Jump to content

NCAA to investigate Memphis


Recommended Posts

NCAA to investigate Memphis booster's phone call

When Oseye Gaddy placed down the phone at her desk, she was unable to contain her excitement. She had just gotten off the phone with the CEO of her company. Out of 190,000 employees throughout the world, FedEx Express president and CEO David Bronczek, one of the company's most influential executives, had chosen to reach out to an ordinary customer service representative, working across the country in Tacoma, Wash.

But Gaddy is hardly your average customer service rep these days. She's also the mother of one of the most highly-sought-after and uncommitted basketball recruits in the country, Abdul Gaddy. And Bronczek is not merely a CEO. He is also a booster of the University of Memphis basketball program.

And according to an NCAA source, their brief conversation has led to an NCAA investigation.

Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson told FOXSports.com on Thursday afternoon he was "unaware of the call" but acknowledged that Bronczek was a booster and said "we'll absolutely look into it."

They won't be the only ones.

"We're aware of the issue," said Stacey Osburn, NCAA associate director of public and media relations.

Shortly after this report was published Thursday afternoon, Memphis reported the possible violation to the NCAA, according to The Associated Press.

The call from Bronczek came earlier this month and lasted approximately 10 minutes. Oseye Gaddy also told FOXSports.com that she received the call just a few days after the family was contacted by Tigers coach John Calipari, who is actively recruiting Abdul Gaddy. Calipari was at a basketball camp Thursday and repeated attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.

Bronczek belongs to the exclusive 32-member Ambassador's Athletic Foundation, in which each member has donated at least $500,000 to the Memphis program and many have given in excess of $1 million.

He is a "representative of an institution's athletic interests" or a "booster" due to his involvement as a member of the Ambassador's Athletic Foundation — an agency that promotes an athletic program. Bronczek is also on the Tiger Athletic Advisory Board of Directors, which assists the athletic department in all aspects of fund raising.

"He's absolutely a booster, there's no question about it," Johnson said of Bronczek.

NCAA rules state that "a representative of athletic interests" is someone who has participated in or is a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution's athletics program or who has made financial contributions to the athletics department or to an athletics booster organization of that institution.

Rule in the NCAA Division I Manual also states that "Representatives of an institution's athletics interests are prohibited from making telephonic communications with a prospective student-athlete or the prospective student-athlete's relatives or legal guardians."

"I wasn't aware of it and of course I'm concerned," Johnson said. "We try very hard because our basketball program is so high profile. The higher you go, the less wiggle room you have."

"Certainly I don't condone it," Johnson added. "But Dave's one of the real good ones. Oh yes, we'll absolutely look into it."

FedEx director of communications Maury Lane said of Bronczek: "Certainly he regrets the fact he put himself, the company and the university in a bad light. But he had the right intentions. His conversation was congratulatory."

Lane said that Bronczek was unaware of the rules, adding that Bronczek also indicated that Calipari had not urged him to make the call.

"Now he wishes he'd have taken a different tack," Lane said.

Oseye Gaddy certainly wasn't expecting a call from Bronczek, with whom she hadn't spoken previously in her 11 years with the company.

Memphis head coach John Calipari attended several of Abdul Gaddy's games at the Reebok Big Time AAU tournament in Las Vegas. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)

"I was screaming and telling everyone about it," she said.

When the secretary notified Gaddy that Bronczek was on the phone, Gaddy said she "was a little nervous."

Recalling the conversation while watching her son play in a tournament in Las Vegas last week, Oseye Gaddy told FOXSports.com, "I was like, 'Why would he want to talk to me?' But the whole time he talked to me, he talked about my son.

"He was just talking to me a little bit about (John) Calipari and the program and then he was telling me about The FedEx Forum and how he goes to a lot of games and sits on the floor," she added. "How Calipari is a really nice guy."

Regardless of Bronczek's intentions, the contact has brought the Memphis program under NCAA scrutiny.

Asked for a clarification of the rule, NCAA spokesperson Osburn said, "It is against NCAA rules for a representative of athletic interests or a booster to make a telephone call to a prospective student-athlete or their family during the recruiting process."

According to NCAA rule 13.01.1, the communication between Bronczek and Oseye Gaddy could also result in Abdul Gaddy becoming ineligible to play for Memphis:

"The recruitment of a student-athlete by a member institution or any representative of its athletic interests in violation of the Association's legislation, as acknowledged by the institution or established through the Association's enforcement procedures, shall result in the student-athlete becoming ineligible to represent that institution in intercollegiate athletics. The Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement may restore the eligibility of a student involved in such a violation only when circumstances clearly warrant restoration."

Memphis plays its home games at the FedEx Forum. Bronczek isn't the only Memphis booster that holds a powerful position at FedEx. In fact, FedEx CEO and founder Fred Smith is one of two original members of the Ambassador's Club.

Abdul Gaddy, a Bellarmine High (Tacoma, Wash.) standout, gave Arizona a verbal commitment nearly a year ago, but re-opened his recruitment this past May after all three Wildcats assistant coaches left the program. While playing in a tournament in Las Vegas this week, Gaddy said that Memphis and Arizona are among about a dozen schools he is currently considering.

Scout.com ranks Gaddy as the No. 2 point guard and ninth player overall in the country.

Calipari was at several of Gaddy's games earlier this week at the Reebok Big Time AAU tournament in Las Vegas. Memphis is also recruiting the nation's top-ranked point guard, John Wall, out of North Carolina. However, Wall's AAU coach, Dwon Clifton, is expected to take a position on the Baylor staff later this week and the Bears, according to sources, could receive a verbal commitment from Wall as early as next week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...