Now that UCLA guard Kyle Anderson has been declared eligible to play this season, the NCAA has narrowed its focus to the Bruins’ other top freshman, Shabazz Muhammad.
Investigators were scheduled to interview Muhammad’s parents — Ron Holmes and Faye Muhammad — late this week, according to people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly.
The NCAA is examining whether Muhammad received improper benefits while in high school. The people said his family has turned over thousands of pages of personal financial documents in hopes of having him cleared.
In the meantime, the Bruins can finally — officially — welcome Anderson to the fold.
“It was a long and tedious process that, in my eyes, wasn’t necessary, but we cooperated,” said Anderson’s father, Kyle Sr. “I had no doubt that he would be cleared because there was nothing for them to find.”
The 6-foot-9 Anderson is expected to make an immediate contribution to the 13th-ranked Bruins. UCLA did not make him or any other players available to reporters Wednesday, but teammate Jordan Adams tweeted: “They finally FREED my bro @KyleAnderson5 from the NCAA ayyy lol.”
Over the last month or so, the NCAA was thought to be investigating Kyle Sr.'s longtime relationship with NBA agent Thad Foucher.
The men met while coaching separate AAU teams and had maintained contact over the years. Foucher now works with Arn Tellem at the Wasserman Media Group, which was founded by UCLA alumnus and influential booster Casey Wasserman.
“The NCAA has found no evidence to substantiate claims of violations in his case,” UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said of Anderson in a statement. “I am grateful to all those who were involved in the process.”
People close to the situation had been expecting a positive outcome for the last few weeks. Muhammad’s case is considered more complex.
Investigators have been looking into funds the 6-6 swingman received from Benjamin Lincoln, the brother of an assistant at his high school, who helped pay for unofficial recruiting visits to schools other than UCLA.
They also want to know more about his relationship with Ken Kavanagh, a New York financial planner who helped fund the summer team that Muhammad played for in his hometown of Las Vegas.
The family has said that Lincoln is a friend. As such, he might have been permitted under NCAA rules to give financial aid.
After hearing of Anderson’s case on Wednesday, Muhammad tweeted: “Haha hopefully I’m next so we can get this season going!!!!”
There is no timeline for a decision. Muhammad is currently practicing with the team and eligible to play under a 45-day window that would run out a week or two into the season.
UCLA is scheduled to face Indiana State in the season opener at a renovated Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 9.