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Nerlens Noel still not cleared by NCAA for Wildcats

Less than a month away from its first game and with just two days to go before its annual Big Blue Madness event, Kentucky is still awaiting word on the eligibility of freshman star Nerlens Noel.

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

With just two days remaining before Kentucky's annual Big Blue Madness event to kickoff the 2012-13 season, Wildcat freshman center Nerlens Noel has still not been cleared to play by the NCAA.

Noel, considered by many to be the No. 1 player in the recruiting class of 2012, has academically qualified to play this season, but the NCAA is still investigating how he paid for a handful of unofficial visits during his recruitment. A source tells's Adam Zagoria that it's currently unclear when Noel's situation will be resolved.

"The case status is fluid and may change this week," the source said. "Will it be resolved by Midnight Madness? Or even by the season opener? No one knows at this point. UK is downplaying it publicly but I'm sure they're a bit concerned."

A skilled 6'10 scorer and shot-blocker, Noel is expected to help fill the void left by Anthony Davis, who led the Wildcats to the 2012 national championship in his freshman season. Davis was also named the consensus national Player of the Year and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

The NCAA's 45-day window has begun for Noel, which means that if he is not cleared after in the next 45 days he will no longer be allowed to practice with the team.

This is also a major issue on the other side of the country, where prized UCLA recruits Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson are both awaiting clearance from the NCAA. Muhammad and Noel were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 (in various orders) in the class of 2012 by every major national scouting service.

This story first appeared at SB Nation.