ATHENS, Ga. - South Florida youth sports organizer Dan Calloway said he didn't know he was violating NCAA rules when he paid fees and expenses for five student-athletes to attend the University of Georgia's 1994 summer football camp and for three prospects to attend the 1994 Georgia-Vanderbilt game.
"It never entered my mind," Calloway said Friday in a telephone interview. "I wasn't paying their way as Dan Calloway. I'm an administrator for three youth sports organizations. That (sending youths to sports camps and colleges) is part of doing my job."
The university and the NCAA agree that Calloway's actions made him a representative of Georgia's athletic interests, but the two are at odds over the time frame.
The NCAA contended in its official letter of inquiry that Calloway became a Georgia athletics representative as early as 1993, when he allegedly offered cash, meals and other improper recruiting inducements to Belle Glade, Fla., student-athletes Reidel Anthony, Fred Taylor, Charles Daniels, Willie Jones and Gilbert Grantlin.
Georgia officials said Friday that Calloway didn't commit any violations until 1994, when he paid the way of Palm Beach County prospects Errick Lowe, James Jackson, Michael Smith, Robert Newkirk and Johnny Rutledge to attend Georgia's summer football camp.
Calloway admits he covered the costs of the summer football camp and provided transportation and spending money for Lowe, Newkirk and Smith to attend the Georgia-Vanderbilt football game. But Calloway said he never tried to steer the athletes to Georgia or to act as a representative of Georgia's athletic interests.
"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard," he said. "I've been sending kids to different camps for the last 20 years. If the Youth Recreation Association can't send these kids to camp, who can send them? Most of these kids' parents can't afford to send them to the camps."
Calloway said he has helped Palm Beach County student-athletes cover the costs of attending summer football camps at several Division I-A universities, including Miami, Florida State and Indiana. Calloway estimates he has provided financial aid to "hundreds" of college-bound athletes since he founded the Riviera Beach Youth Recreation Association in 1965. He said there are athletes enrolled at 20 different schools that he has provided assistance to, but he refuses to divulge their identities for fear their NCAA eligibility will be compromised.
"All I can say to you is 12 people may run a stop sign and only two may get charged with it," said Athens lawyer Ed Tolley, who is leading Georgia's internal investigation. "I cannot speak for the NCAA as to why similar investigations at other universities have not occurred."
NCAA Bylaws 6.4.2 and 13.02.12 define a representative of university athletic interests as an individual who:
Georgia officials say former assistant coach Frank Orgel may have had knowledge that Calloway paid for prospects to attend the school's football camp. The university contends the football coaching staff was unaware that Calloway had paid for three prospects' trip to the Georgia-Vanderbilt game.
"They (the NCAA) obviously look at the totality of the circumstances," Tolley said. "If you're giving a youngster money and sending him to a school, then the next test is did you ever talk to one of the coaches? Was the coach aware that you brought them up here? In our case, the coach (Orgel) did know that (Calloway) had sent them up there (to football camp). He never said otherwise. He just didn't understand that that implicated the athletic rep rule. I think that's reasonable on the coach's part. I think Dan Calloway was reasonable in his belief that he can do that."