When Atlanta-area prospect Kevin Ware abruptly de-committed from Central Florida Thursday night, it raised a few eyebrows among college basketball onlookers.
The reason will raise a few red flags with the NCAA.
A report by the N.Y. Times’ Pete Thamel links Central Florida to Kenneth Caldwell, “a Chicago man with a substantial criminal record and apparent ties to a prominent sports agency.” Caldwell’s a guy who pushes recruits to UCF and violates numerous rules in the process.
This biggest potential violation could be if Caldwell connected potential recruits to Central Florida coaches, including head coach Donnie Jones. That’ll be on the NCAA’s radar, and then some.
Caldwell doesn’t see himself as a UCF advocate, but that’s hardly a surprise. What’s he’s done says the opposite.
Caldwell, based on interviews and a review of records, inhabits a murky but expanding corner of the college recruiting world. It is a place teeming with talented young athletes, agents eager to ingratiate themselves with those athletes, and a variety of characters, some known as runners, who often act as middlemen, moving between agents, universities and athletes.
Caldwell, based on interviews and a review of records, appears to fit the profile of a runner. He denies being a runner, but said if he were he would be “the best in the country, and you could not stop me.”
Oddly enough, Caldwell says he does just that on his LinkedIn page.
ASM Sports, an agency based in New Jersey and run by Andy Miller, denies Caldwell works for him, but Darryl Woods, listed on ASM’s web site as an associate with the agency, confirmed Caldwell did work for the agency, the paper reported. UCF didn’t comment directly on Caldwell, but did tell the paper that “If there is information that indicates that other individuals are involved in recruiting activities, we will take corrective action.”
More Caldwell details can be found in this Pat Forde article, including other players Caldwell’s potentially influenced, but nothing’s as damming as the potential NCAA violations from the N.Y. Times.
Now it’ll be interesting to see how quickly the NCAA reacts. And if UCF actually gets punished.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.