An eight-month long investigation by the NCAA on the possible violation of recruiting practices by the UCF men’s basketball and football teams came to a head Wednesday afternoon as Athletic Director Keith Tribble and receivers coach David Kelly resigned from the program.
UCF President John Hitt addressed the school Wednesday in a press conference regarding the investigation and possible violations made by the school.
This is monumental news for the UCF athletics program, which continues to be surrounded by headlines in recent weeks. In the past couple of weeks, UCF has been rumored to be joining the Big East Conference.
Now, the headlines have taken a turn for the negative, with UCF still under investigation for possible recruiting infractions that occured by the football and basketball team.
In addition to the resignations of Tribble and Kelly, UCF basketball head coach Donnie Jones has been suspended for three conference games without pay this season.
The NCAA notice alleges Tribble, who has been with UCF since 2006, “violated principles of ethical conduct when he knowingly (a) attempted to provide an improper inducement to the mother of a prospective student-athlete and (b) provided false and misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff.”
UCF will immediately begin a national search for its new director of Athletics. In the meantime, Admiral Al Harms, UCF’s vice president for Strategy, Marketing, Communications and Admissions, has been appointed the interim director of Athletics.
The NCAA allegations stem from the possible infractions made by Ken Caldwell, a recruiter for a professional sports agency, and Brandon Bender, an associate of Caldwell’s. It has been reported in an NCAA notice that they allegedly “assisted the institution in recruitment of six men’s basketball and five football prospective student-athletes by promoting the institution’s athletics programs.”
Caldwell is also been mentioned as a mentor to UCF senior point guard A.J. Rompza, who has been suspended indefinitely until the conclusion of the investigation.
Regarding Rompza, Hitt said in the UCF press release that “The only player who is now under any suspension that I’m aware of is, I think, A.J. Rompza. He is being held out …while there is a judgment on his eligibility.”
Hitt said the actions today will not be the school’s last steps. He said UCF will consider “self-imposed penalties.”
On a positive note, the impending investigation will not affect UCF’s conference realignment, according to Hitt.
Hitt said he talked with Big East Commissioner John Marinatto, and still thinks the expansion plan is intact.
“No one likes it … But it is not a game changer … It does not delay our entry into the Big East,” Hitt said.
The investigation will continue over the next few months.
“To our fans, I pledge this: UCF will address these problems in a clear, consistent, and just manner,” Hitt said.
Keep checking back to KnightNews.com for further updates on this breaking news for the UCF athletics program.
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