Shabazz Muhammad was reinstated by the NCAA on Friday, the final act of an investigation that beganÂ months before he committed to the UCLA men’s basketball team in April and stretched into the Bruins’ regular season.
“I am excited to be able to play for UCLA starting next Monday,” Muhammad said in a statement. “My family and friends were very supportive of me throughout this process and I couldn’t have gone through this without them.”
The NCAA and UCLA agreed on terms of the penalties: a three-game suspension, which Muhammad has already served by sitting out the Bruins’ opening week of games, and the repayment of $1,600 in impermissible benefits received by Muhammad’s family.
The Los Angeles Times first reported Muhammad’s reinstatement.
The announcement comes a week after the NCAA ruled the 6-foot-6-inch swingman ineligible for violating amateurism rules by taking money from a third party to make unofficial visits to colleges during the recruitment process. The schools are believed to be Duke and North Carolina.
UCLA coach Ben Howland said Wednesday the school filed an appeal with the NCAA to dismiss the violations. The appeal was heard earlier on Friday.
“I am relieved that this long, arduous process has come to an end,” Howland said in a statement. “So many people worked very hard on this case and I am eternally grateful to them as well as the Bruin family, who stood by us throughout. I am pleased that Shabazz will be able to begin his collegiate career.”
Muhammad, regarded as one of the top true freshmen in the country and a future NBA prospect, is eligible to play immediately. The decision comes at a fortunate time for the Bruins. UCLA leaves for Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon to take part in the Legends Classic. There, the Bruins will face Georgetown on Monday and either No. 1 Indiana or Georgia on Tuesday.
“We are extremely grateful that this matter has come to a conclusion,” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said. “I want to recognize that a lot of long hours and tireless effort were put into this process by staff members from UCLA and the NCAA, as well as by Shabazz Muhammad’s family. Â This entire process has been challenging on many fronts, but we believe strongly in the principles of fairness, integrity and due process. We are satisfied with the outcome and pleased that Shabazz will be able to join his teammates on the floor, representing UCLA in Brooklyn on Monday night.”
Compiled by Ryan Menezes, Bruin senior staff.