UPDATE (4:30pm Tuesday) - University of Louisville Senior Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations Kenny Klein has told WDRB Sports that UofL has looked into any potential NCAA violations involving Kevin Ware's use of the Dodge Challenger he was driving when he was cited for speeding and reckless driving.
"Our compliance director, John Carnes, has done his due diligence and is confident there are no NCAA issues involved in Kevin's use of his friend's car."
Ware's traffic court date was rescheduled to Monday and his basketball eligibility is not in question.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A day after Kevin Ware missed a court date in Barren County for speeding and reckless driving, there still are more questions than answers. At the end of University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino's news conference Monday afternoon, one question provided an unexpected finale. Pitino was asked about a missed court date for a Ware speeding violation. Pitino, apparently unaware of the court date or the speeding ticket, said that he was not concerned.
Ware's celebrity profile, however, makes everything he does a concern. Within hours, the story was being carried on some national web outlets, and getting a closer look from reporters.
A rundown of the story's "legs" this morning, and what it could mean for Ware and the Cardinals.
1). On the issue of speeding, Ware's bigger problem probably isn't with the courts. His court appearance in Barren County for speeding and reckless driving, 95 miles per hour in a work zone, has been rescheduled for Monday and the matter likely can be disposed of by paying a fine and perhaps some kind of traffic education. Ware's bigger problem may be with his coach. Ware, if appearances are to be believed, left Pitino and U of L's sports information office in the dark on this development. When Pitino was asked about it in his Monday press conference, he only was given the information "speeding ticket." He wasn't told the speed or other details when he made a comment about not being concerned.
It's stupid and reckless to drive 40 miles per hour over the posted speed, even at 11 p.m. I'm not going to ask for a show of hands, however, for those of us who have done it. A year ago, I was driving a promotional car for WDRB. A Camaro. Let's just say those things can get up there pretty quickly. You have to watch it. You're no less responsible when the engine has more horsepower. The citation listed the speed limit as 45 miles per hour through the work zone on I-65, but the Kentucky State Police officer listed the posted speed limit as 55 in his report, and that is the speed you're held to. Regardless, Ware didn't protest, was polite to the officer while pulled over, there were no other complications, and life went on. Until Ware didn't show up for court.
Like I said, reckless and stupid. Also reckless and stupid, hanging your coach out to dry on what would become a story of some significance. Not only was Pitino apparently blindsided, but the gas pedal was mashed on the story.
2). Ware has talked in the offseason about wanting to get back to normal. For him, that does not exist. The rest of us can get speeding tickets, even miss a court date, without having it make headlines. He cannot. He may not like it, but whatever he does is going to be covered in a big way -- for good and for ill. You take the positive stories, you take the negative.
Getting a speeding ticket doesn't make you a bad person. Thank goodness. But neither is it something you shrug off, especially at 40 miles an hour over the limit. It's something you pay attention to and accept the consequences of, particularly if your celebrity has exploded in the past year. But for Ware, that's only part of the consequence.
3). The bigger part of the story involves the car Ware was driving, a 2013 Dodge Challenger, ownership of which has been claimed by Matt Case, a 23-year-old graduate and/or student at the University of Louisville. He told The Courier-Journal he's an undergraduate. His Facebook page says he graduated. Doesn't really matter. More on that in a bit. He's listed as a business partner of Joey Wagner in Eventris, an event management company that has been involved in sponsoring university events. Wagner is well-known to U of L fans and, in fact, handles interviews during timeouts at U of L football and basketball games, and is broadcast on the jumbotrons at each. Case took to Twitter yesterday after questions arose over his ownership of the car Ware was driving, saying, "If you know me, then you also know me and Kevin are best friends and that I'm a current student at U of L, borrowing my car is a crime?"
Well, yes. maybe. Even if Case had been friends with Ware from the day he stepped on campus, he's on shaky ground lending the player his car. Now, if the two were childhood friends, the lending his car to Ware likely would be fine, since he could say their relationship existed before Ware was a basketball star. Otherwise, it's an NCAA issue of interest.
More questions will be asked. Did Case lend his car to other players? What else might he have done? His Facebook page is full of photos of himself with other current or past U of L players. His Twitter feed has been locked. These are questions U of L no doubt will be compelled to pose in the next few days.
4). So what does that mean? Hard to say. If it can only be documented that Ware borrowed the car once or twice, depending on what circumstances U of L and the NCAA find, he might have to sit for a game or two. Or, the NCAA could allow him to pay the amount a rental would have cost and reinstate him without missing any games. It's up to their enforcement division.
From an operations standpoint, U of L now will have to have its compliance people look into the matter, interview Case and others, and compile a report for the NCAA, including whether it believes violations were committed, and what corrective actions or penalties it sees fit. From that, the enforcement office will advise U of L on whether a violation has occurred, and whether it accepts U of L's proposed actions.
At the moment, nothing more than a secondary violation would seem to have been alleged. But the story is literally hours old. There's no way of knowing. And to predict how the NCAA will react to something is foolish. There are so many intricate details that to say something is a big deal, or is nothing, is not responsible. Johnny Manziel's autograph issue looked like a big deal. He got a half-game suspension. North Carolina's P.J. Hairston, with two speeding incidents and another traffic arrest on a charge that later was dismissed, is still awaiting clearance while the NCAA looks into matters surrounding the cars he was driving. Something more could come of it. It's also possible nothing more could come of it.
But as Ware is learning, a seemingly simple story can accelerate as quickly as a Dodge Challenger, and can hang around far longer than a speeding ticket.
Drive carefully. More details as they become available.