James Wiseman and his advisers have decided a legal battle with the NCAA is not the best way to keep the heralded freshman on the basketball court.
The 7-foot-1 center withdrew his lawsuit, and the dramatic turn of events in the much-debated saga means Wiseman now will sit on Memphis’ bench until the NCAA rules otherwise.
Wiseman successfully won the opening round against the NCAA and the university, obtaining a restraining order to continue playing after being ruled likely ineligible for receiving improper benefits from his coach, Penny Hardaway. But Thursday morning Wiseman’s attorneys announced he withdrew his lawsuit, saying the legal action was not helping resolve the issue.
“It has become clear to Mr. Wiseman that the lawsuit he filed last week has become an impediment to the University of Memphis in its efforts to reach a fair and equitable resolution with the NCAA concerning his eligibility status. Therefore, Mr. Wiseman advised his legal team that he wished to withdraw his lawsuit,” the law firm of Ballin, Ballin and Fishman posted on Twitter.
Wiseman stepped into the national spotlight — with the support of the University of Memphis — by standing up against the NCAA in the courts. He had the city of Memphis, Tigers’ fans and the university president and athletic director on his side.
Now seven days and two games after obtaining the restraining order, Wiseman’s fate is in the hands of the NCAA — like all those before him.
“Keep The Faith, Trust God, Continue on my Path. My Story isn’t Finished,” Wiseman wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
The university declared Wiseman ineligible once he withdrew his lawsuit, though Memphis officials say they hope to get him back on the court soon as possible.
Memphis officials say they are immediately applying for Wiseman to be reinstated. Until then, Wiseman will be held out of games but can practice with the No. 13 Tigers (2-1).
“The NCAA is fully aware of the unique nature and challenges in this particular case, and the university is confident that the NCAA will render a fair and equitable decision consistent with its mission,” officials said in the statement.