Nearly three months after the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) started its investigation of the University of Memphis, the hearing panel has finally concluded that coach Penny Hardaway did not break any NCAA rules when he gave money to potential basketball players, most notably current Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman, according to CBS Sports.
The university, however, will face some penalties of its own. Some of those include a $5,000 fine, three years’ probation until Sept. 26, 2025, and the two wins and all of Wiseman’s stats from the three games he played in November 2019 will be vacated.
The IARP stated that Hardaways’s “long-standing philanthropic commitment, particularly to youth in the economically disadvantaged Memphis community, even prior to becoming an athletics booster” was a huge reason he was not given a punishment.
More from the IARP:
The hearing concluded that Memphis failed to monitor the education and activities of the head coach by not providing sufficient education to him regarding permissible activities for boosters and failing to ask the head coach about any financial contributions he had made to prospective student-athletes and their families in the Memphis community or any other relationships he may have developed with the high school or AAU players he had coached.
The hearing panel also concluded that the institution’s leadership allowed [Wiseman] to participate in a November 5, 2019, basketball contest without informing the head coach until after the contest that [Wiseman] had been determined to be ineligible to play.
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The violations Penny was accused of were bogus anyway and it represents the unfair business model the NCAA has used for decades to take advantage of student-athletes across the country.
These “penalties” came while Wiseman was still in high school and before Hardaway was hired as the basketball coach at the University of Memphis, his alma mater. The former NBA point guard paid Wiseman’s family $11,500 to help them move from Nashville to Memphis, so the future NBA center could finish his high school career at Memphis East High School, where Hardaway was the head coach.
But because Hardaway was a famous alumnus of the university, he was labeled a “booster,” which triggered a rule violation, according to CBS Sports.
I don’t know what it is but for some reason, the NCAA has a huge issue with potential student-athletes at universities being paid, even if it’s off their own name or the grace of someone’s charity. But, the coaches, universities, networks and the NCAA itself are allowed to rake in billions of dollars off of the blood and sweat of these said student-athletes.
Despite the penalty, Wiseman still played for the University of Memphis for three games at the beginning of the 2019-2020 season. Initially fighting the ruling, Wiseman decided to leave the University of Memphis after the NCAA ruled he would have to sit for 12 games during his freshman year. He eventually was taken second overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2020 NBA Draft.
It’s just unfortunate that an innocent student-athlete was unable to at least play out his freshman year at a university with a coach who cared enough about him to help him move to a better situation. It’s unfair that Penny was investigated for doing something he thought would help Wiseman’s future.
Just glad that Penny will not face any punishment and Wiseman can enjoy his time in the NBA without having to worry about decisions he made in high school.