Why I can’t be mad at A.J. Green

I’ll be honest. My first reaction when I heard of A.J. Green’s four-game suspension was one of anger.

And it wasn’t because Green owes any of us anything. I want to see the guy play because he’s a great player. And when there is a big game like Saturday’s between Georgia and South Carolina I want both teams to have all of their weapons. I love college football and I want to see great players play. And we’ve got too many guys who are not playing right now because of NCAA rules violations.

No, I was angry at A.J. because it seems so unnecessary. Early next year A.J. Green is going to be a very wealthy man because he is going to turn pro. So the money was coming. A.J. is a smart kid and he knew that there is no level where selling his jersey for a lousy $1,000 bucks was not a rules violation. The risk/reward/punishment equation for doing this just didn’t add up.

If this NCAA ruling stands (three more games on suspension), and it shouldn’t because it’s excessive, what should be an unforgettable junior season for Green will be forever tainted with “Yeah, he was good but he missed four games.” That made me sad and, at first, angry.

But I learned a long time ago that it’s easy for us adults to wag our fingers and say “Hey, those are the rules. You gotta follow them.” We’re not in the kid’s shoes. We don’t have to watch while the schools fill the stadiums, accept millions from television and make more millions from selling his jersey (with his name on it) while the system pats us on the head and assures us that our day is coming if we’ll only be patient. We really only learn that kind of patience as an adult. Youth, by its very defintion, is not patient.

Understand that the NCAA makes these rules not to regulate what actually happens, like one kid selling a jersey for $1,000. The rules are in place to control what COULD happen–like a kid selling 500 jerseys (provided to him by an agent) for $1,000 each. The NCAA punishes the nickle and dime stuff in hopes of preventing something really big and bad from happening.

When Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant lied to investigators about his relationship with Deion Sanders, the NCAA banned him for the rest of his junior season. Bryant was not truthful but was his lie REALLY that bad? Well, no but the move sent a chilling message to other athletes: Lie to NCAA investigators and you’re done. That message was received and understood. Now before every interview with the NCAA the kid has the fear of God put in him. That was by design.

Yes, the financial end of college athletics is certainly to the benefit of the schools. It’s all one big double standard, we know that. But certain things are just a blatant slap in the face to these guys. The fact that A.J. Green may lose a third of his junior season for selling a jersey while the University Bookstore sells a bunch of them is a double slap. It’s the establishment telling these kids: We can make money off your talent and fame in every damn way we please. If you try it, though, we’ll use the rules to take you out and to keep you in line.

The NCAA enforcement people have been working overtime this summer trying to keep a lid on a bunch of these issues from Agent Gate to Hotel Gate. At the core of all of them is a system where the athletes realize on a daily basis that they are getting a raw deal. They get to the point where they don’t care any more. It’s “hey, if they catch me they catch me but I’m not taking this any more.”

  We as fans wonder where the loyalty is to the institution. But through the eyes of a young kid from modest or poor circumstances, that loyalty street seems to only run one way.

I don’t have a lot of answers for you this morning but I would suggest this: A school like Georgia should be able to sell all of the No. 8 jerseys it wants. The jersey and the number belong to the school.

But when some schools–and I am told that Georgia is not one of them–start putting name on the back on the jersey then you have crossed an ethical line. What the kid did on the field made that jersey more valuable than a generic one. He created that extra value and cannot share in it. So the school shouldn’t share in it either.

So let’s just end that practice. Is it a little thing in the grand scheme of things? Absolutely. But it would be one less slap in the face to a group of people who are getting tired of being pushed around.

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847 comments Add your comment

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:14 pm

Eh, I love Bama but I condider Duke a cupcake schedule. Bama beats them just about 100 times out of 100, even in our “down” years. Any team that is at the bottom consistently in that conference doesn’t have much.

Neil

September 9th, 2010
4:16 pm

Tide Rising,

That’s not what he said and you know it. This is your own botched up quote and your own very biased interpretation of it. No one is buying it

PMC

September 9th, 2010
4:16 pm

People are still missing the point here. If you are good at things that are valueable your skills are worth more than other peoples skills. This is the whole reason you invest in a degree from college in the first place. To hone your skills to make yourself more marketable. Colleges invest in players because clearly they can make the money the pay to them back so many times over that they can pay their staff millions of dollars and have enough left over to not only pay for the rest of the athletic programs that no one cares to spend money on…they can build really nice facilities too.

AJ Green is more valuable than the 5th string receiver. They get the exact same deal even though AJ Green is substantially more valuable to the program..

