A conversation overheard on an Aug. 7 commuter flight from Chicago to Memphis, Tenn., has prompted attorneys representing UCLA basketball player Shabazz Muhammad to call for the NCAA to drop its investigation and declare him eligible.
The conversation came to light in an email from an attorney who said she was seated behind a man who was speaking loudly about the work of his girlfriend, an "attorney with the NCAA."
The girlfriend, whom he identified as "Abigail," was investigating Muhammad. The man made it clear that the NCAA would find Muhammad ineligible and not allow him to play this season, the email said. Abigail Grantstein, an assistant director of enforcement, is the NCAA's lead investigator on the Muhammad case.
Additional investigation by Bruins Nation has discovered what appear to be Abigail Grantstein's LinkedIn account, Twitter account, Google plus account, and Pinterest account. Bruins Nation has also unearthed a YouTube video apparently of Grantstein skydiving, as well as a Powerpoint presentation on NCAA enforcement apparently co-authored by Grantstein.
According to Granstein's LinkedIn profile, Grantstein graduated from Ohio State in 2005 and from Kansas Law school in 2008. Grantstein was also a graduate assistant for compliance for the Kansas Athletic Department, according to her profile. Grantstein has been working for the NCAA since 2008.
Grantstein's apparent Google plus account indicates that 8 people have Granstein in Google Plus circles, including an individual named Steve Zimmerman. According to his LinkedIn profile, Zimmerman is a Purdue graduate, currently employed as a technical consultant at LWG Consulting in the Chicago area. Additionally, both Grantstein and Zimmerman finished an Indianapolis race in one hour, nineteen minutes, fifty-two seconds on June 23, 2012. They both crossed the finish line at exactly the same time.
According to the LA Times article, Grantstein's boyfriend was on a commuter flight from Chicago to Memphis. The circumstantial evidence clearly suggests that Zimmerman may in fact be Grantstein's boyfriend.
These facts raise serious questions regarding the NCAA's investigation of Muhammad. First of all, Grantstein is reportedly the lead NCAA investigator into the Shabazz Muhammad situation. Yet Grantstein is a fairly inexperienced law school graduate, who would be relegated to fairly low-level duties at this point in her career if she were working at a law firm handling sophisticated litigation or transactional work. Additionally, Granstein has extensive ties to the Kansas athletic department. Muhammad, of course, was recruited by most major schools, including Kansas. These developments raise questions whether someone with such extensive ties to the Kansas Athletic Department could be considered impartial in this investigation. Additionally, the reported details concerning the investigation, including allegations that Grantstein and the NCAA prejudged the situation raise serious concerns.
Bruins Nation will continue to stay abreast of this developing story.