James Wiseman plays following judge's clearance, legal battle to continue

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis star freshman James Wiseman took to the court in the Tigers’ game against Illinois-Chicago on Friday despite the NCAA ruling him ineligible.

Memphis attorney Leslie Ballin, who is among a group of attorneys representing Wiseman, revealed the information about the NCAA ruling during a news conference at his office Friday afternoon.

According to Ballin, the NCAA found Wiseman ineligible because of an interaction with head coach Penny Hardaway. The issue was $11,500 in moving expenses Hardaway provided in the summer of 2017, when Wiseman was still in high school, to help the teen and his family move to Memphis. In a statement the University of Memphis says Wiseman did not know about the money.

Not long after Ballin’s news conference, a Shelby County Judicial Court judge granted an emergency temporary restraining order against the NCAA’s ruling pending further litigation. The judge’s order means Wiseman can play for the Tigers when their game tips off at 6 p.m. at FedExForum.

The university says it is working with the NCAA to resolve the matter. In its statement the school said a joint standard eligibility by U of M and the NCAA declared Wiseman eligible back in May. But it says “based on information that necessitated a deeper investigation, the University began to work alongside the NCAA in investigating the matter.”

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The NCAA shared a statement regarding this situation on Twitter.

Coach Penny Hardaway spoke during a press conference after Friday's game, but said he wasn't able to talk in detail about Wiseman's situation.

He said quote, "I know you guys want to ask me about James, but I have to be silent on that because it's an ongoing process."

FOX13 has learned that the NCAA warned the University of Memphis that Wiseman might not be eligible sometime before Nov. 5.

Wiseman was able to play Friday night because of an emergency ruling that stopped the NCAA ruling.

FOX13 obtained the lawsuit filed on behalf of Wiseman against the NCAA and the University of Memphis.

In all there are 16 pages of the complaint and six pages of exhibits.

In the complaint, Wiseman's attorneys said he will suffer immediate and irreparable injury if he is excluded from the intercollegiate competition.

It goes on to request a temporary restraining order, which was granted late on Friday by a Shelby County judge.

A hearing date is set for Nov. 18.