In the real world when this occurs, the person that is valuable leaves a place where they are being underpaid and goes where they are better able to take advantage of their talents. The NCAA prevents this process from occuring in the name of fairness.

So the NCAA is saying that it’s perfectly fine for the school to take advantage of a players marketablity but it’s wrong for a player to take advantage of his own marketablity.

dawg fan

September 9th, 2010
4:16 pm

SEC does not need stronger OOC games. They play the best every week. Stop fussing with these dip$hits.

gdawginkalamazoo

September 9th, 2010
4:16 pm

But beside Penn State Bama also plays Duke (ACC) and Georgia State (Punching Bag Conference)

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
4:17 pm

gdawginthezoo,

The Penn State game was actually scheduled to be played a couple of years ago and we moved it I think 2 years ago to 2010. That game was scheduled well in advance but from what I’ve seen some games are scheduled years in advance, some only 2 years in advance, and many with only 1 year notice.

Tech magnet

September 9th, 2010
4:17 pm

Neil,

Tide is what we consider “special.” I guess he thinks UGA is just going to throw out all those non-conference BCS games they have schedule through 2019 or so. Again, he’s not very bright ;)

hahahahahaha!!!!!

September 9th, 2010
4:18 pm

@ Xavier

Exactly!!! Nicky always leaves the car running in the garage and the Bama nation knows it!!!! He’s gone in another 3 years at the most. Hahahaha!!! Can’t wait to see it all crumble!!!

TM

September 9th, 2010
4:19 pm

If you don’t want to do the time,
DON’T do the crime.

There isn’t a CFB in any school who can claim they didn’t know the rule.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:19 pm

Saban ain’t going anywhere. Why? He’s 59 years old. He did not mesh well with the NFL millionaires any more than Spurrier did. Unless he wanted to go to the NFL, there is no “step up” from Bama. It is one of the few truly elite, storied programs.

And even if he left, you think it would be hard to find a great replacement with the program in this kind of shape? When is the last time an SEC team went 16-0 over two years in conference play? Talk about pick of the litter…

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
4:19 pm

Paul in RDU,

I saw some stats on Penn State. They are 6-2 against the sec since the 90s which is 75% which obviously is pretty good. It includes last year’s win of course over LSU and a 43-7 whipping of AU a few years back. Against Alabama we are 8-5 against them.

marcus

September 9th, 2010
4:19 pm

that’s easy for you fat a** writers and critics to say, “wait till next year, when you’re in the pros”. you like so many others make their livings off these kids and when they want just a taste of what you plantation owners have you balk. if the ncaa would just give these kids a stipend you would not see incidence like this happening so much. the ncaa big wigs get serious salaries to fly around the country and enjoy “saturday afternoon in the hedges”……..

and that whole “amateur status” crap is just that. if things should placed on an “amateur” level, than have them take buses and not get comped hotels. if he was really smart, he’d apply for the nfl and if they denied him an opportunity, then sue the nfl and ncaa’s both for being a monopoly and nothing but slave owners.

just sad

September 9th, 2010
4:20 pm

is bama tard really trying to convince himself that starting in 2020 Richt is done with the extra nonconference bcs game? What a tard.

hahahahahaha!!!!!

September 9th, 2010
4:21 pm

yeah you keep telling yourself that bama dud!!!!

DawgTired

September 9th, 2010
4:22 pm

I hope you are right. But of course in typical UGA fashion I can totally see us winning a big one Saturday only to turn right back around and get destroyed by Arkansas. Seems to happen every year.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:23 pm

And you keep telling yourself that UGA is a BCS contender…

1980 will roll around again one of these generations.

Tech magnet

September 9th, 2010
4:24 pm

Exactly. Tide Rising needs to make up his mind. Is Richt bricks at UGA or does he have enough authority and power to control the AD’s scheduling 2020 and beyond?

I’m honestly laughing while I type this. lol, some people!

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:24 pm

By the way, it’s really unnecessary to use more than one moniker. Very transparent.

hahahahahaha!!!!!

September 9th, 2010
4:25 pm

Pretty sure UGA has been in a handful of BCS games during the past 9 seasons. More brilliance from the blog punching bag!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Paul in RDU

September 9th, 2010
4:25 pm

Tide Rising – ALA has the best record of SEC schools vs PSU – there was the 10 game series in the 80’s when PSU was still an independent. BTW – Although ALA won 6 out of the 10, they were only 1-2 in T’town.
I lived in NE PA for a long time and they take their football very seriously up there. Unfortunately I was there when GT played PSU in the Meadowlands and completely manhandled us.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:26 pm

Oh, you mean those cute little non-championship games?

doward

September 9th, 2010
4:26 pm

TR –

Once Saban is gone who will be your next coach? Smart?

