What the Bulldog Nation wants to hear from Mark Richt

 Sometime soon Mark Richt is going to have his end of the year press conference. I would suggest that the head coach at Georgia have that presser sooner rather than later because, to be perfectly candid about it, he has reached a crossroads in his leadership of the football program in Athens. Georgia finished the 2010 season with a 6-7 record after a-less-than-inspiring performance against UCF in the Liberty Bowl.

No, let’s don’t choose our words carefully here. Let’s call it what it really was: It was a lousy performance. Georgia looked like a team that didn’t want to be there and at 6-6, maybe the players DIDN’T want to be there. But since they were there and since the University committed itself to play the game and provide programming for its television partner, it falls upon the head coach to demand that the guys who wear the uniform representing the state university at least play hard. And Georgia did not play hard against UCF.

Mark Richt will be back for his 11th season at Georgia and he has earned the right to fix what is wrong. And right now there is a lot that is wrong with the football program at Georgia. He needs to figure out exactly what is wrong and tell everybody exactly how he plans to fix it.

Then he needs to fix it–now.

I would not presume to speak for the people of the Bulldog Nation. But I am going to suggest that these are just a few of the things they would like to hear from their head coach in the very near future:

 

**–That he loves being the head football coach Georgia and is passionate about its success: Georgia is like any major football playing school in the South. Its people care deeply about the success of the team and are invested, both emotionaly and financially, in the program. And it pains fans to think that they care more than the players and the coaches. Of course Richt cares about his work and the success of Georgia. Just have a five-minute conversation with the man and you understand that. But here is where Richt, a man of deep faith and a belief in the balance of life (both admirable qualities), needs to step outside of his comfort zone. Georgia people want passion and they want a sense of urgency when things are not going well. I believe Richt feels these things but has not done a good job of communicating it to the Georgia people.

**–That recruiting is going to get better: Here is where Richt as a head coach and Georgia as a staff has to look in the mirror and be willing to face the truth.  The fact is that outside of A.J. Green, Justin Houston, and the two kickers, there weren’t a lot of players at Georgia who could start for Alabama. (I’m going to use Alabama and Florida as measuring sticks, for obvious reasons).  The running backs (Caleb King, Washaun Ealey), for all the hype coming out of high school, continue to be very average. The offensive line, for all the talent and depth that was supposed to be there, has underachieved for three years. The defense was in transition and was about what we thought it would be. It’s not fair to judge after just one year in Todd Grantham’s system. But in other areas,  either the players were not as good as everybody thought or they haven’t been coached very well.  Richt needs to figure out which it is and address it. Georgia needs better players and a lot more of them.

**–That players are going to be disciplined on and off the field: I hear about this more than any single thing other than wins and losses. Georgia people are tired of reading about knucklehead stuff that keeps players off the practice field and out of games. How hard can it can be, they want to know, to make players understand that their life is pretty simple: Go to class, go to practice, study, play in the games, and behave the rest of the time. When players show a lack of discipline on or off the field they need to be punished publicly and the punishment needs to be firm. Again, Nick Saban at Alabama seems to have a handle on this. I’ll bet Will Muschamp will get a handle on it at Florida in short order. When it comes to this area, a healthy fear of the head coach is not necessarily a bad thing.

**–That players are going to be developed and will get better under his watch: You don’t build a football program on players  who perceive themselves to be great  because they had a bunch of stars by their name coming out of high school. Of course you have to have the elite athlete, and Georgia doesn’t have enough of those. But you also have to have good players who will work to become great and average players who will work to become good. You can’t have a roster of guys who think they can get by on talent alone. You have to have hungry players. You have to be able to take average talent and develop it. Players have to get better from year to year. Georgia has not done that.

**–That players are going to get bigger, stronger, and faster. That nobody is going to outwork Georgia in the offseason: Look at Alabama’s players in their uniforms and then look at Georgia’s. It ain’t even close. Look at Florida and the strength and conditioning program it has under Mickey Marotti. When Will Muschamp got the job at Florida, it took him about 45 seconds to know that he was going to keep Marotti. This used to be a strength of the Georgia program. It is no longer. Joe Tereshinski has already replaced Dave Van Halanger  as the strength and conditioning program director and will get a chance to fix it. Again, this is not complicated. Look at what Alabama and Florida are doing and do that.

