Sources: Auburn Tigers' Sharife Cooper awaits NCAA eligibility ruling

Auburn star freshman Sharife Cooper hasn't practiced in recent weeks for the Tigers while he awaits the findings of an NCAA investigation into his eligibility, sources told ESPN.

Cooper's representatives have contacted professional teams in Europe and Australia in case the NCAA does not clear him to play this season, sources told ESPN. A source said Cooper's desire is to remain at Auburn this season, but that might not be a possibility if the NCAA doesn't certify him to play.

"Sharife Cooper's initial eligibility review is ongoing and we are hopeful for a resolution as soon as possible," an Auburn spokesperson told ESPN.

Cooper, a 6-foot point guard from McEachern High School (Georgia), was a McDonald's All American and five-star recruit in the 2020 class. He was ranked No. 20 in the ESPN 100 and was expected to start immediately at point guard for Auburn this season.

On Sunday, Auburn announced it was self-imposing a postseason ban for this season due to the NCAA investigation into former assistant coach Chuck Person. Person was one of four assistant coaches arrested in September 2017 as part of the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball. He pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to steer players to a financial adviser, and he was also accused of helping facilitate thousands of dollars to the families of two players.

"This was a difficult decision but the right decision," coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement Sunday. "I hate it for our current players. They lost the opportunity for the postseason last year because of COVID, and now they will miss the postseason again. It's a two-year postseason penalty for them. However, we need to take this penalty now to put it behind us."

The Tigers open the season against Saint Joseph's on Thursday at the Fort Myers Tip-Off in Fort Myers, Florida.