UCF Rocked Again, as NCAA Cites Allegations
In response to damning allegations of recruitment violations in the University of Central Florida’s football and basketball programs, its athletics director Keith Tribble turned in his resignation Wednesday.
At a news conference today, UCF President John Hitt announced that a ‘Notice of Allegations’ had been received from the NCAA earlier in the week, which detailed recruiting violations engaged in by Tribble and others in the athletics department and two professional sports recruiters, Ken Caldwell and Brandon Bender.
In part, the Notice states:
“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.”
The 16-page report also alleges that Caldwell made deposits into the account of a basketball student-athlete, as well as, paid tuition and university fees, transportation expenses and provided a lap top computer to the student-athlete.
The Notice points directly to Tribble alleging ethical violations.
“It is alleged that between January and September 7, 2011, Keith Tribble, director of athletics, violated the 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,” the Notice states.
Hitt said today, “The conduct detailed by the NCAA’s report falls far short of our university standards and my own expectations of how our athletics program should operate.”
David Kelly, assistant coach and the football program’s top recruiter, has also resigned, Hitt said.
In the interim, Al Harms, a vice president of communications at the school, has been appointed interim athletics director. Harms said that changes would be implemented immediately, including having compliance officials within the athletics department report to the university’s chief compliance office.
Hitt also said that basketball coach Donnie Jones has been suspended for three games without pay and that he will be sent a letter of reprimand.
UCF intends to identify a search firm shortly, which will begin the task of recruiting a new athletics director and assistant coach.