MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Wednesday night, Memphis Tigers fans and head coach Penny Hardaway stewed after the NCAA issued a 12-game suspension of star freshman James Wiseman.
“I feel like James should be on the floor – so the process of what’s going on, they’re in control, you know, they make the rules, so, we just have to abide by them,” Coach Hardaway said.
Barring a successful appeal by the University of Memphis, Wiseman will sit out until Memphis’ January 12th game, a harsher punishment than many insiders expected.
“What we learned is that the NCAA didn’t show leniency at all,” ESPN 92.9 Host Gary Parrish said.
Parrish said more troublesome for Tigers fans is the potential of additional digging by NCAA investigators, after it declared Wiseman played three games while ineligible earlier this month.
“It’s unclear if the NCAA is actually going to launch a major infractions case against the University of Memphis, but what is crystal clear is that they have the ammo to do it if they want to,” Parrish said.
Thursday, everyone from Tennessee U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn to ESPN analyst Jay Williams spoke out against the length of Wiseman’s suspension. Williams even asked followers to donate to a GoFundMe account to help Wiseman pay back more than $11,000 to charity.
“Here’s a call to action, I need your help,” Williams said. “James Wiseman needs your help.”
In response, a NCAA spokesperson said: “The details of a donation would be worked out with the student, school and the NCAA. Also, donations must come from a student or his or her family, not through fundraising.”
If the U of M’s appeal against the NCAA ruling fails, Wiseman will miss seven home games in the remaining 10 games of his suspension. He’s still allowed to practice with his Memphis Tigers teammates during the suspension.