Memphis Declares James Wiseman Ineligible, Applies for Reinstatement

Wiseman has also withdrawn his lawsuit against the NCAA.
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Memphis has declared star forward James Wiseman ineligible and will hold him out of competition while it petitions the NCAA to have him reinstated, the school announced Thursday. 

Wiseman, a potential No. 1 choice in next year’s NBA draft, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA on Friday, hours before the Tigers’ game against Illinois-Chicago. Wiseman played in the game after a Tennessee judge ruled to put the NCAA’s ruling on hold pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Wiseman against the NCAA. 

Wiseman withdrew that suit on Thursday. 

“It has become clear to Mr. Wiseman that the lawsuit he filed last week has become an impediment to the University of Memphis in its efforts to reach a fair and equitable resolution with the NCAA regarding his eligibility status,” Wiseman’s lawyers said in a statement. “Therefore, Mr. Wiseman advised his legal team that he wished to withdraw his lawsuit.”

The school said in a statement that it supports Wiseman’s decision to withdraw the suit “as it believes it is in James’ and the men’s basketball team’s best interests to resolve his eligibility issue expeditiously through the NCAA process.”

“In order to move the matter forward, the University has declared James ineligible for competition and will immediately apply for his reinstatement,” the statement continues.

Wiseman will be held out of games until the NCAA reaches a final decision on his status. 

On Wednesday night, CBS Sports' Gary Parrish reported that Memphis has been in contact with the NCAA and that the sides are working together to reach an agreement and avoid a legal battle.

The NCAA’s initial decision to tell the school that Wiseman is “likely ineligible” was based on Wiseman’s mother accepting $11,500 from Penny Hardaway to help the family move from Nashville to Memphis when Wiseman was in high school. Hardaway, now the head coach of the Tigers, was at the time an assistant coach at East High School in Memphis. The NCAA determined that he was a University of Memphis booster because he had donated $1 million to the school in 2008 to help establish the school’s Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame.