Nov. 15, 2000
Press Conference Audio
Listen to audio from Wednesday's press conference.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Muhammed Lasege, a 6-11 center from Lagos, Nigeria, will not play for the University of Louisville men's basketball team.
Lasege, who signed with the Cardinals in the spring of 1999, was denied an appeal for reinstatement of his eligibility by the NCAA Division I Subcommittee for Student-Athlete Reinstatement, a decision based on amateurism rules and case precedents. At issue was Lasege's amateur status after a brief period with a Russian professional team. The appeal process was the last opportunity for him to play with the Cardinals or any other NCAA team.
"We're very disappointed with the decision and deeply saddened for Muhammed," said U of L Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. "This is a tragic situation for a young man that we have all come to love. He embodies what we all envision in a model student-athlete. I've been so impressed with him as an individual. He's a good person with a good heart and has a true passion for achieving. We will do all in our power to see that all of his options are fully explored. Regardless of his future, Muhammed will remain a part of our family.
"Not to be lost in this decision is the tireless efforts made during this entire process by Neil Brooks (U of L Associate Athletics Director for Compliance). I'm proud of the dedication and commitment he made to this case on a day-to-day basis over the past 18 months. His work and devotion toward helping Muhammed is to be commended."
"Obviously, we are saddened with the effect this decision will have on Muhammed," said U of L Basketball Coach Denny Crum. "He's a model student and has been a joy to coach. I think everyone on our campus, be it in our athletic department or within our academic community, has embraced Muhammed. I have a lot of respect and admiration for his perseverance through this entire process. Despite being in a foreign country and without the support structure of team practices and meetings to assist him, Muhammed excelled. This is a devastating decision for a special young man and it bothers me that we cannot do more for him."
An economics major, Lasege enrolled at U of L last fall and completed his initial year as an honor roll student while awaiting word on his playing status. He has been practicing with the team since preseason drills began on Oct. 14.
-- 30 --