@WreckBuZZ

September 9th, 2010
4:26 pm

I think everyone is confusing the situation. They think Green was just selling some property. He took money from an agent under the guise of selling a jersey. There’s a huge difference.

Food to eat. Check
Place to live. Check
Education. Check
NFL paycheck coming in less than 12 months. Check

None of Green’s immediate needs are unmet by his scholarship with UGA. And his long term needs will be met next April after he gets drafted in the first round by an NFL team.

Maybe you don’t like the rules, but you still have to follow them. It is especially irresponsible for a UGA player considering the selling of SEC championship rings by UGA players is what led to this rule.

It was a selfish decision that could affect the goals of his team.

Not poor A.J. Shame on A.J.

hahahahahaha!!!!!

September 9th, 2010
4:26 pm

Yep. Games that you would have sold your mom into slavery to be in before Nicky made his little pit stop.

@WreckBuZZ

September 9th, 2010
4:26 pm

Check out stories about your favorite southern college football teams at http://www.chuckoliver.net

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:27 pm

Where would you people possibly think Saban is going? Dallas?

Please.

Bo_Diddley

September 9th, 2010
4:28 pm

TB says the jerseys in the stands “have his (Green’s name on them). If they do, that’s a violation, and it’s not an NCAA-sanction jersey. Those don’t come with names.

Beast from the East

September 9th, 2010
4:28 pm

I haven’t read all of the posts (too dang many!). But my two cents worth is this:
Tony, are you serious? If this was UF, Miami or even better USCw, would you have the same take? I think we all know the answer to that and it is a resounding NO! You only get on your high horse when you feel that your beloved Dawgs have been done an injustice. Remember your “outrage” at the ref’s calls last year. Give us a break. This stuff happens all over, but never a word until until it adversly effects UGA. Remember that the only reason this rule is in place is because several Dawgs decided to sell their SEC Championship rings after the 2002 season. How soon we forget.
AJ knew what he was doing was wrong and he put his eligibilty in jeopardy. Let me repeat that….HE PUT HIS ELIGIBILITY IN JEOPARDY. No one else. Quit sticking up for him. ALL scholarship athletes are expected to play by the same rules. He is not special. I hate to see such a talented young man sit on the sidelines because of a bone-headed decision (notice I did not say mistake), but he did it to himself. If I was a Dawg and and our best playmaker did this I’d be pi$$ed at him. He let down his coaches, teammates, alumni, fans, etc. No one brought this on AJ. He did it to himself.
Lastly, if you truly are passionate about this rule change, then spearhead the effort. You have tons of credibilty that you have earned throughout the years. But quit whining about things only when they happen to UGA. Show some impartiality like you know you should. You’re much better than that.

Xavier

September 9th, 2010
4:28 pm

you guys are talking crazy if you think he is going to last past 2015. If he makes that it would be a miracle. Michigan and Michigan St. will have a coaching jobs available in the next couple of years. Hmmm…….

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:28 pm

But he’s here ain’t he? And Bama is the current number one and reigning SEC and Nat’l Champs. Went through St. Teebow to do it too.

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
4:30 pm

Tech magnet,

just sad,

Sorry dude, I never said that. I think you’re having reading comprehension problems again.

Tech magnet,

Richt obviously is under the AD. But to say he as the head coach haz zero input with the AD is laughable. He has influence as to who UGA will schedule and why and to say he doesn’t is just plain dumb. And please don’t be so foolish as to insinuate that the schedules are set in stone up to 2020. Nobody believes that. Do you honestly believe that as of this writing that schedules 10 years in advance are completely set already. Please tell me that you’re not that stupid.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:31 pm

Why the hell would he go back to Michigan? He left because he couldn’t get athletes like he can in the south. It ain’t like he’s from there.

Truth be told, I think he considers the NFL deal a big mistake. If he hadn’t just had to scratch that itch, he’d probably still be at LSU and have a dynasty going. No way he goes back to a league where he can’t lord over his players.

Beast from the East

September 9th, 2010
4:32 pm

I see that the blog has again returned to Saban. Envy is a powerful thing isn’t it Bammers?

