After reading through the NCAA's Notice of Allegations to UCF from Nov. 7, I decided to see if I could break down what UCF is really facing and who might be named in the NOA. The redactions themselves allow for some supposition of names and places and most of these are guesses, based on timeframe, what characters can be seen through the redactions, and knowledge of the situation.
First, I will outline what is in the NOA:
Count 1 – Caldwell and Bender acted as representatives of the university’s athletics department and had impermissible contact with 6 basketball recruits and 5 football recruits. Co-conspirators include Keith Tribble, David Kelly, Micah Byers, Tim Thomas, Nicole Small, Darren Tillis – all of whom had some contact with Caldwell and/or Bender and knew of their activities.
- 6 basketball recruits:
- Nik Garcia
- Michael Chandler
- Kevin Ware
- [Name redacted] between October 2010-April 2011
- [Name redacted] in November 2010
- [Name redacted] in January 2011
- 5 football recruits:
- DaMarcus Smith
- Jerrell Moore
- [Name redacted] between January 2010-July 2011
- Michael Fluellen
- [Name redacted] between March 2011-May 2011
Note 1: Michael Chandler and all but one of the football recruits were alleged to have contact with Caldwell and Bender AFTER a June 9, 2011 letter from UCF disassociating Caldwell from the university. The NCAA started their investigation in August, so they were on top of this pretty early.
Note 2: Nik Garcia was the only one of these recruits to have played for UCF, and he left the team in his freshman season. Smith and Chandler both signed LOI’s and failed to qualify at UCF.
Count 2 – Caldwell gave impermissible benefits to basketball and football players and recruits.
- $500 to AJ Rompza over 3 years
- $11,190.45 in tuition for Dogukan Kozucan in May 2010 paid by Caldwell through [Name redacted] (parent?)
- Laptop ($465.25 value) to football recruit [Name redacted]
- $234.90 to basketball recruit [Long name redacted, probably the same as 1-4 above] to travel from Hartford, CT to Louisville, KY
- $375 in tuition for [Name redacted] in March 2011 to a private school in Louisville, KY (presumably for DaMarcus Smith)
- $1,375 in tuition for [Name redacted] (Michael Chandler?) at the same private school as above
- $1,125 in tuition for [Long name redacted, probably the same as1-4 above] to the same private school as above
- $740.14 to [Name redacted] through [Name redacted] to travel from Louisville, KY to Calgary, Canada
Note 3: UCF requested the NCAA reinstate AJ Rompza on October 24, 2011. Kozucan is supposedly under the legal guardianship of Caldwell.
Count 3 – Keith Tribble, Jeff Lagos, and Ken Caldwell attempted to arrange for a job for DaMarcus Smith’s mother at IOA in Orlando (Lagos’ company), an improper inducement.
Count 4 – Keith Tribble arranged for an out-of-state tuition waiver ($9,567 value) in September 2009 for [Name redacted] (presumably Caldwell’s son). The tuition waiver occurred when Nik Garcia was enrolling at UCF.
Note: It was reported when the NOI came out that Caldwell’s son was given a out-of-state tuition waiver for two years and a job in the athletics dept. as a tutor, and the NCAA claims he never did any tutoring. This is that allegation.
Count 5 – Keith Tribble violated principles of ethical conduct, specifically trying to get DaMarcus Smith’s mother a job in Orlando and lying to NCAA investigators about having contact with Caldwell in the recruiting of Kevin Ware and DaMarcus Smith.
Count 6 – David Kelly violated principles of ethical conduct, specifically lying to NCAA investigators about having contact with Caldwell and Bender in the recruiting of 4 football players, including Smith and Moore.
Count 7 – Donnie Jones failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.
- By having contact with Caldwell in the recruiting process, but failing to stop or discourage the activities.
- By directing staff to indicate Caldwell’s son was tutoring players, when the NCAA alleges he was not.
Count 8 – Lack of institutional control and failure to monitor regarding staff and Ken Caldwell.
- Keith Tribble was aware of Caldwell’s activities and:
- Failed to monitor Caldwell to ensure NCAA compliance
- Failed to discourage or stop Caldwell and report violations to staff, C-USA, or NCAA
- Keith Tribble allowed Caldwell access, benefits, and event tickets.
- UCF failed to monitor the out-of-state tuition waiver for student workers and to ensure that those students were performing the duties assigned.
