Lawmakers calling foul over NCAA ruling James Wiseman ineligible

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( – Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) is proposing legislation that would compensate collegiate athletes, but also states, “no Tennessee public university may discriminate against a college athlete based on a donation to the university by a coach.”

He said this is a direct response to how the NCAA is treating James Wiseman and Coach Penny Hardaway over moving expenses Wiseman’s mother received in 2017 and a donation Hardaway made to the university 11 years ago.

“A lot of talent is growing and being groomed and coming out of this city,” Parkinson said. “That it’s doing well nationally.”

With so much momentum and talent coming from the U of M men’s basketball team, both Republicans and Democrats are fighting for collegiate players. Parkinson said the NCAA is treating Wiseman and Hardaway unfairly because this happened before either came to the university. 

“They want to get all the money that is made by the player and if the player or the player’s family receives money to move, then they want to punish the player for receiving money to move,” Parkinson said. 

Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) is sponsoring a companion bill to Parkinson’s house bill about compensating players in the Senate. Kelsey said he believes alums should be encouraged to help their alma mater and not be prohibited from eventually becoming a coach.

“We want to encourage our former players to donate to our public universities to help keep college tuition affordable,” Kelsey said.

“Discouraging these donations is not worth appeasing an organization that does nothing but take down banners from our rafters. The NCAA is an archaic organization whose time has come and gone. It is up to the athletic conferences to create a new paradigm, as they did with the college football championship,” added Kelsey.

Congressman David Kustoff (TN-08) is also calling foul against the NCAA. He announced that he is launching an investigation against the organization for its “improper conduct.” 

“The NCAA has a history of unfair practices and playing favorites, and it’s time they face up to their improper conduct. I look forward to investigating their actions and doing what I can to ensure greater transparency for all student-athletes,” Kustoff said.

Parkinson said, “State law trumps any rules that the NCAA comes up with or that they have in place.” He also said, “If the NCAA doesn’t fix this by January, we’ll do it for them.”

Monday, there is a hearing set on whether to continue Wiseman’s injunction, which allows him to play.

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