MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Multiple crowdfunding websites have popped up since Memphis Tigers freshman James Wiseman was ordered to pay $11,500 to a charity by the NCAA, but there’s an issue that will likely keep the money from helping Wiseman.
At least four GoFundMe pages aim to raise money for Wiseman’s charity donation, and one was promoted by an ESPN basketball personality. But those pages likely will not help Wiseman at all because crowdfunding is not allowed to pay back benefits, according to NCAA rules.
For the repayment of an improper benefit, the NCAA mandates the payment must be made by the student-athlete or his or her legal guardian, making fundraising of any kind a violation of policy. Also, if Wiseman were to take the money, that would create additional NCAA violations.
Wiseman does not seem to be involved with posting any of the GoFundMe pages.
Even though the money raised on GoFundMe or any other crowdfunding website, that hasn’t stopped people from donating and trying to help Wiseman.
One GoFundMe page, titled #EndAmateurismForJamesWiseman, has raised more than $4,000 and was promoted on social media by ESPN personality Jay Williams.
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) November 21, 2019
The NCAA has not specified how Wiseman, a college student who is not paid to play basketball full-time, is expected to raise the money without violating NCAA rules.
Wiseman must have a payment plan in place before being allowed to compete, according to NCAA policy.
A University of Memphis spokesperson said in the below statement Wiseman must either pay the entire amount or enroll in and be current on a repayment plan before he can regain NCAA eligibility.
Repayment of the funds must be satisfied prior to regaining eligibility. There is an option for a repayment plan, which would have to be agreed upon between the student-athlete, the institution and the NCAA reinstatement committee. If a repayment plan is agreed upon, then the student-athlete would have to be current on all payments prior to each competition. The specific terms of the repayment would be part of the agreed upon plan. But ultimately all repayment in a plan would have to be satisfied prior to the student-athlete leaving the institution.
Wiseman was ordered to pay back $11,500 to a charity for the money now-Tigers’ head coach Penny Hardaway loaned his family to move to Memphis while Wiseman was in high school. Hardaway was considered a booster for his $1 million donation to the school more than a decade ago.
The NCAA also ruled that Wiseman must sit out 12 games this season, nine of which are for Hardaway’s involvement in his recruitment despite being considered a booster, and three are for Wiseman playing in three games this season while ineligible.