All the other numbered paragraphs are requests for information from UCF to the NCAA, which seems like standard stuff, based on other NOA’s I have read.
Basically, we have some charges to refute and a lot we have to take on the chin. Most of the allegations may decline in the level of guilt if it can be proven that Caldwell is/was not working for an agent.
Count 1 is damning because it’s the same violation for which UCF was already on probation through February 2012. This could get UCF repeat violator status, especially since Tribble, Kelly, and other staff were involved and didn’t do anything to curtail or stop Caldwell and Bender. The NCAA alleges that Caldwell and Bender were actually encouraged by Tribble likely until the Forde/Thamel stories broke in April and UCF sent Caldwell a disassociation letter in June. Starting in July 2012, the NCAA has approved unlimited contact via phone and text to men’s basketball recruits. This may or may not soften some of the blow, but considering Caldwell and Bender were not UCF staff, and UCF staff knew what they were doing and didn’t do anything to stop them before June of this year, it may not matter at all. Note that the new rule does not apply to football recruits, only to men’s basketball.
For Count 2, even if Caldwell is proved to be Rompza’s mentor and Kozucan’s guardian and not a runner, he is still alleged to have given stuff to other recruits. The recruits never attended UCF and that would help some, but they did sign LOI’s and we will probably see some punishment for that.
Count 3 may or may not be so sinister if Caldwell was trying to use his connections to get a job that Smith’s mother could truly do. That may be hard to prove, considering the first improper benefit listed in bylaw 184.108.40.206 is offering a relative a job.
Count 4 may go away if it can be proven that Caldwell’s son actually was an effective tutor for the team and other students working on the athletics staff also got tuition waivers. Otherwise, it’s more very bad news.
Count 5 resulted in Tribble’s firing. It may lead to show-cause status for him, meaning he won’t work in an official capacity for any school for at least 2 years.
Count 6 resulted in Kelly’s firing. It may lead to show-cause status for him.
Count 7 resulted in Jones’ suspension. That may be enough, but he may be suspended further by NCAA, but that won’t be determined until after April’s hearing.
Count 8 is what could really cripple the school. Boise got loss of institutional control (LOIC) this past summer and loses 9 scholarships in football over three years (they self-imposed 3 over two years, NCAA increased it to 9 over three years). OSU got failure to monitor and loses 9 scholarships over 3 years and has a one year postseason ban for their players’ involvement with a booster. Oklahoma successfully avoided repeat violator status because it was limited to one guy on the OU staff and one recruit/player for an impermissible $3000 loan. Each is getting 3 years probation. Boise is appealing their additional scholarship losses as excessive punishment. OU also got a $15,000 fine ($500 for each game the ineligible player participated in) and lost a basketball scholarship and 30 recruiting days.
UCF has until February 20 to respond to the NOA and will likely self-impose various sanctions beyond the resignations and suspension that have already occurred. UCF was on probation until this February and will go in front of the committee on infractions in April 2012 on these allegations. UCF can’t just say it was one guy (although O’Leary has made that statement already). UCF can’t say it’s all a big misunderstanding (some counts perhaps, but not the majority of them). UCF can’t say they didn’t know what was going on (way too long of a paper trail).
Update: UCF self-imposes sanctions for admittted NCAA violations.
3 years probation
Jones, O'Leary, and Tillis get letters of reprimand
Restrictions on recruiting evaluation days for football and men's basketball
Limits on number of official visits for football and men's basketball recruiting
Limits on number of football and men's basketball coaches off-campus recruiting at the same time
Loss of one men's basketball scholarship for two years
Jone and Tillis cannot get raises for two years
Even with these self-imposed sanctions, I have to think UCF is guilty of LOIC and failure to monitor. Even if Caldwell is proven not to be a runner for an agent, his actions and Tribble's actions are against NCAA rules. Tribble’s and Kelly’s resignations will help reduce further punishment, considering they were the main culprits in the most heinous of the allegations. UCF will most likely get 3-5 years probation, loss of scholarships in football (2-3/year for 2-3 years) and basketball (1-2/year for 2-3 years), pay a fine of some sort, vacate wins from men’s basketball, and maybe more. Potential penalties include postseason bans, TV bans, and restriction of the sport for one or two seasons (death penalty). I highly doubt either of the latter two because the main culprits have been dismissed and we have already taken some major reform steps. But it remains to be seen where UCF self-imposes and/or what the NCAA actions will be. We won’t know that until April.