UofM declares James Wiseman ineligible after he asks attorneys to withdraw lawsuit against NCAA

Updated: Nov. 14, 2019 at 10:36 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Attorneys for James Wiseman say he is withdrawing his lawsuit against the NCAA and the University of Memphis after they said he was deemed ineligible to play for the Tigers last week.

The university released a statement shortly after the news was announced saying they support the decision and have declared him ineligible to play.

Wiseman will also be withheld from competition, but will continue to practice with the team.

Wiseman’s attorneys tweeted Thursday, “It has become clear to Mr. Wiseman that the lawsuit he filed last week has become an impediment to the University of Memphis in it’s (sic) efforts to reach a fair and equitable resolution with the NCAA concerning his eligibility status. Therefore, Mr. Wiseman advised his legal team that he wished to withdraw his lawsuit. There will be no further comment at the time.”

Shortly before the Tigers were scheduled to play last Friday at FedExForum, high-profile Memphis attorney Leslie Ballin announced that the NCAA had ruled Wiseman ineligible to play.

According to Ballin, the ruling stemmed from Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway’s role in helping Wiseman’s family move to Memphis from Nashville when Wiseman was in high school and before Hardaway became the head coach at Memphis. The NCAA considered Hardaway a booster because of a $1 million donation he made to the university in 2008, years before he was named head coach.

A Shelby County judge signed a temporary order allowing him to play.

The UofM released this statement Thursday after Wiseman withdrew his suit, declaring him ineligible but applying for his reinstatement. The university says he will continue practicing with the team.

University of Memphis student-athlete James Wiseman has decided to withdraw his lawsuit against the NCAA and the University. The University supports the decision, as it believes it is in James’ and the men’s basketball team’s best interests to resolve his eligibility issue expeditiously through the NCAA process.

In order to move the matter forward, the University has declared James ineligible for competition and will immediately apply for his reinstatement. Pending that notification, James will be withheld from competition but will continue to practice with the team.

The NCAA is fully aware of the unique nature and challenges in this particular case, and the University is confident that the NCAA will render a fair and equitable decision consistent with its mission.

Wiseman hasn’t commented publicly on the issue but tweeted not long after Thursday’s news, saying “Keep The Faith.”

“The most important, this is this young man’s life. He’s now just 18 years old. It’s easy to think of him as much older and very seasoned. But we are talking about a young guy, and to have this down on him and the team it almost brings tears to your eyes to see what’s happening,” said Harold Byrd, U of M booster.

Byrd sees Wiseman as a standout player, following the foot steps of his coach. Keeping his talents in Memphis after high school.

It's still unclear when Wiseman will return to the court and how many games he could sit out.

His family could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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