Kentucky denies payment for recruit

Updated: August 6, 2010, 7:35 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The University of Kentucky issued a statement on Friday threatening legal action over a Chicago Sun-Times story claiming that recruit Anthony Davis negotiated a deal to receive $200,000 from someone who wanted him to commit to the school.

The intial Sun-Times story on Wednesday cited unidentified sources and stated:

"The rumors/sources that have Davis choosing Kentucky are also alleging that the commitment cost $200,000. [Anthony] Davis Sr. has flat out denied everything."

Kentucky responded in a statement.

"The University of Kentucky is dismayed by the continued lack of professionalism and responsible journalism exhibited by Michael O'Brien and the Chicago Sun-Times in running yet another false and defamatory story on August 6, 2010, regarding the University's recruitment of a high school student-athlete," the statement read. "Both the father of this student-athlete and the University have repeatedly told Mr. O'Brien that these unsubstantiated 'rumors' are untrue. Neither the University of Kentucky nor any member of its Athletic Department has offered or paid any money or other illegal benefits to the student-athlete or his family."

The school's statement goes on to say that Davis and/or the university may initiate legal proceedings.

"The University of Kentucky has put Mr. O'Brien and the Chicago Sun-Times on notice that these published statements are false and defamatory," the statement reads. "The University fully supports any action the student-athlete and his family may take against Mr. O'Brien and the Chicago Sun-Times. The University is also evaluating all available rights and remedies it may have against Mr. O'Brien and the Chicago Sun-Times in responding to these false and defamatory statements."

The father of the 6-foot-10 Davis told multiple media outlets that his son, who is in the Class of 2011, had decided which school he wanted to attend, but he did not reveal his decision. Davis had flown under the radar at Perspectives, a Chicago public charter school, and then burst onto the national scene due to his AAU performances.

The initial Sun-Times story also cited unidentified sources in saying that the NCAA was "checking" into the recruitment of Davis. Kentucky said this was a mischaracterization of the situation.

"The University of Kentucky spoke with David Price, NCAA Vice President of Enforcement, who advised that the NCAA contacted Mr. O'Brien simply to inquire as to the alleged sources for his article and that 'this in no way confirms an NCAA investigation of the University' or an examination of the recruitment of the named student-athlete. It is the University's understanding that such an inquiry represents the NCAA's normal procedure any time allegations of misconduct are made, no matter how outrageous or unsubstantiated they may be."

Despite Kentucky's statement, the Sun-Times stood by its story on Friday, and even elaborated:

"Sources from three separate universities told the Sun-Times that Davis Sr. asked for money in return for his son's commitment, with the amounts ranging from $125,000 to $150,000."

The newspaper reached out to an attorney for the family.

''Mr. Davis has not asked any university or college for any commitment fee for his son, nor has anything been offered to him or Mrs. Davis,'' Georgette L. Greenlee wrote Thursday, according to the Sun-Times.