Ken Caldwell, the man at the center of the events that led the NCAA to levy harsh penalties against the UCF program, released a video Wednesday in response to those sanctions in an attempt to explain it all in his own words.
Like any other thesis-driven proof, Caldwell’s YouTube video, “The Truth Part 1,” laid out his mission statement within the first minute:
“To show how the NCAA unfairly, unjustly accused myself and others of being a part of a fold, in cahoots, whatever you want to call it.”
Oddly enough, though, he then goes on, almost immediately, to acknowledge that he has ties to a sports agency and the UCF program, often telling recruits how great a place UCF is and that he gave money to former UCF guard AJ Rompza.
Caldwell even goes as far as to say that he is a “second dad” to Rompza.
But this is the core of the fallacy in Caldwell’s overall argument: When he hyped his video pre-release on Twitter saying he had “proof,” it led at least me, and probably others, to believe there might be something substantial there to hold against the NCAA, but nine minutes proved that there was not.
Those nine minutes were used to make a play toward the emotions of the viewer about the way the NCAA functions, which really has no impact on the series of steps it used to rule on the UCF case.
Caldwell does not make the distinction between the argument that he was being wrongly accused by the NCAA and the argument that the bylaws of the NCAA, themselves, are unjust.
This post isn’t validating and defending the way the NCAA functions, for I have a long list of criticisms for that institution, but Caldwell’s video, framed as an attempt to vindicate himself, was really only another criticism (granted, a poorly executed one) of the internal workings of the NCAA.
Serious questions need to be asked about the business model of the NCAA, the way money flows work, and the right of players to personally capitalize on their abilities, but this plea by Caldwell does not do that.
“If your second father cannot give you money, then who can?” he asks rhetorically. “It’s a violation for someone to give..someone that you love or someone that you care about money? That’s a violation to say that you can’t, in my world.”
The NCAA doesn’t play by the rules of your world, Mr. Caldwell, and now the UCF program is finding that out.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_