UCF Responds to NCAA Allegations by Strengthening 'Commitment to Compliance'
University of Central Florida Director of Athletics Keith Tribble resigned today following the receipt of an NCAA report about violations in the football and men’s basketball programs.
Additionally, assistant football coach David Kelly also resigned, and UCF suspended men’s basketball coach Donnie Jones for three conference games without pay and will issue him an official letter of reprimand.
The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations reported multiple violations and specifically cited Tribble and Kelly for unethical conduct when meeting with NCAA investigators. They will have the opportunity to personally challenge those allegations to the NCAA.
“The strengthening of UCF’s commitment to compliance with the NCAA starts today,” UCF President John C. Hitt said. “These are serious charges that are as unacceptable to me as I am sure they are to all of our fans. I expect our Athletics leadership to set the standard for compliance, and that is not what took place.
“I thank former AD Tribble and former assistant coach Kelly for their many positive contributions to UCF and wish them well in the future.”
UCF cooperated fully with the NCAA during its investigation, which does not involve football coach George O’Leary or any sports beyond football and men’s basketball.
“As the program’s head coach, I accept responsibility for mistakes when they occur,” Jones said. “I respect Dr. Hitt and the University of Central Florida and believe the decision in this case is fair. I look forward to representing UCF in a positive manner on and off the court.
“Out of respect for the NCAA process, I will not discuss these issues further until their resolution.”
Conference USA and the Big East are aware of the ongoing NCAA investigation, and the report will not impact conference realignment prospects.
UCF will immediately begin a national search for its new director of Athletics. Tribble and Kelly had been with UCF since 2006.
Hitt appointed Al Harms, UCF’s vice president for Strategy, Marketing, Communications and Admissions, as interim director of Athletics. Harms, a retired Navy vice admiral, previously served as interim director of Athletics in 2006. Among other duties, he currently oversees UCF football game day operations.
“Admiral Harms is a leader of extraordinary integrity who has my complete confidence,” Hitt said. “No one is better suited to begin this rebuilding process.”
Said Harms: “During this transition, I know our employees will continue their exceptional support of the more than 500 dedicated student-athletes who call UCF home. We will conduct our business in a manner that is consistent with our program goals, our high standards of professional and personal conduct and our responsibilities to the NCAA.”
The NCAA provides institutions 90 days to respond to the allegations. During this time, UCF will further review the report to determine how to move forward. As part of that review, the university will consider possible institutional penalties that could be self-imposed.
“To our fans, I pledge this: UCF will address these problems in a clear, consistent, and just manner,” Hitt said.
Strengthening a ‘Commitment to Compliance’
Today, the university is beginning a comprehensive review of the Athletics Association, the goal of which is to help the university strengthen its commitment to compliance with the NCAA.
Although this work will begin immediately, there is no timeline for its completion. However, due to the nature of the NCAA allegations, UCF is immediately requiring that the Athletics Association’s compliance office report to the university’s chief compliance and ethics officer, as well as to the director of Athletics.
Additionally, to ensure that Knights fans, the university and local communities and media receive accurate and timely information about Athletics, all Athletics communications will be overseen by the university. Specifically for media, inquires about Athletics should be directed to Associate Vice President Grant J. Heston and the Office of News and Information.
“These decisions are in the best interest of the university, and I fully support them,” said Michael Grindstaff, chair of the UCF Board of Trustees. “Our actions will help us strengthen our athletics program and continue the success the Knights have enjoyed in the classroom and on the field.”
A link to the complete NCAA report can be found here.
To ensure compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the names of students and prospective students have been redacted from the report.