San Diego State formally cleared Malik Pope Tuesday afternoon to play against Boise State, after provisionally suspending him for four days when his name appeared on a list of players allegedly receiving loans from an agent.
Pope denied he had accepted a $1,400 loan, the amount that appeared with his name in 2015 documents released by Yahoo Sports in an FBI probe into NCAA basketball corruption.
The documents were from the ASM Sports agency run by Andy Miller, whose employees included Christian Dawkins, a central figure in the U.S. Attorney’s case.
Andy Humes, the director of compliance for SDSU’s athletic department, conducted an internal investigation and reported its findings to the NCAA. Loans from prospective agents are considered an impermissible benefit to student-athletes under NCAA- punishable from a few games to a season.
Humes, in a statement, said the university “found no evidence that Malik received any impermissible benefits or violated any NCAA rules.”
Pope also released a statement:
“I, along with my family, have never had contact nor accepted anything from the two people named in the story. Since the report, I have worked with our compliance office to show that I have not broken any NCAA rules. I want to thank the San Diego State community for their support and faith in me during this process. I look forward to joining my teammates on the court.”
The school had to determine if any family members or associates had received a loan from ASM unbeknownst to Pope, since the NCAA also considers that a violation.
The story broke early Friday morning, and SDSU opted to keep Pope home while the team traveled for a Saturday game at San Jose State, a 71-59 victory. It collected its findings over the weekend and shared them with the NCAA on Monday.
Pope was able to practice Monday and is expected to start against Boise State.
“Malik and I spoke Friday morning after the story was first published,” SDSU coach Brian Dutcher said. “He told me immediately that he did not accept money and did not know either of these two individuals linked to the report. That said, it was important for Malik, as well as the program and university, to make sure there was a thorough review process.”
The Aztec Nation is thrilled to see Malik Pope eligible to play for the remainder of the season.