Kabongo has yet to play a single game for the Longhorns this season because the NCAA is investigating his activities while weighing his options during last spring’s NBA draft. The NCAA is looking to see if he retained an agent and if he was honest about whether he paid for a workout in May. They also want to see if Texas was made aware of his intentions to go to Ohio for the workout.
Yahoo! reported that there was an impermissible benefits transgression when Kabongo worked out with his former Longhorn teammate and friend Tristan Thompson in Akron, Ohio during the summer. Thompson was a first-round draft pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011 draft.
Kabongo also worked out with trainer Jerry Powell, who is affiliated agent Rich Paul. Paul is the agent for Thompson and LeBron James.
The NCAA is looking to see if Paul paid for any of Kabongo’s expenses. Paul is allowed to have a relationship with any player, but if Paul paid for his expenses or made a promise of representation or financial benefits, then Kabongo would forfeit his eligibility.
Multiple officials told ESPN.com that the NCAA was issuing the severe suspension to the Longhorns star because he did not give them all the information when they asked him. The NCAA usually punishes players for impermissible benefits with a suspension of up to 10 games and repayment of the benefits.
In 2009, Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant received a yearlong suspension from the NCAA for lying about receiving impermissible benefits while they investigated him.
ESPN.com received a statement from Texas about the reported verdict of Kabongo late Wednesday night:
“A final decision has not been made in Myck Kabango’s eligibility case. We and the NCAA are working together and a final decision is expected within the next few days.”
The news broke Wednesday night as Texas was closing in on an 85-67 victory over No. 23 North Carolina Tarheels. Longhorns coach Rick Barnes decided not to directly comment on the report after the game.
“There is process that every student athlete goes through and I can only feel you that process is not done we are in the middle of that process,” Barnes said. “Every student athlete is entitled to a process if something comes up and that process is ongoing.”
As a freshman Kabongo averaged 9.6 points, 5.2 assists and three rebounds per game. He was expected to have a breakout year after deciding to return to the Longhorns for his sophomore season, but will possibly have to continue to watch from the sidelines for the remainder of the season.