UCLA’s Scout.com site reported Tuesday night that Shabazz Muhammad will miss the Bruins’ upcoming three-game trip to China due to eligibility issues.
Muhammad, who spent his senior season as Kentucky’s most coveted recruit, will sit out the exhibition trip as the NCAA continues to investigate who paid for some of his unofficial recruiting visits. A CBS Sports report in February outlined details of those visits and said the NCAA had warned schools recruiting Muhammad that his eligibility could become an issue.
Muhammad’s father, Ron Holmes, told CBS that outside sources paid for some of Muhammad’s visits, but he said the family went through the proper channels and the NCAA was aware of the money source.
“When we were approached by the NCAA, we cooperated naturally,” he told CBS in February. “We had told the truth from the beginning and had disclosed everything. It is frustrating that we have been honest and above board from the start and now there are those who are questioning what we did. … I don’t think we’ve done anything wrong.”
Muhammad signed with UCLA two months later, picking the Bruins over Kentucky. Rivals.com ranks him as the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2012.
Just because Muhammad is ineligible now doesn’t mean he won’t be by the start of the season. Kansas guard Rio Adams and UNLV forward Anthony Bennett were recently cleared after passing the review process.
And it’s not uncommon for high-profile recruits to miss games early in the season as a result of NCAA violations. UK’s John Wall missed an exhibition game and the regular-season opener during his freshman year. Kansas guard Josh Selby was suspended nine games the next season.
Muhammad isn’t the only elite recruit waiting out an NCAA investigation. N.C. State freshman Rodney Purvis missed a recent trip to Spain for the same reason.
For now, all they can do is wait.