**–That everybody from the head coach on down is going to be held accountable: Richt not only needs to make it clear internally, but he must make this clear publicly to the Georgia people. Everybody, and that means everybody, is expendable if they are not willing to commit to the goal of getting the program back among the SEC’s elite. A good head coach at this level has everybody a little on edge. The players need to step up and hold each other accountable at every workout and every practice. Those who can’t, or won’t, commit at this level will have to leave.

**–That the people who wear the uniform for Georgia will again play the game with passion: I know we are dealing with a different generation of athlete who feels more entitlted (because the process has told him he’s entitled). For the most part today’s athlete is not going to buy into the love of the institution like the folks to sit in the stadium. That’s just a fact of life, a generational difference. Still, it can be managed. But, as I said at the top, the head coach can demand that his student-athletes give their best effort when those athletes represent the University. I know that is a quaint, outdated, and probably naive notion that it is a privilege to wear the uniform. But the Georgia people don’t feel that way and their feelings have to be taken into account.

Greg McGarity, the new athletics director at Georgia, is not going to say these kind of things but I will because these are just facts. After 19 years at Florida, he’s been at Georgia for four months. That is not enough time to evaluate a football program at this level. You have to go through a recruiting season, an offseason conditioning program, a preseason while watching the day-to-day operations. There are a lot of moving parts to a football program and McGarity has only seen two: a preseason and a regular season.

And all those folks who wanted to let Richt and his staff go after this season probably haven’t looked at what it would cost. It doesn’t take a lot of checking to see that such a decision, which would have included Richt’s buyout (just under $7 million) plus the cost of buying out the assistants would have cost Georgia in the $9-10 million range. Then you have to hire a new coach (at least $3 million) and another staff. So right now that would be about a $15 million decision for  Georgia. I don’t think that was a factor in this decision but in this economy you can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist.

As I said at the top:  Very soon Mark Richt will have to tell the Georgia people two very important things. 1) What he believes the problems are and 2) How he intends to fix it and that he intends to fix it now.

And as uncomfortable as it may be, Mark Richt needs to make his case with passion–a lot of passion.

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797 comments Add your comment

kindergarten math

January 3rd, 2011
10:25 am

Sometimes one decision says all that needs to be said. When CMR went for the field goal on fourth and inches, he was telling his players , coaches and the whole world that he had no confidence in their ability to get half a foot against players from Central Florida. Is there any surprise that Georgia was flat for the rest of the game ? How do you feel, as a player and coach, when your head coach makes that announcement to the world ? Contrast that decision with Coach Mike Smith and the Falcons, who routinely go for it on fourth down because they believe in their players and coaches abilities. Making these first downs are not only inspirational for the team, but itis also a morale crusher for the opponent. CMR should apologize to his players, coaches and fans for that humiliating, emasculating decision. It sent the message that he did not believe in them. If he didn’t believe in them, then is it any surprise that they just went through the motions from that point on ? It is very discouraging to see the emotion and coaching that takes place from the sidelines from other head coaches in the bowl games, and contrast that with CMR’s “whatever” attitude.

Corch Meyer

January 3rd, 2011
10:25 am

1,2,3,4,,,,,,5 that them gator dont take no jive. gradilations to pearcy harvey. go gator

ThaMan

January 3rd, 2011
10:26 am

Dumbo – very aptly named.

JB

January 3rd, 2011
10:27 am

ylokjt…………………….Then you didn’t pay attention the last two sShula was at Bama. Suicide watch is not the word.

@ Wally Butts

January 3rd, 2011
10:27 am

•Marcus Jafar Dowtin, 21, of the 6000 block of Clinton Manor Drive, Clinton, Md., was charged with assault second degree. The charge was placed on the stet docket.

JB

January 3rd, 2011
10:27 am

s/b last two years Shula was at Bama

McDawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:27 am

i lay this on the Offensive Line-perhaps these juniors should submitt the game film to NFL evaluators

Stephen Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:27 am

What I want to hear is the truth and with some balls. Richt needs to admit that we are out of shape, unmotivated, and undisciplined on and off the field. He needs to go on record that if the same can be said at this point next year, he will quit taking the school’s money and resign before McGarity has to personally show him to the door.

