Central Florida used convicted felon with agent ties to recruit Kevin Ware, alleges report (UPDATED)

Kevin Ware 2

Central Florida violated NCAA rules in the recruitment of Kevin Ware, alleges the New York Times. What's Ware's reaction? His family confirmed to the AJC on Friday night that they had read the article and declined to comment, other than to text, "We appreciate those who have shown support." (Special)

Kevin Ware called the AJC on Thursday night to announce abruptly that he was de-committing from Central Florida because of reasons he would not fully disclose.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on right now, personal stuff that I don’t really want to speak about right now,” said Ware, the 6-foot-4 guard from Rockdale County High School who is ranked as the No. 56 college basketball prospect in the nation by Rivals.

Now we now what the “personal stuff” was.

The New York Times released an article on Friday that alleges Kenneth Caldwell, who has a criminal record and ties to a sport agency, assisted with the recruitment of basketball and football recruits to UCF, including Ware.

Ware’s family confirmed to the AJC on Friday night that they had read the article and declined to comment, other than to text, “We appreciate those who have shown support.”

Back to the NY Times — Here’s an excerpt of the article (click here to read full article):

Central Florida, it turns out, had an ally in its recruitment of Ware: Kenneth Caldwell, a Chicago man with a substantial criminal record and apparent ties to a prominent sports agency. Ware said Caldwell called him repeatedly to talk up Central Florida, traveled to Atlanta to meet with his family and even arranged joint phone conversations with the university’s basketball coach, Donnie Jones, and his staff — contact prohibited by the N.C.A.A.

“He was pushing for U.C.F.,” Ware said of Caldwell in a telephone interview Thursday.

Informed of Caldwell’s background, Ware on Thursday said he would not attend Central Florida.

Ware is one of three highly regarded recruits who had some dealings with Caldwell and who then decided in recent months to commit to Central Florida, a degree of recruiting success that baffled many people involved in college sports.

Then there’s reaction from Central Florida, reported by the Orlando Sentinel (click here for full article)

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.

Then on Sunday, there was more reaction from Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi (click here for full column):

Here’s the question: Are [UCF coach Donnie Jones] and his staff in violation of NCAA rules or are the big boys jealous that this upstart coach at this wannabe program is beating them at their own dirty game? If Jones is guilty of blatant cheating, he should be reprimanded or fired. If he’s simply angling in the same murky cesspool as the BCS schools and pulling out his legal share of big fish then he should get a raise.

Back to Ware: On Thursday, after de-committing from Central Florida, Ware said he was interested in any program that was interested in him. He listed Louisville and UGA as his frontrunners. However, Ware said did not know if either school had reciprocal interest. (Go here to read more)

Check back for updates.

RELATED: Georgia Tech has its own recruiting soap opera — the ACC school said Friday it did not release “mystery basketball recruit Bobby Parks Jr., pending further investigation (Click here to read the full article)

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog


Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com — Inappropriate BLOG comments will NOT be tolerated

Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC

41 comments Add your comment

Dawg Man

April 30th, 2011
12:20 am

I’ve read everything and there’s nothing I can see that Kevin Ware did wrong, although I’m not sure why his family let this shady character around him. Then again, that’s the world of AAU basketball. I do find it very, very interesting that Georgia Tech’s own George O’Leary somehow may be connected in this big mess at UCF lololololol.

K-Ware, sign with the Dawgs!


April 30th, 2011
12:24 am

YES!! Now who wants this kid. If CMF is smart he will let Ware pass on to someone else…Obviously Cent. FL has been to the O’Leary school of expounding on the truth.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]


April 30th, 2011
6:09 am

This whole ordeal is fishy. UCF has been recruiting just fine in football and basketball. Why would UCF coaches need some two-bit hustler? It sounds like these families got caught up in Caldwell’s smooth talk. Donnie told the Ware’s he wasn’t affiliated with Caldwell. Until proven otherwise, there’s no reason not to believe DJ.

