University, Authorities Consider Action Against Impostor
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ An Impostor on the Roster. The Immaculate Deception.
Whatever you call it, 30-year-old Ron Weaver’s ability to change his identity and gain additional college football eligibility at Texas has authorities and school officials considering legal action.
Texas officials said Tuesday they’ll likely hire a private investigator to look into the matter and may sue Weaver for the cost of his scholarship.
Federal authorities say they also want to question Weaver.
``If he has defrauded the university, he could be facing potential mail and wire fraud and Social Security violations,″ said Ron Sievert, who heads the U.S. attorney’s office in Austin. ``When we determine all the facts, we will make a decision.″
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said he notified the NCAA Tuesday that Weaver, a backup cornerback who saw limited action for the Longhorns this season, had been kicked off the team and declared ineligible.
``We’re still outraged about this hoax,″ Dodds said. ``Right now there are more questions than answers.
``We will pursue every trail, including possible criminal action, to help the appropriate authorities get to the bottom of this. We owe that to our faculty, students, coaches, athletes, alumni and fans.″
Dodds said he believes Texas is safe from NCAA sanctions because he contends that no one in the school’s athletic department knew of Weaver’s true identity.
``We were purposely deceived, but we are confident we followed every proper NCAA and university procedure,″ Dodds said.
Officials said they have yet to get a straight answer from Weaver, who exhausted his eligibility at Sacramento State before using the Social Security number of a 23-year-old Salinas, Calif., man named Joel McKelvey to change his identity and keep playing football.
He enrolled as a freshman at Los Angeles’ Pierce Community College under the name Joel Ron McKelvey and attracted attention from Texas A&M, Brigham Young and San Diego State over two years before transferring to Texas. Texas officials say his transcripts from the junior college, although delayed by a hangup about his Social Security number, appeared to be proper.
After The Californian, a newspaper in Salinas, broke the news of his double identity, Weaver at first denied the story and then ditched the Longhorns while they were in New Orleans preparing for Sunday night’s Sugar Bowl game against Virginia Tech.
Weaver reportedly has been staying with his sister, Bonita Money, just outside of Los Angeles.
A man who answered the phone at Money’s residence Tuesday said Weaver had gone to visit his parents in Salinas, Calif. His mother, Sung Weaver, however, said she hadn’t seen him.
``I am worrying to death about him,″ said Mrs. Weaver, who claims that she and her husband, Richard, didn’t know what their son was up to. ``I don’t know where he is.″
Money said her brother led a double life purely out of his passion to play football, denying earlier reports that Weaver’s motive was writing a book.
Money said that Weaver realizes the severity of his actions and plans to contact Texas players and coaches to apologize. Weaver will likely go on television to tell his story, ``maybe something like 60 Minutes,″ she said.
``When he is ready to talk, he will,″ Money said. ``Everyone will understand why he did what he did. Right now his top priority is to talk to the players and the coaches and try to make the situation right. He isn’t running from anyone.″
Money said she is used to being in the middle of sensational stories. She said she gained notoriety in 1992 for slapping television star Shannen Doherty of the ``Beverly Hills 90210″ cast while at the Roxbury, a Los Angeles nightclub.
Afterward, she said she appeared on such shows as ``Hard Copy,″ ``A Current Affair″ and ``The Howard Stern Show.″
Meanwhile, Joel McKelvey, whose identity was assumed by Weaver, says he has no idea why he was chosen. McKelvey said he had met Weaver several years ago while Weaver was working at Alvin Square Liquors in Salinas, which is run by Weaver’s parents.
``I just want to know how he got away with it,″ McKelvey said. ``If anyone would have checked, they would have known he was not me. I never played football. I never went to college. My name isn’t even Ron.″