Sports Illustrated reported on Wednesday that college sports’ governing body dispatched two investigators to Noel’s former high school in New Hampshire earlier this month to meet with school officials there about Noel’s past.
UK Compliance Director Sandy Bell attended that meeting, according to the report.
Kentucky officials declined comment on that matter, citing federal privacy laws, but confirmed that nothing appeared amiss with Noel. The 6-foot-11 former McDonald’s All-American joined his teammates for Wednesday’s start of classes and was present for the Wildcats’ team photo later that day.
The New Hampshire meeting was the second such gathering between NCAA representatives and officials from schools that Noel had previously attended. The NCAA met with administrators at Noel’s former high school in Everett, Mass., in May.
Their questions allegedly centered on the people with whom Noel was spending time and how he paid for several unofficial visits during the recruiting process, including “multiple trips to Syracuse,” according to Sports Illustrated.
Noel’s father is a Boston cab driver.
But he’s hardly the only high-profile recruit from the class of 2012 to have warranted added NCAA scrutiny. UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad, who chose the Bruins over UK, will have to sit out his team’s upcoming trip to China because of an inquiry into unofficial visits that took place during his recruitment.
North Carolina State’s Rodney Purvis and Providence’s Ricardo Ledo are also ineligible to play while the NCAA seeks specific answers about their backgrounds.
There is no set timetable on when Noel’s situation will be resolved.
The situation isn’t new to Kentucky fans, who recall that then-freshman point guard John Wall wasn’t cleared by the NCAA until just a few days before the season opener in 2009. Wall was suspended for one exhibition game and one regular season and forced to repay almost $800 in expense because of questionable unofficial visits.
Noel is the crown jewel of UK coach John Calipari’s top-ranked recruiting class that also includes five-star prospects Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin and a four-star center prospect in Willie Cauley-Stein.