Furthermore, I am sick of hearing about how recruiting needs to improve. TCU, Wisconsin, Stanford, and countless other schools are doing far more with much less highly regarded recruits than we currently have on our roster. This is just a scapegoat to evade the fact that the coaching and conditioning has sucked!

3rdN8

January 3rd, 2011
10:27 am

@ Buckeye

Not beating up on Big 10. I FIRMLY believe conference powers are cyclical, and the SEC is having a great run.

Here’s how my predictions went:

I did pick UNC over the Vols. Davis just had too many athletes.

I missed FSU vs USC. I thought it would be close, but Spurrier would find a way.

I picked Miss State big over UM. My relatives in Michigan were surprised at this one, and it cost ‘em.

I picked Bama over MSU, but didn’t think they’d cover. Boy was I wrong on that one.

I picked PSU over UF in a close one. Thought PSU was the tougher team. Bama played both this year. Big JoePa fan, but he really, really, needs to retire.

I originally picked OSU over Arkansas, but have changed my mind. OSU’s biggest problem is your prima donna QB. Guys like that are a cancer. Can’t believe Tressel puts up with it.

Anyway…good luck tomorrow night.

ga gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:28 am

JB, I go to all of your games too and a couple of away games each year, Most of the ones that I talk to seem to think they will win the SEC every season until the first loss.

Pope UGA XXIII

January 3rd, 2011
10:28 am

I’m so thrilled to learn that UGA beat Auburn 4 of 5 years and
that we also “own this state”. Someone please objectively look
at the returning players & coaches and tell us exactly how we’re
going to dramatically improve in 2011.
Those of you who choose to do so, please copy Dr Adams on
any correspondence you send the AD which mentions suspending
your contributions to UGA. His blood type is $$ +.

ga gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:29 am

Stephen Dawg, how you been? I agree and I think this year started with doing away with 2-a-days in August.

Buckeye

January 3rd, 2011
10:29 am

Ga Gator,

I’ve previously posted that we may come to Athens 0 and 19. Will make tearing down the hedges so much sweeter.

King Gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:29 am

pwned by UCF – enough said. Go Gators!

BamaDan Is A Gomer

January 3rd, 2011
10:29 am

Yes Stallings won a title with Antonio Langham, a star player on that team who was later found to have been paid at Alabama. READ THIS:Investigation centers on Stallings role with Langham and agent

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gene Stallings admittedly knew his star player had signed something for someone. Now the question is: Was the Alabama coach diligent enough in getting to the bottom of the whole Antonio Langham affair?

The NCAA apparently doesn’t think so.

Langham’s eligibility was one of two potentially “major” violations cited Thursday by the NCAA in its official letter of inquiry, delivered to the school nearly two years after another former player, Gene Jelks, accused the Crimson Tide of wrongdoing.

The school, which has won six national championships and is ranked 11th in the country this season, could be facing probation for the first time.

Langham and his uncle, Clyde Goode, both say Langham told Stallings about his dealings with a sports agent in a New Orleans bar just hours after Alabama won the national championship at the 1993 Sugar Bowl.

“I told him to call his coach and tell him what he had done,” Goode said. “He said he did.”

ga gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:30 am

Buckeye, not unless you get rid of Vest Man.

STALLINGS KNEW

January 3rd, 2011
10:31 am

Investigation centers on Stallings role with Langham and agent

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Gene Stallings admittedly knew his star player had signed something for someone. Now the question is: Was the Alabama coach diligent enough in getting to the bottom of the whole Antonio Langham affair?

The NCAA apparently doesn’t think so.

Langham’s eligibility was one of two potentially “major” violations cited Thursday by the NCAA in its official letter of inquiry, delivered to the school nearly two years after another former player, Gene Jelks, accused the Crimson Tide of wrongdoing.

The school, which has won six national championships and is ranked 11th in the country this season, could be facing probation for the first time.

Langham and his uncle, Clyde Goode, both say Langham told Stallings about his dealings with a sports agent in a New Orleans bar just hours after Alabama won the national championship at the 1993 Sugar Bowl.

“I told him to call his coach and tell him what he had done,” Goode said. “He said he did.”

