UCLA recruit Shabazz Muhammad watches from the bench as the Bruins play… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
One of UCLA's biggest wins or losses this season could be determined during a hearing expected Friday.
If the NCAA appeals committee sides with UCLA in the hearing concerning Shabazz Muhammad, the currently ineligible freshman basketball player would probably be available to play for the Bruins immediately.
But if the committee denies UCLA's appeal, Muhammad, a highly rated 6-foot-6 swingman from Las Vegas, would have to go through a reinstatement process to regain his eligibility.
"I'm hopeful," UCLA Coach Howland said Thursday after his team's 100-70 win against James Madison at Pauley Pavilion. "Praying and hopeful."
The NCAA declared Muhammad ineligible Nov. 9 for a violation of amateurism rules.
In its ruling, the NCAA said that in addition to other "pending issues," Muhammad accepted airfare and lodging for three unofficial recruiting visits. The visits were to Duke and North Carolina and were paid for by financial advisor Benjamin Lincoln.
The Muhammad family has said Lincoln is a longtime family friend whose assistance should be allowed under NCAA rules.
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