Memphis, Hardaway Charged with Multiple NCAA Violations

The University of Memphis men’s basketball program is facing four Level I and two Level II NCAA violations from an 18-month investigation into the Tiger’s program, according to reports from ESPN and The Daily Memphian.

The Daily Memphian obtained the notice of allegations and an amended notice of allegations from the Independent Accountability Resolution Process investigation. An infractions case involving former Memphis center James Wiseman was the first case accepted by the IARP in the spring of 2020.

hardawayMemphis head coach Penny Hardaway is the only person named in the notice of allegations, ESPN reported. The notice states that Hardaway was involved in at least one of the Level I violations as well as both Level II violations, according to ESPN. The NCAA alleges Hardaway “failed to demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere of compliance within the men’s basketball program.

A separate investigation by The Memphis Commercial Appeal, which obtained the documents, found the NCAA’s investigation extended beyond Wiseman — a no. 1 recruit who committed to play for Hardaway and Memphis during the 2019-20 season. During that season Wiseman was suspended for 12 games in November 2019 for two violations: his mother accepting nearly $12,000 from Hardaway in the summer of 2017 and Wiseman playing in three games while ineligible.

Though the Tigers program appeal the decision, the NCAA ultimately upheld those rulings.

The Daily Memphian obtained Memphis’ response to the allegations, which included this statement:

“The case presents alleged infractions involving the University of Memphis (redacted) that are overcharged and combined with non-violations, accusations involving a separate sport (football) that has not been charged, information UM self-reported and pandemic-related events over which the parties had no control,” it said. “The facts do not demonstrate a lack of institutional control, a failure to monitor, a failure to cooperate or a lack of (redacted) responsibility.”

Memphis said Wiseman had no knowledge of the payment, which was used to cover moving expenses when Wiseman’s family moved from Nashville to Memphis. At the time of the alleged payment, Hardaway was the head coach at East High School in Memphis and ran the Team Penny grassroots program. Because he donated $1 million to Memphis in 2008 to build a sports hall of fame, Hardaway was considered a booster.

Wiseman played in three games before Memphis declared him ineligible, but he ultimately left one month later to prepare for the NBA draft.