AUBURN PAY A PLAYER

January 3rd, 2011
10:32 am

Love all the Auburn peeps on here. They RENT a Florida player whom should’ve been kicked out of Florida and they’re proud of the fact the whole country knows it and they’re in the NC…Auburn will be in the same seat as UGA next year…Richt better turn it around.

JB

January 3rd, 2011
10:32 am

ga gator……then you need to change your handle to ” lost gator licking Dawg hind end,cause I love gator but go to Ga games ,so I’m confused”…………That’s your moniker from now on…LOL

Buckeye

January 3rd, 2011
10:33 am

3rdn8,

Thanks. Appreciate your infomation and well wishes. You’re right about Pryor. I still root for the kid, amazing athlete, but a legend in his own mind. He’s not unlike Tiger…needs to lighted up on perfection and smile once in a while.

King Gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:33 am

Georgia needs more coaches who jump off the high dive in pants and less practice/2-a-days! Go Gators!

goldwreck

January 3rd, 2011
10:33 am

I think GA vs Boise State is the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic
game at the GA Dome in Atlanta.

Read This 01Hawk

January 3rd, 2011
10:34 am

Alabama Put on Probation
.

August 03, 1995|GENE WOJCIECHOWSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Alabama, with the third-winningest program in major college football history, was placed on three years’ probation and severely penalized after the NCAA Committee on Infractions found the school guilty of unethical conduct and “a distressing failure of institutional control.”

The sanctions, made public Wednesday, also require Alabama to reduce its football scholarships from the maximum 85 to 81 for the next two seasons, reduce its freshmen and transfer player scholarships by 22 during the next two seasons, forfeit eight victories and a tie from the 1993 season and forfeit any chance to appear in postseason play this year.

In addition, the Committee on Infractions ordered four school officials, including Coach Gene Stallings and Athletic Director Cecil (Hootie) Ingram, to attend a regional rules compliance seminar during each of the next three years.

King Gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:34 am

Boise State puts nail in CMR’s coffin … long 2011 for Pupps. Go Gators!

JB

January 3rd, 2011
10:34 am

Between Au and Bama, the NCAA ought to set up a branch in Birmingham.

James

January 3rd, 2011
10:34 am

Tony-

Are you serious? Saban has had 6 seasons where he had a 6 or 7 in season, Richt’s had 1.

1 losing season since 1985, in 25 years. 1. The other 24 were winning seasons. All 24.

He wins 9.6 games a year.

He’s in the top 4 winning %.

The guys gave great effort, faced a top 20 ranked team, came up a little short—4 points. I didn’t see lack of effort on the field, name names, which players?

Lack of passion? Give me a break. Richt’s personality is WHY he got to #3 in 2002, and #2 in 2007, you didn’t com,plain THEN that he needed more passion?

He’s the guy that knows how to turn it around. He did it in 2002 & 2007. Let’s support him.

suwanee dawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:35 am

Buck Futt, Nice comment. Guess you forgot Auburn had lost four in a row to UGA before 2010. Absent Cam, you guys are 7-5 at best. Your defense was lousy. Of course we can continue to aspire to your level of class.

Read This 01Hawk

January 3rd, 2011
10:35 am

Antonio Langham, then a Crimson Tide junior defensive back, signed with an agent after the team’s national championship victory over Miami in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1993; and that former Alabama running back Gene Jelks received six loans for a total of $24,400 based partly on his future earnings as a professional player. School officials and the NCAA enforcement staff submitted a summary-disposition report, which is a joint acknowledgment that the violations occurred.

James

January 3rd, 2011
10:35 am

U guess Urban Meyer need smore passion, since Florida had a terrible year, Mack Brown too.

joe suggs

January 3rd, 2011
10:36 am

Hey Buck Futt ! Your boy Cash Newton was a mercenary player that went to the highest bidder for a year . Best player money could buy !

Musschump

January 3rd, 2011
10:36 am

yo gator fans, yall think zook was bad. ive been overrated at every job ive had. Mack was glad to see me go. Kirby is just like me. saban runs that defense and always has. thanks for the 2.7 mil though. he who laughs last laughs loudest

1eyedJack

January 3rd, 2011
10:37 am

Is Neil Callaway available yet? Maybe we could swing a trade with UAB. Callaway for Searles, Tony Ball, Bryan McClendon, Caleb King, Tanner Strickland, Ben Harden, Israel Troup, Brandon Bogatay, and Jeremy Longo.

