Memphis Tigers coach Penny Hardaway weighs in on eligibility issue between NCAA/James Wiseman

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Memphis men’s basketball coach Penny Hardaway spoke out Friday afternoon as U of M awaits a resolution on the eligibility status of star freshman James Wiseman.

Coach Hardaway sounded off one day after U of M declared Wiseman ineligible, following Wiseman’s move to drop a lawsuit against the NCAA.

While he said there’s no regrets of how he and the school handled the process, Coach Hardaway admitted the turmoil is affecting Wiseman.

“We are just in limbo now,” Coach Hardaway said.

Uncertainty lingers for Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway and his program, as it awaits a decision for NCAA when Wiseman – the team’s leading scorer – can return to game action.

“We haven’t heard anything and that’s what we are waiting on, this has been the biggest problem, we want to know,” Coach Hardaway said.

The University of Memphis declared Wiseman ineligible Thursday, meaning he can practice but can’t compete in games until he’s reinstated by the NCAA.

“James is a very brilliant kid, he knows what’s going on, but still hurts,” Coach Hardaway said.

Last week, the NCAA said Wiseman was ‘likely ineligible’ for impermissible benefits, tied to more than $11,000 in moving expenses given to Wiseman’s mother by Penny Hardaway in 2017, before he was U of M’s basketball coach. The NCAA said Hardaway’s $1 million donation to the university’s athletic hall of fame in 2008 made him a booster ‘indefinitely’.

“This is difficult on the city, it’s difficult on the school,” Coach Hardaway said.

Wiseman sued the NCAA, and a Shelby County court ruling allowed him to play in the team’s first three games, before Wiseman withdrew the lawsuit Thursday.

“Obviously all of this is tough, but we support James,” Coach Hardaway said.

College basketball insiders believe Wiseman’s withdrawal of the lawsuit means a settlement is more than likely between U of M and the NCAA, potentially a several game suspension beginning Saturday against Alcorn State.

“He wants to play, all he wants to do is play basketball,” Coach Hardaway said.

In addition to a potential suspension of several games for Wiseman, the Memphis Tigers basketball team could also be forced to vacate its two wins in the young season.

Watch the full news conference HERE.

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