UCF athletic director resigns following NCAA investigation

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Keith Tribble (left) resigned; Al Harms is the interim athletics director (UCF photos)

The University of Central Florida has a football game and men’s basketball game this weekend, but their athletic director won’t be in attendance at either game.

UCF president Dr. John Hitt announced today the resignations of athletic director Keith Tribble and assistant football coach David Kelly, following an investigation by the NCAA.

In an investigation by NCAA officials, it was found that UCF recruiter and “runner” Kenneth Caldwell improperly recruited six basketball players and five football players. The NCAA investigators also found Tribble and Kelly to have been in contact with Caldwell.

The NCAA reported that Caldwell not only paid for the tuition of some students, but he also supplied them with gifts.

Hitt named Al Harms, one of his special assistants, interim athletics director.

In addition to the resignations of Tribble and Kelly, men’s basketball head coach Donnie Jones has been suspended by UCF for three conference games. Hitt made it clear that Jones will not be fired as a result.

“I’m glad we worked out an agreement with Coach Jones,” said Hitt. “I think he’s a great coach and I wish him success this year.”

As a result of the investigation, senior basketball player A.J. Rompza has been suspended indefinitely until his eligibility questions have been answered.

“Only one of the 11 athletes ever played one minute for us,” said Hitt. “This isn’t a case of we went out and got our star players improperly.”

Head football coach George O’Leary was not mentioned in the NCAA report, as it appears he had no knowledge of the situation.

Hitt assured the UCF community that the investigation will not hinder the athletic program’s transition into the Big East Conference. UCF is expected to accept a bid into the major conference later this week.

UCF has been, and will remain, cooperative with the NCAA, according to Hitt. They plan to comply with any actions and requests made by the NCAA.

“This has basically been a joint investigation by the NCAA and UCF,” said Hitt. “And we plan to continue with full cooperation.”