NCAA Puts Basketball in Memphis on Probation for Three Years, Says Penny Hardaway Didn’t Break the Rules

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NCAA developed Memphis Tiger On probation for three years with a fine and a cut in the budget for the men’s basketball program.

It has been a total of 34 months since the investigation was opened Memphis head coach Benny Hardawaybut the Independent Accountability Review Panel found that the former Tigers basketball star did not violate NCAA rules when he offered benefits to three potential players, chief among them NBA Center James Wiseman, to his program because of his charitable work in the city.

However, the panel found that Memphis committed four level two violations and five level three violations, resulting in a $5,000 fine and a 0.25% cut in the men’s basketball program budget along with a three-year probationary period that will run through September 26, 2025 .

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Memphis head coach Benny Hardaway watches from the sidelines during the first half of the second round of the NCAA college basketball tournament against Gonzaga, Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Portland, Oregon, as Gonzaga won 82-78.

Memphis head coach Benny Hardaway watches from the sidelines during the first half of the second round of the NCAA college basketball tournament against Gonzaga, Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Portland, Oregon, as Gonzaga won 82-78.

There will be no ban on the Tigers tournament, which means Hardaway is allowed to take his team to March Madness for the duration of the audition. The Tigers exited the second round in March.

“Now that the IARP has reached its final decision, we are ready to turn the page and continue to support coaches and student athletes on the court and in the classroom,” said Laird Fitch, vice president and director of Intercollegiate Athletics in Memphis. Statement via ESPN. “As we noted in response to the Notice of Allegations, we have made proactive efforts to strengthen our sports compliance infrastructure and will continue to do so.”

Hardaway was initially charged with a Level 1 and Level 2 violation by the NCAA’s enforcement team after it “failed to demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere of compliance in the men’s basketball program.”

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However, Memphis admitted in November 2019 that Hardaway had provided $11,500 in transportation expenses to Wiseman, now with Golden State Warriorsto help his family move from Nashville to Memphis in 2017.

Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman (33) drives the ball past Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capella (15) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Friday, March 26, 2021 (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman (33) drives the ball past Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capella (15) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Friday, March 26, 2021 (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

At the time, Hardaway was not the Memphis head coach, but Weizmann’s coach for the Nike EYBL circuit. But the NCAA considered him reinforced by his donation of $1 million to the school in 2008 to help build the Hall of Fame there.

MEMPHIS men’s basketball charged with multiple NCAA violations

Wiseman was unable to play a full season in Memphis, as the NCAA deemed him receiving improper benefits and rendered him ineligible after three games. Wiseman initially sued the NCAA but dropped it and applied to get his job back. Subsequently, 12 games were suspended, which he decided to leave and prepare for the NBA draft (Weizmann would be chosen as second overall to the Warriors).

Now Hardaway looks on, saying, “We’ve finally come to the end of a very difficult period, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway shouts from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Houston at the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, March 13, 2022.

Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway shouts from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Houston at the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, Sunday, March 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

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“I would like to thank our players and their families, as well as our coaches and support staff, for continuing to focus on what we can control as this process continues. Believe me, none of this has been easy, but this group has always been,” he said in a statement.

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