The reinstatement of top recruit Shabazz Muhammad should boost UCLA's Pac-12 title hopes. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The NCAA reinstated UCLA freshman forward Shabazz Muhammad to play immediately after the university "acknowledged amateurism violations" in an appeal.
In a statement, the NCAA wrote:
"The university required the student-athlete to miss 10 percent of the season (three games) and repay approximately $1,600 in impermissible benefits. The NCAA agreed the actions taken by the university were sufficient. Because Muhammad has already sat out three games, he is now eligible to compete."
The NCAA had declared Muhammad ineligible for the Bruins' Nov. 10 season-opener. The NCAA investigated Muhammad's recruitment for more than a year, including three unofficial visits made to North Carolina and Duke that were paid for by North Carolina-based financial adviser Ben Lincoln.
Muhammad's family has claimed that Lincoln to be a family friend for the past five years. Muhammad's attorney, Robert Orr, claimed that Lincoln sought approval from the NCAA before paying for Muhammad's travel and lodging.
Orr also contended that Muhammad had no knowledge of who paid for the trips and that his father, Ron Holmes, completed all requisite paperwork related to Lincoln paying for the recruiting visits.
Muhammad's family has agreed to repay approximately $1,600 and the NCAA has determined the three games he already has missed will serve as his suspension.