The Villanova basketball Web site listed Yarou's age as 19 - born June 26, 1990 - and his hometown as Natitingou, starting with an N and not an M, in Benin, West Africa.
In a statement, athletic director Vince Nicastro said Villanova's compliance department examined numerous documents, including transcripts, passports, and naturalization papers, that listed Yarou's birth year as 1990. He added that based on this documentation, plus making sure Yarou previously had not played professionally, the NCAA's eligibility center cleared Yarou to play.
Given the Sporting News Today report, Nicastro said the university again would go over the documents and cooperate fully with the NCAA.
"We take seriously any questions regarding NCAA compliance and are currently reviewing all information related to Mouphtaou's enrollment," Nicastro said. "Villanova has fully complied with the NCAA throughout this process and has been in communication with it on this matter. . . . We will continue to actively monitor this situation."
Villanova coach Jay Wright was not available for comment. A school spokesman said Wright planned to play Yarou in Friday's season opener at home against Fairleigh Dickinson.
According to NCAA rules, any organized competition in which a player competes after turning 21 years old counts as a year of eligibility.
If both Yarous are indeed the same person, then competing at the 2007 Africa Cup would be one year of eligibility lost. Villanova's Yarou came to the United States late in 2007 and played at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodbridge, Va., and at Montrose Christian Academy in Rockville, Md., and that would deduct two years of eligibility. Plus any organized competition in which he participated between 2005 and 2007 also would count.
Wright's recruitment of Yarou included a trip to Natitingou to meet Yarou's parents, brothers, uncles, and cousins.
"They were most concerned about his education," Wright said at Villanova's media day two weeks ago. "They really didn't know much about basketball and they really didn't care. So we explained all that to them."
The situation with a potentially older college player is similar to that of former La Salle forward Vernon Goodridge, whose eligibility was ruled to have expired by the NCAA after last season because he played in an all-star game at age 21, before entering Mississippi State.
Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or firstname.lastname@example.org.