Auburn's Austin Wiley ruled ineligible by NCAA for season

The NCAA has ruled Auburn Tigers center Austin Wiley ineligible for the rest of the season following a reinstatement decision.

Auburn self-reported violations related to Wiley involving recruiting, extra benefits and agents, the NCAA said in a release Thursday. The NCAA said Wiley would be eligible at the start of the 2018-19 season based on its current information in the case.

Auburn officials announced before the season opener against Norfolk State on Nov. 10 that Wiley and forward Danjel Purifoy were being held out of competition because of concerns about their eligibility. They haven't played in a game for the No. 22 Tigers this season.

The NCAA said in its release that Auburn could appeal its decision regarding Wiley to the Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement. The NCAA said it had not received a reinstatement request from the school for any other Auburn player.

"The decision is based on currently available information from the school, applies only to the individual eligibility of Wiley and does not impact any future infractions action," the NCAA release said. "In addition, the outcome of this decision can be modified if additional or different facts warrant additional review."

Tigers coach Bruce Pearl told reporters earlier Thursday that Purifoy and Wiley were still enrolled in classes at Auburn. Pearl also said he still had hope that the players would be reinstated at some point this season.

"I do," Pearl told reporters. "I still know that we're working with the NCAA through that process, and I think it's still a possibility." It is believed that Purifoy and Wiley are the unidentified players described as "Player 1" and "Player 2" in a federal indictment against former Auburn assistant Chuck Person, who was among eight people indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on Nov. 7 as part of the FBI's probe into college basketball corruption.

It is alleged in the federal indictment that Person received $91,500 in bribes from financial adviser Marty Blazer, who was a cooperating witness in the FBI's clandestine probe. Person allegedly gave $11,000 to the mother of "Player 1" and $7,500 to the mother of "Player 2.

Wiley, a 6-foot-10 sophomore from Hoover, Alabama, averaged 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 23 games as a freshman.

Purifoy, a 6-foot-7 sophomore from Centreville, Alabama, was the Tigers' second-leading scorer with 11.5 points per game last season. It is the second time he has been suspended amid eligibility concerns. He sat out the 2015-16 season because of questions about his high school transcript and ACT scores.

Even without Purifoy and Wiley, the Tigers have been one of college basketball's biggest surprises. They're off to a 15-1 start and are tied with Florida for first place in the loss column of the SEC standings.