Spelman College president Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum is denying a report that the historically black women's school is recruiting gold-medalist Gabby Douglas "hard."
TMZ.com on Thursday published a story saying Tatum was in London actively recruiting Douglas, 17, to enroll at the Atlanta college. The story also included a photo of the gymnast posing with a Spelman gift bag.
While Tatum was in London during the Olympics, she said it was not to recruit Douglas and that the two have never met.
"I don't really know anything about Gabby other than she won a gold medal," Tatum told The Huffington post. "Any young person with the drive and discipline required to achieve world-class excellence is likely to have what it takes to be successful in college."
Tatum did say, however, she played a role in giving Douglas the gift bag, which contained a Spelman shirt and a CD with an original song by one of the school's students.
Before making the trip, Tatum knew her friend and Spelman alumna Helen Smith Price would have the opportunity of meeting Douglas at the Games, so Tatum had Price deliver the bag to the women's all-around gold medalist. In addition to the CD and shirt, Tatum included a personal note to Douglas.
"In my note, I told her how proud so many of us are at Spelman College of her achievement," Tatum said. "I said, 'We don't have a gymnastics team at our college, but when you look at colleges I hope you'll look at Spelman.'"
It's probably a good thing Spelman doesn't have gymnastics team. There was probably an NCAA violation or five in this story. But go Jaguars!
Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images