Going by the NY Times article, it sounds like this Caldwell guy is a compulsive liar and wanna-be agent. He’s just trying to make a name for himself. The article shows Caldwell’s lies and exaggerations.

UCF needs to come out and set the record straight, if they have no connection to this guy.


April 30th, 2011
6:56 am

Why would the NCAA allow schools to use outside agencies to recruit? Who is the agency that K Caldwell works for and why would they hire him? Are their others like him out there recruiting? There are a lot of unanswered questions.


April 30th, 2011
6:58 am

Gee, after reading this, I just don’t understand why people have lost interest in basketball.


April 30th, 2011
6:59 am

I like both U of L and UGA and I have mixed emotions about Ware going to either school. All the drama, illegal recruiting, flipping, etc., has left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. This kid should pick a school, enroll, and keep a low profile for a while.

Recrootin' DAwG

April 30th, 2011
7:30 am

Tony Cole, Jim Harrick, Jan Kemp, the Bagman…the list goes on and on


April 30th, 2011
8:45 am

Very strange odyssey with Kevin Ware’s recruitment. Committed to Bruce Pearl at Tennessee since his sophomore year. Then de-committs after Pearl’s firing and now behaves like a fickle 8th grade girl. With this latest revelation of the involvement of this Caldwell character and UCF, will Ware become damaged goods and disappear from the D1 radar?


April 30th, 2011
9:06 am

Got to be some money changing hands somewhere – is Cecil Newton involved?

Destin Dawg

April 30th, 2011
9:24 am

too much pressure on these 17 year old H. S. kids….


April 30th, 2011
9:36 am

“Why would the NCAA allow schools to use outside agencies to recruit?”
Calipari and World Wide Wes wonder the same thing. Then, they shrug their shoulders and get back to buying more players and fixing more grades.

No Biggy

April 30th, 2011
9:54 am

Of this sort of thing happened at Kentucky, the kid would be quickly be
cleared there tomorrow and World Wide Wes and Calipari would
get another rai$e.


April 30th, 2011
10:02 am

Did you mean to write UGA in the last sentence and not central Florida? The article may be incorrect.


April 30th, 2011
11:24 am

And do you have proof that Calipari is doing that at UK No Biggy? Or is it just biting you in the a$$ he roped in another ranked top 5 class again.


April 30th, 2011
11:36 am

The irony in this entire saga is the article mentions 3 players who committed to UCF: Ware, Michael Chandler, and QB Damarcus Smith (all of them big time 4 star elite athletes in their respective sport). The one commonality with them? Louisville was heavily recruiting each of these kids. I think more than anything, L’ville was pissed they were losing out to UCF with their recruits and some booster with connections to a NY Times writer decided they were going to cash in a favor.

It’s easy to see Louisville’s interests are being pushed in the article.


April 30th, 2011
11:46 am

Looks UCF is becoming another Auburn they both have shady boosters .


April 30th, 2011
2:57 pm

ESPN has a more in depth interview with actual responses from Donnie Jones. I don’t blame DJ for not wanting to talk to the NY Times. It’s a smear article… plain and simple. Apparently Caldwell’s son goes to UCF and he promotes UCF as any father of a student would. The question is, whether he’s going too far. If so, UCF needs to say “thanks, but no thanks” if this guy is crossing the line.


I also find it ironic that after the good publicity and strong recruiting campaigns of UCF… not all the sudden their having to use a wanna-be agent. I’m sorry.. but this whole scandal wreaks of Loserville.


April 30th, 2011
3:00 pm

Oh, and great title AJC. Nothing like slandering a school in a headline without any proof that UCF even “used” this guy. Gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with UGA and UCF crossing paths lately.

Journalism at it’s finest.

Satchel Buzz

April 30th, 2011
3:24 pm

@ Dawg Man,…I realize why you would make up accusations about Coach O’Leary,….he did whip up on ugag a few months ago. Back at you moron.



