MEMPHIS, Tenn.– As students were going to and from class on the University of Memphis campus Tuesday morning, they learned that the Tigers basketball program would not face a ban on postseason play and head coach Penny Hardaway would not be suspended for allegations of recruiting violations.
This decision will affect the student experience at future basketball games but students say now it’s time to move forward and get ready for the season.
“He gets to make it up by going out there and getting wins, so hopefully he can get out there and just focus on basketball,” said student Jerrod Gray.
The University of Memphis acknowledged Hardaway provided over $11,000 in moving expenses for star James Wiseman and his family to move to Memphis in 2017 when Hardaway was the head coach for East High School.
Sky Crawford, who is a current U of M student who also went to East High, said she believes Hardaway got off easy.
“The rules that were broken were really broken at East and I feel like the rules were pretty clear because everyone knew as it was happening that he shouldn’t have been playing so saying that the university didn’t inform them seems like a technicality,” Crawford said.
However, the IARP ruled Hardaway’s “long-standing philanthropic commitment, in the Memphis community, was a factor in its decision-making on this matter.
“As for his other philanthropy stuff and giving back to Memphis that is definitely appreciated, but when you do it like this and you gain from it like individually, you are giving back but you are also helping yourself, that is when things change,” Crawford said.
But some fellow students like Mattin Mamyard disagree.
“You shouldn’t really get fired for doing something to help someone else out,” Mamyard said.
Students on the University of Memphis campus say they are happy to know that the basketball team will still be able to participate in the NCAA tournament.
“It’s really exciting you make the tournament you get to compete — compete for a national championship,” Gray said.
“I feel like it is a good thing, I feel like it’s a lot of kids here that come to play basketball and they should not have to suffer on behalf of the coach,” said student Khalik McKay.
The University of Memphis Tigers basketball team opens up their season on November 7 in Nashville against Vanderbilt.