Expert: Bowen could possibly play this year

Mar 26, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; McDonalds High School All-American forward Brian "Tugs" Bowen II (20) poses for a photo during the 2017 McDonalds All American Game Portrait Day at Chicago Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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LOUISVILLE (WHAs11) -- He's at the center of the latest basketball scandal at the University of Louisville.  And now one of the country's foremost experts on the NCAA says there's a possibility we could see him on the hardwood at the KFC Yum! Center.

“I think there's a possibility he could play this year and my guess is if he does play, he'll go to the NBA next year,” said Dave Ridpath, Ohio University Associate Professor of Sports Management.

Brian Bowen's attorney confirmed to our news partners at The Courier-Journal that the FBI has cleared UofL to start their own investigation and Bowen has been cleared of quote investigative impediments.  Attorney Kent Wicker has this message for hopeful UofL fans.

“That's not the answer to everything but it's useful in showing maybe this situation is not as serious as some people thought it was,” Wicker said.

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Wicker says this is good news for Bowen and his future, but when it comes to the former head coach Rick Pitino and former Athletic Director Tom Jurich, their cases don't change much.

“If you're a basketball fan you want to see him play this is a step in that direction.  Whether this affects the issues between UofL and Pitino and Jurich, probably not so much,” Wicker said.

Lawyers for both Pitino and Jurich have responded to the new developments.  In a statement, Pitino's lawyer says “the UofL Athletic Association should have been more patient.  Bowen is cleared.  In time, Coach Pitino will be as well.”

Jurich's lawyer says in a statement he is “watching the Bowen case with great interest.”

But with the case now in the hands of the NCAA and UofL, the future could be bright for the five-star forward.

“There could be some eligibility consequences.  He might have to sit out a couple of games but there is a chance that he might be able to actually see the floor this year,” Ridpath said.

Wicker says this doesn't help the Pitino and Jurich cases because even if Bowen does play, the scheme still happened under the watch of those two leaders.  And Ridpath says the big question will be how much did Bowen know.  The NCAA will have to determine if he knew anything about the pay-to-play scheme.