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 the University of Texas has authorities and school officials considering legal action.
UT officials said Tuesday they 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.″
UT Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said Tuesday that he would notify the NCAA that Weaver, a backup cornerback who saw limited action for the Longhorns this season, had been kicked off the team and declared ineligible.
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.
``I don’t see this as being a troubling thing for the institution,″ he said.
Officials said they have yet to get a straight answer from Weaver, who exhausted his eligibility at two California colleges 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 before transferring to Texas. UT 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 left the Longhorns while they were in New Orleans preparing for Sunday night’s Sugar Bowl loss to Virginia Tech.
Weaver reportedly has been staying with his sister, Bonita Money, just outside of Los Angeles.
A man who answered the phone at Ms. 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.″
Ms. Money said her brother led a double life purely out of his passion to play football. But Weaver has given contrasting reasons. The Californian quoted Weaver as saying he was writing a book on the ``scandals of college football.″ Weaver later told The Associated Press he wasn’t writing a book.
Ms. Money told the Austin American-Statesman that Weaver realizes the severity of his actions and plans to contact UT officials to tell his side of the story.
``Sure, he’ll call them,″ Ms. Money said. ``He’s not trying to run away from anybody.″
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.″