The NCAA said Tuesday that Texas freshman Mohamed Bamba received benefits from a private equity investor, but those benefits were permissible because Bamba’s relationship with the investor had been ongoing for many years.
The NCAA also found that the investor, Greer Love, served as a mentor to other children as well, through a mentorship program in Harlem, and provided similar benefits to those children.
He did not meet the NCAA’s definition of an agent.
According to NCAA Bylaws, an agent is “any individual who, directly or indirectly represents or attempts to represent an individual for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain, or seeks to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from securing a prospective student-athlete’s potential earnings as a professional athlete.”
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An agent may include certified contract advisers, financial advisers, marketing representatives, brand managers, and anyone who is employed or associated with such persons.
Love said he has been a mentor to Bamba for more than nine years, and he was “helping guide him through the recruiting process.”
The longevity of Bamba and Love’s relationship ultimately cleared Bamba from any potential NCAA violations.
“In this case, the relationship between the (student-athlete) and Mr. Love developed when the (student-athlete) was in fourth grade through an after school mentoring program,” according to the NCAA’s full determination. “Although the mentoring program had both an academic and athletics purpose, their relationship was not established based on the (student-athlete’s) ability or reputation as an athlete.
“Further, the pattern of communication between the (student-athlete) and Mr. Love has been continuous and the benefits provided to the (student-athlete) have been consistent since the establishment of their relationship.”
Bamba, a 6-11, 203-pound forward, and the No. 2 recruit in the class of 2017, was a Duke target. He ultimately chose Texas over Duke, Michigan, Arizona and Kentucky.
When reached by phone Wednesday morning, Love, the vice president of Michigan-based Huron Capital, declined to comment.
The NCAA started investigating Bamba’s relationship with Love in June, after Bamba’s brother, Ibrahim Johnson, posted a profanity-laced video accusing Bamba of accepting money and gifts from Love.
NCAA’s findings on Mo Bamba and Greer Love
(‘SA’ is the student-athlete, Mohamed Bamba):
Based on the information provided, the relationship between the SA and Mr. Love meets the 6/6/2000 pre-existing relationship test. In this case, the relationship between the SA and Mr. Love developed when the SA was in 4th grade through an after school mentoring program.
Although the mentoring program had both an academic and athletics purpose, their relationship was not established based on the SA’s ability or reputation as an athlete. Further, the pattern of communication between the SA and Mr. Love has been continuous and the benefits provided to the SA have been consistent since the establishment of their relationship.
In addition, Mr. Love has a consistent, established pattern of providing comparable benefits to other individuals (and family of individuals) who were also a part of the mentoring program and most of which are pursuing nonathletic career paths/opportunities.
Therefore, based on the information provided, the benefits provided to the SA by Mr. Love are not in violation of NCAA amateurism rules. Further, any future benefits provided to the SA by Mr. Love are permissible provided the pattern of such benefits remain consistent. Finally, there is no evidence in the facts provided that Mr. Love meets the definition of an agent for purposes of NCAA rules.