. (Adopted: 4/25/02 effective 8/1/02)

So, you see, the NCAA is quite clear on these matters.

What that means is that Muhammad’s lawyer is getting ready to go back and attack the very basis on which the NCAA determines pre-enrollment amateurism.

That means one of two things: either Muhammad knows that the NCAA has him dead-to-rights accepting illegal benefits that would jeopardize his amateurism, or his has a really bad lawyer.

Either way, that’s not a promising sign for UCLA fans.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. manchestermiracle - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    There hasn’t been much in the way of “promising” out of Westwood for a long, long time.

    • naeemfaruki - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Its cool one…!

  2. iamgomez - Oct 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Honestly, the NCAA is so pathetic. I don’t even like UCLA, but I’m sick of this lame a$$ organization pretending like it actually cares about the “student-athletes” and preserving the integrity of their amateur status while it profits unbelievable amounts of money off of their talents. What a joke.

    • steelerdynasty2010 - Oct 22, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      the only reason they really care about their “amateur” status is because it gives the ncaa an easy excuse to profit exorbitantly off of them, while totally squeezing the kids out of the equation, and sharing none of the profits. pretty good business model actually…totally immoral and shady, but profitable nonetheless.

  3. Jimmy Kelley - Oct 22, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Reblogged this on Devils in Durham and commented:
    Great look at the Shabazz Muhammad situation by CBT’s Rob Dauster.

  4. imforbigblue - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    So glad he didnt pick UK let UCLA deal with this they should be use to it they have the biggest cheater in college basketball history in wooden.

  5. gatordontplay - Oct 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    I’m surprised you don’t work for the NCAA. You think everyones a cheater except for the team your worship and jack off to.. If he signed with uk he would have been clean. Just like you accused the Harrison twins Maryland and au of being cheaters then they signed with uk and all of sunned they’re clean. You’re a complete joke

  6. imforbigblue - Oct 28, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Yeah and UNC and Roy williams are cheater huh douch bad your so called team has only been in the news for months for cheat. Plus if you dont think woodson wasnt the biggest cheat in college basketball history then your bigger dumbass then i thought you were.

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