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Shabazz Muhammad Eligible: NCAA Rules UCLA Freshman Can Play

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SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD
Shabazz Muhammad of the UCLA Bruins sits on the bench during the game with the Indiana State Sycamores at Pauley Pavilion on November 9, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. | Getty Images
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LOS ANGELES -- The NCAA ruled UCLA freshman guard Shabazz Muhammad eligible to play Friday, and the star freshman guard is set to make his Bruins debut Monday night.

The NCAA said Friday that UCLA's sanctions against Muhammad were sufficient after the school required him to sit out three games and repay $1,600 in impermissible benefits. The NCAA and UCLA found that Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina.

Muhammad will be in the lineup when the No. 13 Bruins (3-0) return to action Monday night in New York against Georgetown at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.

"I am excited to be able to play for UCLA starting next Monday," Muhammad said in a statement released by the school. "My family and friends were very supportive of me throughout this process and I couldn't have gone through this without them."

The NCAA announced Nov. 9, less than two hours before the Bruins' opener, that Muhammad was ineligible. UCLA filed a formal appeal Wednesday.

"We are extremely grateful that this matter has come to a conclusion," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. "I want to recognize that a lot of long hours and tireless effort were put into this process by staff members from UCLA and the NCAA, as well as by Shabazz Muhammad's family.

"This entire process has been challenging on many fronts, but we believe strongly in the principles of fairness, integrity and due process."

Muhammad led Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas to three Nevada Class AAAA titles, averaging 29.4 points and 10.1 rebounds last season as a senior. He was the Naismith Boy's High School Player of the Year and the MVP in the McDonald's All-American game.

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