Fighting to keep witness statements concerning Ereck Plancher’s death secret ahead of a multi-million dollar wrongful death trial suddenly isn’t the only problem University of Central Florida athletics is facing — the New York Times just broke a story accusing the Knights of breaking NCAA recruiting rules.
The reporting by Pete Thamel alleges Kevin Ware, a standout high school guard from outside Atlanta who had committed to the UCF Knights basketball team, did so only after Kenneth Caldwell, a “convicted felon” with a “substantial criminal record,” arranged joint phone conversations with UCF coach Donnie Jones. That type of contact that’s banned by the NCAA, according to the Times.
Caldwell, who is from Chicago, traveled to Atlanta to meet with Ware’s family and has apparent ties to a prominent sports agency, the Times reported.
“He was pushing for U.C.F.,” Ware told the Times, referring to Caldwell in a Thursday telephone interview. After learning of Caldwell’s background, that’s when Ware reportedly said he would not come to UCF after all.
“N.C.A.A. rules identify permissible recruiters,” Joe Hornstein, UCF’s associate director for athletics, told the Times in a statement published Friday. “If there is information that indicates that other individuals are involved in recruiting activities, we will take corrective action.”
UCF has been tight lipped on the situation, but did release another brief statement Saturday indicating UCF is taking this very seriously. “Our review of this matter began immediately upon receiving notice,” Joe Hornstein, a university spokesman said in the statement to the Times. “It is premature for us to provide comment regarding these allegations at this time, without having the opportunity to thoroughly and completely review the facts.”
Ware’s parents have shown less restraint in addressing the situation.
“I’m pretty much just disgusted,” Ware’s mother, Lisa Mack, told the Times. “Who dreams of something that’s supposed to be about the kids and the achievements he’s received to this point to receive a scholarship? It has been made something dirty. I feel violated.”
As is often the case when the New York Times breaks a story like this, it has been picked up nationwide. ESPN and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, among others, are covering this recruiting scandal in Central Florida. KnightNews.com is working to gather more information and will post UCF’s statement once we receive it. Check back for updates on this major breaking UCF news.