UCLA freshman basketball player Shabazz Muhammad was declared ineligible Friday for what the NCAA said was a violation of amateurism rules. The ruling stems from unofficial trips Muhammad took to two schools, Duke and North Carolina, that were paid for by a financial adviser who the family says is a friend. On Tuesday, Muhammad's family reacted in a statement exclusively to The Times. It said, in part:
"Shabazz and his family have been cooperating with the NCAA for well over a year. Earlier this year, the NCAA asked Shabazz and his family not to reveal to each other or to the press facts related to the NCAA investigation. Despite the many untrue rumors which were circulating on the Internet, Shabazz and his family dutifully did what they were told. In order to entice Shabazz's family and others to cooperate, the NCAA repeatedly gave assurances that it would keep details of the investigation strictly confidential. As recently as November 2012, the NCAA promised that it would not issue a press release.
"Last Friday, the NCAA released a press release which not only was wrong in its conclusions but which also inaccurately portrayed the investigation process in this case. For over a year, the NCAA has known all of the relevant facts related to its ruling last Friday. In 2010, Mr. Holmes [Shabazz's father] openly and honestly revealed to the NCAA the source of the payments on the NCAA's compliance form. Shabazz's family is now faced with the situation where they are concerned that any attempt to tell more of their side of the story will result in further punitive action, as Shabazz is still under the mercy of the NCAA. Shabazz and his family will continue to honestly cooperate with the NCAA in the hopes that Shabazz soon will be allowed to play basketball at UCLA."