MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – News of the NCAA’s decision spread quickly on social media and throughout Memphis, as Tigers basketball fans sounded off before the game against Little Rock.
Local 24’s Weekend Anchor, Annette Peagler spoke to about a half dozen fans before the start of the game and they told her they are upset about the NCAA’s decision. They don’t understand why James Wiseman is being punished, and they say having to sit out 12 games seems a bit excessive.
“It’s very difficult. It’s unwanted, it’s unneeded and it’s unfair,” said Bob Byrd, University of Memphis Alumni and Lifelong Supporter. “Giving a mother of a player who is challenged economically money to move to Memphis does not sound like a great problem, in fact it sounds philanthropic.”
Many Memphis fans mirrored Byrd’s feelings. Some people didn’t understand the organization’s reasoning to make Wiseman pay $11,500 to a charity, especially because he is a college player.
”It’s a travesty that the NCAA reports no one, they have the ultimate power. No one can challenge them in a case like this, even with great guys, like coach Penny, what a great guy,“ said Memphis Tigers basketball fan Tom Lannan.
“I’m not happy about it. I really feel like there wasn’t anything he did wrong or Hardaway did wrong. It’s kind of heartbreaking. You’re taking that joy away from that kid,” said Southaven resident, Debbie Deluke.
Still, the support for Tigers basketball was evident Wednesday night, despite the ruling.
“These are kids they just want to play, they want an opportunity to go further in their careers. And by him being the number 1 recruit would that have happened if he went to Kentucky or some other big name college, North Carolina,” said Pat Myers, a Memphis basketball fan.
The University of Memphis sent a statement out late Wednesday afternoon stating it was appealing the NCAA’s decision.