Pursuant to NCAA regulations, two members of the University of Cincinnati me's basketball team have been declared ineligible for continued participation in postseason competition, effective immediately. The NCAA rule will prohibit senior starters Jihad Muhammad and James White from participating in tonigh's NIT quarterfinal game against South Carolina and from any further action this season.
The NCAA made its interpretation clear and confirmed the application of the rule in writing following clarification discussions with UC.
Due to federal privacy law, the university is prohibited from releasing further details without consent from the players.
"We have suspended the players indefinitely for failure to meet the standards set forth by the NCAA and the menâ€™s basketball program at the University of Cincinnati," stated interim head coach Andy Kennedy. "Our team will continue in its attempt to represent this university in the manner with which it deserves to be represented."
"The timing of this action, with our team battling for a trip to the NIT Final Four, is incredibly unfortunate," added UC director of athletics Mike Thomas. "I am very disappointed in how this affects the student-athletes, our coaching staff, the university and our fans."
Muhammad, a 5-11 guard from Plainfield, N.J., is the teamâ€™s fourth-leading scorer, averaging 10.8 points, and top 3-point shooting threat. He averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 assists in UCÂ¹s two NIT victories.
White, a 6-7 swing player from Washington, D.C., is the Bearcats' leading scorer, averaging 16.3 points. He has averaged 20.3 points over his last three games and has scored nearly 1,100 points during his three seasons as a Bearcat.
"As with all issues concerning student-athletes we are in constant communication with the NCAA regarding eligibility issues," stated UC Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Nancy Hamant. "After reviewing this ruling we feel that the NCAA's interpretation is correct. I am confident that all parties at UC have exercised their proper due diligence with regard to the eligibility of the effected parties and that this matter is now closed."