UCF's Shady Street Agent Contagion: Could It Happen To You?

You might wonder: how contagious is having a potential runner attached to your up-and-coming basketball program when you consider it from the football program's perspective? Potentially very contagious, as the case of UCF and one Ken Caldwell is showing.

UCF's story became national news earlier this week when both the New York Times and ESPN detailed the relationship between UCF and Ken Caldwell, a 42 year old man who described himself as "Wes without the mess," a reference to the mysterious and powerful basketball power broker William Wesley.

Caldwell was instrumental in the recruitment of two basketball players to UCF. This would be fine if these sort of activities weren't explicitly against the code of amateurism occasionally enforced by the NCAA, especially Caldwell's alleged indirect referencing of prominent agents he knew to these recruits. With agent contact being a particular area of focus for the NCAA this year, an investigation of some sort was only a matter of time, especially for a school like UCF that previously had little recruiting success in basketball. 

This has spread a bit to football, however, in the form of quarterback Demarcus Smith. Smith, originally a Louisville signee, flipped late in the recruiting process and signed with UCF. Ken Caldwell was heavily involved in this process according to these reports. Smith then later reneged on his Letter of intent, and asked UCF coach George O'Leary for a release from his LOI. O'Leary has denied that request to this point, and Smith is petitioning for a release from that LOI.

So what does this mean for UCF? Little at this point, though the NCAA's interest in UCF as a whole has been confirmed, so there is always the potential for sanctions if--and only if--anything sketchy about Caldwell's involvement in the recruiting process can be substantiated. It also means that you probably shouldn't ever expect George O'Leary to be cool about cancelling anything, since he appears to be the AT&T of college football service providers. (That contract is going to be hell to get out of, you see.)

Meanwhile, Louisville football appears ready to take Smith back whenever he's ready as long as he's clean of NCAA trouble and ready to come home.

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