In another turn of events in the too-long storyline of UCLA freshman basketball guard Shabazz Muhammad’s eligibility, evidence has surfaced that the NCAA may have prejudged Muhammad.
According to the Los Angeles Times, an attorney had overheard a conversation on August 7 at an airport; a man was speaking to his girlfriend, reportedly Abigail Grantstein, the lead NCAA investigator for Muhammad’s case, over the phone and it became clear to the eavesdropping attorney that the decision was made to deem Shabazz ineligible for the 2012-13 season. The attorney probed the man skillfully and reached the conclusion that Muhammad’s fate was set nearly three months before the NCAA even garnered enough evidence to make a ruling.
Essentially, the NCAA knew it had the intentions of finding Muhammad ineligible, which isn’t something an entity like that should be doing; instead, they should be running an objective evaluation of the situation in an attempt to find any wrongdoing.
Of course, this paints the failure of the NCAA for the upteenth time, if correct. Why the NCAA would have it in for Shabazz is unclear, but it’s not like they haven’t done things like this before.
On the other hand, an overheard conversation isn’t exactly the most credible source available and it’s not like the attorney personally met with Grantstein to discuss the matter. We can’t be sure who this attorney is, although if the Los Angeles Times reported it, it’s plausible to think there’s a level of legitimacy with the source.
All in all, this is another wacky turn in this saga, and UCLA will have its appeals hiring on Friday.
And that can’t come soon enough.