NCAA contacts UCF on recruiting

May, 4, 2011
5/04/11
11:09
AM ET
The NCAA has contacted the UCF compliance office following two reports that questioned its recruiting practices.

The New York Times and ESPN.com both reported on ties between Ken Caldwell and men's basketball coach Donnie Jones and football coach George O'Leary. Caldwell reportedly represents a sports agency.

Athletic director Keith Tribble finally spoke on the matter, telling The Orlando Sentinel that he trusts his coaches.

"I feel very comfortable their recruiting practices are in accordance with the conference and NCAA and so-forth," Tribble told the newspaper. "... Based on what I've seen and what I know about both of those programs -- all of our programs -- we stress compliance. We stress compliance. It's a thing that has to be done each and every day."

The school is conducting its own internal investigation into the allegations of improper recruiting. The two reports allege that Caldwell had connections with UCF recruits Michael Chandler and Kevin Ware, and quarterback DaMarcus Smith. Caldwell reportedly arranged a phone call between Ware and Jones, a violation of NCAA rules.

Chandler and Smith signed with UCF, but Ware backtracked from his verbal commitment. Smith has asked for his release, but O'Leary denied his request.

Caldwell also has ties with current UCF basketball player A.J. Rompza. Both are from Chicago. Tribble told the Sentinel he met Caldwell when he came along with Rompza on his recruiting visit to Orlando. Tribble said Caldwell claimed to be a father figure to the player. Caldwell has denied any wrongdoing.

"We take any allegation of potential impropriety -- or in this case alleged recruiting violations -- we take that seriously," Tribble said. "We have a culture of compliance here. And we will make sure that we do the necessary things ... to fact-find. We gather information and we will run the right gamuts with our conference, with the NCAA, with whomever to show that we're doing the things right."

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