01HAWK

January 3rd, 2011
10:38 am

POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK for all of the BARNERS on this blog.

Did you for forget about MIDGET TERRY BOWDEN and the CROOKED PAT DYE ?

They were some of the most crooked coaches there have ever been. Get REAL

Buckeye

January 3rd, 2011
10:38 am

How did your former “Dawgs” do? Never have understood the spelling. Bobby Carpenter LB, Detroit: Recorded eight tackles (five solo, three assists) in a 20-13 victory over Minnesota.

Nate Clements CB, San Francisco: Had three solo tackles, one assist and a forced fumble in a 38-7 win over Arizona.

Ted Ginn Jr. WR, San Francisco: Caught two passes for 41 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown, and returned two punts for 21 yards in the win over Arizona.

A.J. Hawk LB, Green Bay: Totaled 11 tackles (nine solo, two assists) and a half-sack in a 10-3 over Chicago.

Santonio Holmes WR, New York Jets: Caught a 17-yard pass for a touchdown in a 38-7 victory over Buffalo.

Vernon Gholston, DE, N.Y. Jets: Had two assisted tackles in the win over Buffalo

Malcolm Jenkins DB, New Orleans: Finished with two solo tackles in a 23-13 loss to Tampa Bay.

James Laurinaitis LB, St. Louis: Made six solo tackles with three assists and recovered a fumble in a 16-6 loss at Seattle.

Michael Jenkins WR, Atlanta: Had five receptions for 52 yards in a 31-10 win over Carolina.

Ryan Pickett DT, Green Bay: Had two solo tackles and one assist in the win over Chicago.

Brian Robiskie, WR, Cleveland: Had two receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown in a 41-9 loss to Pittsburgh.

Will Smith DE, New Orleans: Recorded a sack and a solo tackle in the loss to Tampa Bay.

Mike Vrabel LB, Kansas City: Had two solo tackles in a 31-10 loss to Oakland.

Chris Wells, RB, Arizona: Rushed for 16 yards on five carries and caught a 6-yard pass in the loss to San Francisco.

Donte Whitner S, Buffalo: Had four solo tackles in a 38-7 loss to the New York Jets.

Antoine Winfield CB, Minnesota: Had nine tackles (six solo, three assists) in a 20-13 loss to Detroit.

King Gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:38 am

Cash Newton was worth every $ to AU this year, WAR SEC BCS Championships! Big Ten + Nebraska.. nice job in the bowl season!Go Gators!

Dawgs73

January 3rd, 2011
10:38 am

There is nothing in Richt’s past five years that would suggest that he is capable of competing for an SEC/National Championship (as the current level of coaching/competition has increased). To give him another year based on “he’s earned the right to fix it” just doesn’t hold water. He is not going to magically change and become something he is not. Evey other university in the SEC have made coaching changes to improve their respective programs.

It’s been time for change and to wait another year for no good reason, is bad for UGA and sets a precedent that mediocrity is acceptable at the highest level. Championships start from the top at the AD level, and McGarity needs to move forward and make the decision now. It’s obvious that the fan base has already jumped ship (as evidenced by the terrible showing at the Liberty bowl). To sit back and wait, is equal to blind indifference. The fans are screaming for change and want someone to instill hope in the Dawgs again…alas, Richt is not that man.

SoCal Dawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:39 am

Who would of thought that a pair of red panties would of bought CMR one more year. The only reason CMR is still the coach is because Mcgarity is a fair man and hasn’t been the AD long enough to make a completely informed decision.

3rdN8

January 3rd, 2011
10:39 am

@ BamaDan Is A Gomer

If you insist on beating dead horses, then have the decency to at least know the facts. Alabama was never accused of paying Antonio Langham. Langham had dinner with an uncle, and another guy who was an “agent”. This meeting took place at a restaurant in New Orleans after the 1993 Sugar Bowl. Langham apparently signed a contract with the agent on a napkin. That made him inelgible. He played all of the following season for Alabama. The NCCA ruled that the UofA did not have sufficient institutional control, and we were subsequently hammered.

