Kofi Cockburn to miss first three games of regular season due to suspension


Sydney Laput

Kofi Cockburn shoots a free throw during Illinois’ 94-79 exhibition win over Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Friday. Cockburn has received a three-game suspension for selling team-issued gear prior to the passing of NIL legislation.

By Jackson Janes, Sports Editor

Illinois junior center Kofi Cockburn will miss the team’s first three games of the regular season as part of an NCAA suspension for selling institutionally issued apparel and memorabilia in June prior to the passing of name, image and likeness legislation in college athletics.

“We are disappointed with the three-game suspension because there were unprecedented factors and altered timelines related to his decision to ultimately withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to school,” said head coach Brad Underwood in a press release. “Once Kofi had a full understanding of where he stood regarding the draft, he made an educated decision to return to school, work toward his degree and continue improving his game.

“That said, we understand and respect the NCAA’s decision in this matter, and we will move forward accordingly. As always, Kofi’s attitude and outlook remain upbeat and positive. He is focused on helping his teammates prepare for the season, and we can’t wait to have him rejoin us on the court.”

Cockburn partnered with The Players Trunk, which sold his merchandise, after he declared for the NBA Draft. He also will donate the amount of money generated through this sale to a charity of his choice.

Cockburn was named the Big Ten’s Preseason Player of the Year last week, while he also is a preseason All-American and a unanimous First-Team All-Big Ten selection.

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The Jamaica native will miss the Illini’s games against Jackson State on Nov. 9, Arkansas State on Nov. 12 and Marquette on Nov. 15, and he is eligible to return when Illinois takes on Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City on Nov. 22.



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