A police investigation in Columbus has uncovered alleged illegal activity in the parks and recreation department there that may or may not affect the eligibility of Georgia football player Jarvis Jones and basketball signee Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported Sunday that an unauthorized bank account controlled by the parks director and one of his associates was used to pay for flights to and from Los Angeles for Jones while he was playing football for Southern Cal, and for the cell phone bill of Caldwell-Pope’s mother. Both Jones and Caldwell-Pope played AAU basketball for the Georgia Blazers, a “city-funded, Nike-sponsored” group overseen by parks director Tony Adams and Herman Porter.
Adams allegedly used the team’s credit card to pay for four flights for Jones to or from Los Angeles worth a total of $828 from June to October of 2009, according to the police investigation. Also, police allege Porter paid the $280 Verizon phone bill of Rhonda Caldwell in July of 2009 with some of the money coming out of the team’s account.
Eric Baumgartner, Georgia’s compliance director, told the Ledger-Enquirer, “I have not received or heard of anything” from the NCAA regarding the matter.
Reached Sunday, athletic association spokesman Claude Felton told the AJC, “We are aware of it and will do our due diligence in looking into the matter.”
Jones, a sophomore linebacker out of Carver High, transferred to UGA last year and is slated to start at outside linebacker this season. Caldwell-Pope, a five-star shooting guard, signed with the Bulldogs out of Greenville High last November and is scheduled to enroll at UGA this summer.
Whether or not this activity would affect either players’ eligibility at UGA is unclear. The newspaper cited a similar case with a Baylor basketball this past spring. Forward Perry Jones was declared ineligible after an investigation determined that, while he was in high school, an AAU coach provided his mother with three 15-day loans that did not total more than $1,000 and paid for the player to travel to a preseason pro football game in San Diego, which cost $4,100. Perry Jones was suspended from Baylor’s first-round Big 12 tournament game the first five games of the 2011-2012 season.
CLICK HERE to read the full report from the Ledger-Enquirer. Check back for further developments.