Basketball people in the high school and college community have long questioned the practices of the NIA School in Newark, N.J.
On Thursday, some of those people were vindicated: the NCAA ruled four basketball players –and two other athletes – from the school academically ineligible for the upcoming season.
The basketball players were Cincinnati’s Shaq Thomas, TCU’s Ryan Rhoomes, Towson’s Kelvin Amayo and Fairleigh Dickinson’s Ibn Muhammad.
Alif Muhammad, the school’s president and founder, was told by the NCAA that the courses offered at NIA are not college prepatory classes.
“I’m shocked, man,” Muhammad told the Star-Ledger (N.J.).
Each of the athletes will appeal the decision to the NCAA, and Muhammad told the newspaper that he was confident Thomas, Amayo and Muhammad will win their appeals. TCU starts classes next week, so Rhoomes’ status is up in the air.
NIA, which operates out of the basement of a New Jersey hotel, has had 28 athletes qualify to play Division-I sports since 2006. There have been questions surrounding the legitimacy of the academics at the school, though.
At the NCAA website, EligibilityCenter.org, schools must list the college-prep classes that they offer. Nearly every reputable school on the website has dozens of classes in their profile; NIA Prep, on the other hand, doesn’t list a single class.
After an NCAA investigation last year, Morehead State announced it would no longer recruit at the school. They are certainly not the only ones.
“We have never ever tried to recruit a kid from NIA,” one coach told me. “It’s a factory.”
“We don’t mess with that school,” another coach said.
While the appeals will begin soon, it’s clear NIA Prep is squarely on the NCAA’s radar.
Photo: NJ Hoops Journal (Shaq Thomas)