Penny Hardaway was named in multiple NCAA Level I and Level II notice of allegations (NOA) against the University of Memphis, according to documents obtained by The Daily Memphian and The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Per the reports, Memphis is facing four Level I and two Level II violations among seven violations in total. Level I is the most serious of the NCAA’s four-tier violation structure. Hardaway, the men’s basketball coach, is charged specifically in one Level I and two Level II violations in the NOA that stemmed from an NCAA investigation that took place from May 2019 to February 2021.
Memphis received the NOA in July 2021, per the reports. It released the documents on Saturday after months of requests, according to The Commercial Appeal.
Per the NOA, Hardaway “failed to demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere of compliance within the men’s basketball program.” Per The Commercial Appeal, the scope of the violations against the program include charges related to lack of institutional control and failure to monitor while noting “head coach responsibility.” The specific nature of the alleged violations in the heavily redacted NOA is not clear.
Hardaway, a former star player at Memphis and four-time NBA All-Star, took over as head coach at his alma mater in 2018. He’s secured a pair of top-two recruiting classes that have included multiple NBA lottery prospects.
Center James Wiseman, the eventual No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, played just three games during his freshman season at Memphis in 2019. Memphis declared him ineligible in November of that season after his family reportedly received $11,500 from Hardaway to help cover moving expenses from Nashville to Memphis in 2017. The alleged payment took place while Hardaway coached AAU and high school teams in Memphis that Wiseman eventually played for — and prior to Hardaway accepting the Memphis job.
Wiseman’s family was ordered to repay the $11,500 in the form of a charitable donation, and Wiseman eventually withdrew from school amid a 12-game suspension from the NCAA before joining the Golden State Warriors via the draft.
According to The Commercial Appeal, the scope of the allegations against Hardaway and Memphis extend beyond the Wiseman situation. Hardaway is the only name mentioned in non-redacted portions of the NOA, according to The Memphian.
The university wrote that it “is not permitted to comment” because of the ongoing process in a statement provided to The Commercial Appeal on Saturday. It denied the allegations in a formal response to the NOA that the The Commercial Appeal obtained.
“The facts do not demonstrate a lack of control, a failure to monitor, a failure to cooperate, or a lack of (redacted) responsibility,” the Oct. 25, 2021 response reads. “Finally, the NOA contains no specific facts, and it is the specific facts that are imperative for the resolution of this matter.”
Since Memphis filed its response, Hardaway coached the Tigers to their first NCAA tournament appearance since he took the head coaching job. Memphis advanced to the second round as a No. 9 seed, where it lost to No. 1 seed Gonzaga last week. Memphis ended the season with a 22-11 record