Central Florida’s scrambling to handle allegations of NCAA recruiting violations regarding basketball prospects Michael Chandler and Kevin Ware and football prospect DeMarcus Smith.
The school issued a standard statement on Monday:
“We take the current allegations of NCAA violations very seriously,” associate director of athletics for communications Joe Hornstein said in a statement on the allegations. “Our review of this matter began immediately upon receiving notice. It is premature for us to provide comment regarding these allegations at this time, without having the opportunity to thoroughly and completely review the facts. Following our review we will appropriately address this matter.”
Probably should’ve stuck with that and called it a day. Because once athletic director Kevin Tribble finally commented on the school’s relationship with alleged runner Ken Caldwell, things were less helpful for the school’s overall image. From the Orlando Sentinel’s Q&A:
On whether he had ever met Ken Caldwell:
Tribble: “Obviously he said he was part of [junior A.J.] Rompza’s official visit. As is the case, I generally meet a lot of people on official visits. He was one of them I met on the official visit. I know that he was with Rompza and that he was from Chicago.”
On whether he communicated with Caldwell beyond polite interaction and was he around the program a lot:
Tribble: “I think he came to campus a lot because of Rompza. He had that whole kind of Chicago connection. … So he had an opportunity to be here and visit with those, represented that he was a father figure to [Rompza]. A guy who had been with [Rompza] for a long period of time. So he came out to visit. The guy has proclaimed that he fell in love with this university. As I said earlier, it’s not hard to when you come here — especially from Chicago to here.”
The oddest part? Tribble used to follow Caldwell on Twitter, but he tried to plead ignorance as to why. (The AD no longer has a Twitter account.) Also from the Sentinel:
UCF Athletic Director Keith Tribble said he in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel he is still learning how to use Twitter and wasn’t closely monitoring the accounts he was following.
Here’s a thought: Let Hornstein handle the media requests until the investigation is complete. Might be best for your job security.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.