On February 29, 2012, CBSSports.com reported they had heard from multiple sources the NCAA has contacted each school recruiting top-ranked high school basketball prospect, Shabazz Muhammad. Specifically, the NCAA believes there may have been financial dealings between Muhammad’s family and financial advisors Benjamin Lincoln and Ken Kavanagh that could compromise Muhammad’s amateur status. Lincoln’s brother, Geoff, is an assistant coach on Muhammad’s high school basketball team.
CBSSports.com reported sources told them Lincoln paid for at least two of Muhammad’s unofficial visits to college campuses and Kavanagh helped fund Muhammad’s summer basketball team. While Lincoln insists that these actions are within NCAA rules under preexisting relationship legislation, the NCAA has been skeptical of such relationships, questioning whether the actions of Lincoln and Kavanagh were legitimately unrelated to Muhammad’s athletic ability.
The lesson here is that both prospective and current student-athletes and their families need to be extremely careful with the relationships they form as a result of the student-athlete’s athletic skill and ability. Furthermore they need to be very conscientious of any benefits that the student-athlete or the family is being offered or may have already received based on the student-athlete’s athletic skill or ability. It is highly recommended that if the student-athlete or family has questions on this or a related issue, they review the current NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete and contact the NCAA Eligibility Center directly.
The complete CBSSports.com article can be found here.
A full analysis of the preexisting relationship exception can be found here.
*Note: The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm Weekly Compliance and Enforcement Round-Up will be posted Monday, March 5, 2012 due to the recent story involving Shabazz Muhammad.