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November 16, 2012

Muhammad eligible to play immediately

UCLA hoops has its star back.

The NCAA released a statement on Friday afternoon saying five-star No. 1-ranked recruit Shabazz Muhammad has been cleared to play for the Bruins and can suit up immediately.

"The NCAA and UCLA have resolved the eligibility case of Shabazz Muhammad," the NCAA said in a statement. "UCLA acknowledged amateurism violations occurred and asked the NCAA on Friday afternoon to reinstate Muhammad.

"The university required the student-athlete to miss 10 percent of the season (three games) and repay approximately $1,600 in impermissible benefits. The NCAA agreed the actions taken by the university were sufficient. Because Muhammad has already sat out three games, he is now eligible to compete."

Muhammad is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound forward who many NBA scouts have already deemed a top five pick in next summer's NBA Draft.

He, however, was ruled ineligible last week for receiving money to take unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina.

The NCAA and UCLA resolved everything on Friday, though, citing the Bruins appeal. Here's the rest of the statement from the NCAA regarding the ruling:

"According to the facts of the case, which were agreed upon by the university and the NCAA staff, Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during unofficial visits to member schools. NCAA rules, which member schools create, state that student-athletes cannot receive benefits based on their athletic ability. NCAA amateurism rules are in place so that when student-athletes step onto the court, they are competing against other student-athletes who have met the same standards.

When a school discovers an NCAA rules violation has occurred, it must declare the student-athlete ineligible and may request the student-athlete's eligibility be reinstated. The NCAA staff reviews each student-athlete reinstatement request individually based on its own merits and set of specific facts."

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