Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Six athletes from Newark NIA Prep have been denied eligibility for the upcoming season and must appeal their eligibility to the NCAA, according to Alif Muhammad of NIA Prep.
Among those six athletes are four basketball players — Ryan Rhoomes (Texas Christian), Shaq Thomas (Cincinnati), Kelvin Amayo (Towson), Ibn Muhammad (Fairleigh Dickinson) — as well as a football player and a soccer player Muhammad would not identify.
“All six are appealing,” Muhammad said.
Sources close to several of the basketball staffs confirmed the development.
Muhammad said the NCAA had “accepted their high school diplomas from me,” but not the “classes they were taking toward their diplomas.”
“It’s awkward but that’s how it is,” Muhammad said.
Because Rhoomes (pictured) is due to begin classes at TCU Monday, his case is the most immediate.
“They’re saying the classes he took aren’t college preparatory,” Muhammad said of the NCAA. “He can’t come on a scholarship until he’s qualified.”
Muhammad said he had spoken with the TCU staff about potentially having Rhoomes begin his scholarship at the semester break in December.
Because the other basketball players begin classes later, they have more time to appeal.
“I appealed all six [players],” he said. “I appealed 13 courses. They’ve never been turned down before.”
Muhammad said that since 2006, 28 NIA athletes have qualified to play Division 1 sports.
In April the Star-Ledger ran an extensive article on NIA Prep that included these paragraphs.
Despite an NCAA investigation five years ago that was part of an effort to crack down on diploma mills, NIA has proved to be a legitimate school. It is registered with the New Jersey Department of Education and is also a member of the College Board.
In addition, NIA is “cleared with conditions” by the NCAA, meaning its diplomas are accepted but reviewed on a case-by-case basis and must be accompanied by proof of completed core work, according to Fred Demarest, the NCAA’s assistant director of public and media relations.
(Photo courtesy Ny Post)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.