UCF President John Hitt is holding a press conference concerning the NCAA investigation into the Central Florida Knights’ recruiting practices, and so far, this doesn’t look good. The NCAA has released a 16-page “notice of allegations” detailing the charges against UCF, and judging from the snippets available so far, the Knights could be in for trouble:
It is alleged between March 2009 and July 2011, Ken Caldwell, a recruiter for a professional sports agency, and Brandon Bender, an associate of Caldwell’s, assisted the institution in recruitment of six men’s basketball and five football prospective student-athletes by promoting the institution’s athletics programs. … Certain institutional staff members were aware of Caldwell’s and Bender’s activities while others involved Caldwell and Bender in the recruitment of specific prospective student athletes. (Orlando Sentinel)
The Knights have already announced that Athletic Director Keith Tribble and receivers coach (and top recruiter) David Kelly have resigned, and that head basketball coach Donnie Jones will be suspended for three conference games without pay. The university is hoping to impose sanction on itself and has already announced some internal changes to prevent events like this from occurring again, like having their compliance officer report directly to a university representative and the director of athletics.
Although not mentioned during the press conference, it’s rumored that there will also be player suspensions as a result of this investigation. At the moment, the only player being suspended for allegations is A.J. Rompza, but Jeremy Garrison (NBC Sports) suggests that there may be more to come:
More #UCF fallout to come…at least 5 basketball players will be suspended for failed drug tests/accepting gifts. Both Jordan sons involved
Al Harms has been named the interim Athletic Director while they search for a replacement for Tribble. President Hittdoes not believe this investigation will slow down their move into the Big East, which could be completed within a week.
For more as it develops, follow along with our Storystream coverage of this story.