The NCAA has fired Abigail Grantstein, its lead investigator during the organization’s eligibility probe of UCLA freshman basketball star Shabazz Muhammad, multiple people close to the situation told The Los Angeles Times on Thursday.
The NCAA did not return multiple messages seeking comment, and Grantstein did not return a phone call, but people not authorized to speak publicly confirmed her departure, which was first reported by The Times on Twitter.
Her firing comes a month after The Times reported that an attorney overheard Grantstein’s boyfriend loudly discussing Muhammad’s case on an airplane in early August, before key facts of the case had been gathered. The boyfriend indicated that Grantstein would make sure Muhammad never became eligible because he had broken rules.
The NCAA did, in fact, declare Muhammad ineligible, citing a violation of its amateurism rules, specifically that he accepted impermissible travel benefits on three unofficial recruiting trips.
But a day after the story about the conversation was published in The Times, the NCAA reinstated Muhammad, who had already sat out three games by that point. His family was ordered to pay back about $1,600.
Shortly after Muhammad was reinstated, the NCAA began investigating the conversation overheard on the commuter flight.
At that point, multiple people said Grantstein’s job was in jeopardy.
Muhammad is averaging a team-high 17.8 points for the Bruins (8-3) this season. The 6-foot-6 swingman is considered a potential lottery pick in next year’s NBA draft.