James given approval to play

Jan. 27, 2003 at 7:19 PM
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COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- High school basketball phenom LeBron James of Akron, Ohio, will be a player through the season.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association Monday announced that no violations of its amateur bylaws as currently written have been found in James' case.

The OHSAA has completed its investigation centering on James' eligibility at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. Commissioner Clair Muscaro said James can maintain his amateur status. Officials at St. Vincent-St. Mary were informed of the ruling Monday morning.

There was a two-week investigation of the James case centered around a vehicle which was given to him on his birthday by his mother, Gloria. The nature of the transaction, a bank loan, has been the subject of much speculation.

"In working with the attorney for the James family and the OHSAA attorney, I was shown official business records from the bank and the dealership which established that the financing and acquisition of the vehicle were procured by the student-athlete's mother alone," said Muscaro. "Accordingly, this type of transaction is not a violation of the OHSAA bylaws on amateurism."

Because of confidentiality concerns, Muscaro said no further information on the documents he reviewed would be released.

"The OHSAA bylaws on amateurism differ significantly from those of other amateur organizations such as the NCAA," Muscaro said. "We regularly review our constitution and bylaws, and we certainly would include an evaluation of our rules on amateurism as part of that review, and would take any and all recommendations to the member schools following our evaluation. However, as our bylaws direct, our member schools make all final decisions regarding possible changes."

The OHSAA concluded a two-week investigation Monday and said

James did not violate any state bylaws by accepting the Hummer H2 vehicle, which has a base retail price of $50,000.

The OSHAA is a voluntary, not-for-profit association of public and non-public high schools and 7th and 8th grade schools that was organized in 1906.

In a prepared news release, the OHSAA said it receives no tax money, and does not charge fees to its member schools.

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