ecord and ties to a prominent sports agency, assisted with UCF basketball coach Donnie Jones’ recruitment of high-profile athletes, according to a report in the New York Times.
The newspaper alleges Caldwell played a heavy role in the recruitment of Georgia star Kevin Ware, who is ranked the No. 18 shooting guard in the country by Rivals.com. The Times reports Ware backed out of his commitment to UCF after his family learned Caldwell had a shady background and arranged for UCF coaches to listen in on Caldwell’s conversation with Ware’s family.
The Times goes on to report Caldwell was involved with the recruitment of UCF signee Michael Chandler, who is rated the No. 4 center in the country, and the NCAA is currently investigating Chandler’s recruitment.
The newspaper also states Caldwell and former Louisville basketball player Brandon Bender, who has been trying to establish himself as a sports agent, were involved in the recruitment of four-star Louisville Seneca High quarterback DaMarcus Smith.
Smith signed a letter of intent to play for UCF, but has since requested a release from his letter. UCF coach George O’Leary said when Smith requested his release, his mother told the head coach he had changed his mind and wanted to play for the hometown Louisville Cardinals.
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O’Leary denied the request for a release and Smith indicated to Louisville media outlets he intended to appeal the decision.
Joe Hornstein, UCF associate athletic director for communication, reiterated the school’s statement to the New York Times when asked about the potential recruiting violations highlighted in the newspaper’s report.
“NCAA rules identify permissible recruiters,” Hornstein said in a statement released by UCF Athletics. “If there is information that indicates that other individuals are involved in recruiting activities, we will take corrective action.”
UCF was on probation from 2008 through 2010 for recruiting violations in the football program.
Former UCF recruiting administrator Ed Marynowitz and former director of player personnel Steve Rubio combined to place 209 improper phone calls and about 100 improper text messages to 27 football prospects and their parents, NCAA and UCF investigations found.
The violations, which occurred from June 2007 to January 2009, were discovered and self-reported by UCF officials. The NCAA agreed with UCF’s findings.
The NCAA announced the violations in February 2010 and indicated the school could face more stringent punishment if it has a major infraction in any sport during the next five years.
O’Leary, who prides himself on running a clean program, said when the NCAA phone call and text message infractions were first announced that he had no knowledge Marynowitz and Rubio violated the rules. He told the Orlando Sentinel he was “annoyed that something like this was happening on my watch.”