Memphis avoids NCAA tournament ban, faces probation and fine


HR King
May 29, 2001
Memphis was placed on three years of probation and publicly reprimanded Tuesday by the NCAA’s Independent Accountability Resolution Process, which declined to punish men’s basketball coach Penny Hardaway or issue an NCAA tournament ban.

Among other potential infractions, Memphis had been accused by the NCAA of four Level I violations and two Level II violations of NCAA policy after an 18-month investigation, including a lack of institutional control.

The IARP determined Memphis failed to monitor Hardaway as an athletics booster and provided extra impermissible benefits and other benefits to recruits. It also ruled that Memphis failed to cooperate with the investigation when it delayed turning over requested documents.

The IARP placed the Tigers on probation through Sept. 26, 2025. They were fined $5,000, plus 0.25 percent of their men’s basketball budget. Under IARP rules, Memphis cannot appeal. It is significant for the school that there was no tournament ban or suspension for Hardaway, whose team advanced to the NCAA tournament in March for the first time since 2014.
From March: Memphis basketball charged with multiple NCAA violations
Memphis also must send at least one member of its Office of Legal Counsel to two NCAA Regional Rules Seminars and inform prospective men’s basketball recruits in writing that the Tigers are on probation.

Some of the issues that triggered the investigation were rooted in the case of James Wiseman, a former Memphis player who became the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA draft. His eligibility complicated the 2019-20 season because of Hardaway’s $11,500 payment to Wiseman’s family in 2017 while Hardaway was coaching youth basketball in both AAU and high school programs but was also deemed a Memphis booster.

In March 2018, Hardaway became the coach at Memphis, where he played college ball, and Wiseman signed with the team in November of that year. Wiseman played the first game of the 2019-20 season before the NCAA ruled him ineligible. He played two more games before leaving school to prepare for the draft.
Hardaway has an 85-43 record in four seasons at the school, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament in March.
In its ruling, the IARP stated that Hardaway’s “long-standing philanthropic commitment, particularly to youth in the economically disadvantaged Memphis community, even prior to becoming an athletics booster,” was a factor in its decision.