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
4:33 pm

Xavier,

So Saban took a 1 million dollar pay cut to leave a warm weather plum job like the Dolphins to come to bama. So the USC and Notre Dame jobs become available last year and Saban is never mentioned as a candidate for 2 of the best jobs in college football including the biggest name in college football Notre Dame. If not USC or ND then who where would he go? Florida is set. As is Texas. Where would he go if not ND or USC? Do you now realize just how dumb you sound.

gdawginkalamazoo

September 9th, 2010
4:33 pm

Tide Rising, I’d bet that Penn State wouldn’t have scheduled a game with you guys last year for this year or into the near future. You guys were down when they scheduled it. Colorado and ASU and OSU were on the rise when we scheduled them. We can’t help it if inept coaches sat those teams down. I don’t necessarily agree with Richt on this one but its not my job on the line. A win is a win nowdays unless you are Boise State then you can beat glorified for beating high school competition for 10 of your games. VaTech is year after year overrated. I just don’t understand that. Nothing against them but they tend to drop games that they should win hands down.

Tark the Shark

September 9th, 2010
4:34 pm

rest assured, sooner rather than later Bama will slip back into their rightful spot of football obscurity.

If they were forced to use only their own home grown players they wouldn’t ever beat Vandy again. Everything about Bama and that entire God awful state is inferior.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:35 pm

Nah, it all started with somebody claiming AJ Green as the best athlete in the country. I said he wasn’t (Peterson at LSU gets my vote) and it turned into Julio Jones is all hype, Saban’s leaving, yada yada yada…

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
4:35 pm

beast,

Watch out. It’ll soon turn to Urban Meyer I’m sure. As a matter of fact I here is now the candidate for the Rice job. Let the rumors begin.

Tech magnet

September 9th, 2010
4:35 pm

gdawginkalamaoo,

Shhh!!! You are speaking realities!!! Tide doesn’t like realities

tip

September 9th, 2010
4:36 pm

AJ will go before Peterson in the draft. There is your answer.

Budd

September 9th, 2010
4:38 pm

Show me the line on the Athletic Department budget that says ” Paid to fat ole white guys” Where do you think the money goes? It goes to pay the scholarships and to pay for other sports that the school provides to the betterment of everyone. And the millions of dollars given to the academic side by the athletic side. When a free college scholarship can be treated like it isn’t worth a dime is when we as a society are in deep trouble. How many people in this country do you think there are who would love to get a free degree for playing a game. You’re just mad cause you can’t see him play for three or four games. The problem here isn’t the NCAA it’s you

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:38 pm

Tark the Shark

September 9th, 2010
4:34 pm
rest assured, sooner rather than later Bama will slip back into their rightful spot of football obscurity.

If they were forced to use only their own home grown players they wouldn’t ever beat Vandy again. Everything about Bama and that entire God awful state is inferior.

Except the football program, I presume?

Where did Stafford and Moreno go to high school again? And, for that matter, AJ?

Tide Rising

September 9th, 2010
4:38 pm

gdawginkalamazoo,

Very true. Penn State did us a huge favor and it could not bite them in the butt. The original home and home was set for the mid 2000s if I remember correctly but we were bumbling through probation and the game would not have been competitive due to us being down 21 schollies. Plus we had just lost 2 home and homes in a row to UCLA and OU when the probation started so Penn State let us out of the original contract to reschedule for a time and date when both teams would be strong.

Xavier

September 9th, 2010
4:39 pm

Look up Saban’s Dolphin’s contract and compare it to his Bama contract and there is your answer. He took no pay cuts.

Beast from the East

September 9th, 2010
4:39 pm

Tark the Shark,
I’m no Bama fan but your rant seems an awful lot like jealousy. You do realize that Bama has one of the winningest programs ever, don’t you? As far as the state, if you’ve traveled the south much you’d realize that Georgia (minus Atlanta), South Carolina, Tennesse and Mississippi are are very similar. Mostly small towns with working class people.

bayers

September 9th, 2010
4:40 pm

UGA definitely gets out of state talent, sure, but they are not dependent upon that talent like Alabama is.

BAMA dude

September 9th, 2010
4:40 pm

tip, no way. PP is compared to Deion in some circles.

ONLY way that happens is if a team has a glaring need at WR. Receivers typically fall because they are too easy to find in the NFL. Shutdown CBs are the most prized commodity this side of franchise QBs.

Ace

September 9th, 2010
4:41 pm

AJ why do you cheat?

Dog Catcher Catcher

September 9th, 2010
4:41 pm

What are you talking about? Coaches make more money coaching a top program in college than they do in the NFL. Get off the crack rock.