April 30th, 2011
3:27 pm

John Cannon C from North Carolina picks UGA Fox is loading up on big men Go Dawgs .


April 30th, 2011
3:29 pm

Satchel Buzz UCF did not whip UGA we lost by 4 points not as embarrassing Tech loosing to Air Force .


April 30th, 2011
3:39 pm

Please explain to me how the title is slander? AJC didn’t say UCF was guilty in that title. “A report by the NY Times said they used a felon”. Another paper accused UCF, that’s a FACT…

The funny thing?

April 30th, 2011
4:00 pm

“U” ga brings in criminals to recruit. How much did those recruits steal from “U”ga lockers? Richt has no comment…..because he still wants to offer!


April 30th, 2011
5:21 pm

Who really cares? And why am I even responding to this blog??


April 30th, 2011
7:14 pm

I work at Kevin’s school, and he is a very nice young man. Displays great character. It was upsetting to read people on the previous blog bashing Kevin – an eighteen year old. As if they knew because he backed out of his UCF commitment that he was a no-good person with character problems.

Whoever Kevin signs with will be getting a great player and a great young man.


April 30th, 2011
7:43 pm

Delete my FIRST from last night at 12:20am and rob me of the honor… real classy AJC. And you wonder why people don’t trust journalist these days


April 30th, 2011
10:44 pm

Please no more talk about UCF, my beehonkey is still sore.

Pull My Finger

April 30th, 2011
11:31 pm

It won’t be long before UCF has no basketball or football programs………Wow!


May 1st, 2011
3:26 am

This new twist to the recruiting mess that Ware is going through simply adds to my belief that the NCAA needs to regain control.It seems that there is something major wrong with the process when there is either a scandal or report of illegal tactics involved in so many cases. There is enough blame to go around for everyone involved including the colleges, media, players/families and the fans.


May 1st, 2011
11:27 am


May 1st, 2011
12:08 pm

gee….a kid from Georgia goes to UCF from influence from a guy in Chicago- anyone know (wink) if anyone on UCFs team has connections to Chicago???????????


May 1st, 2011
1:54 pm

The main 2 avenues are recruiting violations come to light.
1) Self reported by the University
2) Turned into the NCAA by another school recruiting the same kid (ahem… Loserville)

This same thing happened to Donnie Jones when he was at UF. Kansas turned them in.

“Donovan beat Kansas for Mike Miller, one of the top high school recruits in the country. Then-Kansas coach Roy Williams was so enraged he was beat on a recruit by this upstart “Billy the Kid” from some football school in Florida that he publicly accused Donovan of cheating and reported UF to the NCAA. After a 10-month investigation, the NCAA cleared the Gators.”


Reality Bites

May 1st, 2011
8:14 pm

NCAA where the F r u? Kevin needs ur help. As a Tech fan, I would much rather see this local kid end up instate(cough cough gag gag) than be the pawn of Pitino and his ilk. Who is watching the store here?


May 1st, 2011
9:31 pm

I’m pi$$ed Michael that you include GT in an article about a convicted felon. That is low! (Not that the AJC was high in my ethical list anyway).


May 2nd, 2011
8:15 am

Now you see why basketball has lost its charm. Not to mention its fans.


May 2nd, 2011
9:38 am

Somehow, someway, Calapari is involved and must be investigated. He is a cheater way worse than Pearl, yet the NCAA turns a blind eye…


May 2nd, 2011
9:53 am

Now that Osama Obama is dead, I must see a DEATH CERTIFICATE………………………..

Notre Dame

May 2nd, 2011
2:31 pm

UCF was on probation from 2008 through 2010 for recruiting violations in the football program.
Hmm, maybe they should review Coach O’Liar’s resume again?


May 2nd, 2011
2:50 pm

Deans List

May 2nd, 2011
5:33 pm

Kid aint smart enough to get into UGA!