NCAA expanding inquiry into Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel

The has expanded its inquiry into freshman Nerlens Noel, one of the nation’s top recruits in the class of 2012, as two NCAA enforcement officials traveled to Noel’s New Hampshire prep school for a three-hour meeting in early August. The NCAA’s questions focused on the cast of characters that surrounded Noel’s recruitment and how Noel paid for his unofficial visits, according to a person with knowledge of the NCAA inquiry.  This is the NCAA enforcement staff’s second trip to New England regarding Noel. Assistant directors of enforcement Cindi Merrill and Frank Smith also traveled to Noel’s public high school in Everett, Mass., in May to meet with school officials there.  What made the NCAA’s visit to Tilton intriguing is that a senior Kentucky official, chief compliance officer Sandy Bell, accompanied Merrill and Smith for the meeting. Bell didn’t ask many questions, according to the source, but did take notes and spoke up occasionally. The presence of two NCAA enforcement officials and Bell gives the appearance that this case has gone beyond the routine checking of top prospects, according to one former NCAA investigator.  Bell did not return an e-mail and a request to comment through a spokesperson.

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