Former Cat Denzil Ware was suspended from last year’s Music City Bowl; now, we know why.
According to the Courier-Journal, Ware was held out of the bowl game for accepting $1,628 in impermissible benefits from someone fitting the NCAA’s definition of an agent. UK self-reported the violation, which the Courier-Journal obtained in an open records request.
Ware first met the agent, Jordan Reid, as a junior in high school while committed to Florida State. He told UK he viewed Reid as a big brother figure with whom he reconnected during his junior year of college. At that point, Reid and other members of his agency paid for Ware’s meals and gave him money, sneakers, and tickets and transportation to a concert in Cincinnati in January 2017.
According to the document, one of Ware’s teammates accompanied him to that concert and received almost $400 in impermissible benefits. As a result, he was held out of the first offensive series of the bowl game and removed as team captain. The player is unnamed in the report, but the description matches Garrett Johnson, who did not start the Music City Bowl and was photographed at the concert with Ware.
To make up for the violations, UK made the team undergo “in-depth rules education” in March. Ware transferred to FCS Jacksonville State after graduating from UK in May. In eleven games this season, he had 23 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.