If that makes your pathetic existence somehow happier, and more meaningful, then I’m glad we could oblige.

GTman

January 3rd, 2011
10:39 am

1. Mike BOBO needs to go. UGA should replace him with Ralph Friedgen (best offensive coordinator I have ever seen). UGA runs a high school offense that can only score two field goals against UCF!

2. Todd Grantham needs to go. He acts like a total redneck on the field and is an embarrassment to UGA. His results are not nearly good enough to tolerate his bad behavior. How can you expect the players to act like grownups when the DC acts like a chump?

3. Bad characters need to go. There is not 1 irreplaceable player on that team. I can’t believe that Richt lets these players stay at UGA. Get rid of a few and that will send a discipline message that will translate to better behavior off and on the field.

charlie Strong

January 3rd, 2011
10:40 am

Thanks UF, ive had more success than the chump has ever had.

bart

January 3rd, 2011
10:40 am

Tony, your column is right on. However, I cannot see Coach Richt showing passion. It’s just not in his nature. Think about this…When Van Goder was there, he was the passionate one, and it worked. Since Van Gorder left, the program has been in slow decline, until we hit rock bottom this year. Grantham seems to have some passion, but we don’t know yet what kind of DC he’ll be. Frankly, I cannot see this coaching staff turning the program around in a year’s time, maybe ever. It seems to be in the cards for Richt to be fired after next season. I hope I’m wrong because aI think he’s a fine and decent man.

James

January 3rd, 2011
10:42 am

Richt had a great 2nd hal of 2010, 5-2, just didn’t do well in the first half, 1-4. Deal with it.

Bubba

January 3rd, 2011
10:42 am

Gt man,aybe we like rednecks. as long as we beat the Joke by Coke im happy. Now shut vand tell your wife to come back

DAWG 1

January 3rd, 2011
10:42 am

This is so far down the line I doubt if many will read it – but, one coach that has not been mentioned as doing a poor job is Rodney Garner. He also coaches the Searles led offensive line, but more than that, I don’t think he is a good judge of talent. Also, I never hear recruits saying “I love Coach Garner” yet they say that for other coaches, including Richt.
As for Coach Richt, I truly feel his strong beliefs will not allow him to change his “fire”. It is not in his personality or makeup to allow himself to get upset. When he shook hands with George O’Leary after the game Friday, he was smiling. He was the only DAWG smiling! His personality or who he is is not going to change.
Bobo has no clue to what it takes to create a good, unpredictable offense. His is so predictable by fans that coaches who practice the profession KNOW what is coming. Second and 23 and he runs the ball!
As a lifelong Dawg, this all reminds me of the end of the era before Vince Dooley. Then “Vince who” came in and immediately turned the same players into winners with the likes of great coaches like Erk Russell.
As much as I admire Coach Richt as a person, I just no longer respect his coaching ability. I wish I felt differently.

PMC

January 3rd, 2011
10:43 am

Perhaps, but these are things Tony that needed to be handled way back in 2005, when it was obvious they were not prepared to play West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl….

These problems have been problems for longer than 2 years. It’s on going.

01HAWK

January 3rd, 2011
10:43 am

READ THIS BARNERS !!!!! It would be good if you SHUT UP and keep your own house clean.

Dye’s tenure on the plains ended when Auburn was penalized for payments by boosters and assistant coaches to a player, Eric Ramsey. Tape recordings were released that implicated a booster named “Corky” Frost, and present Troy University head coach Larry Blakeney. The controversy landed the Auburn program a spot on 60 Minutes and an eventual NCAA investigation. While the investigation did not find Dye personally responsible for rules violations, the NCAA determined that as head coach and athletic director, Dye should have known about and stopped the payments to Ramsey.[2] The fallout from the NCAA probation against the football team pushed Dye out as athletic director in 1991 and as head coach the following year.

AUBURN, Ala. – Former Auburn coach Terry Bowden said on tape two years ago that boosters were funneling thousands of dollars to players when he became coach in 1993, a time when the Tigers were on NCAA probation.

“They were paying players cash, $12,000, $15,000 to sign,” Bowden said on a recording reviewed by the Associated Press. “All I was told to do was shake hands and say, “Thank you. I appreciate how much you love Auburn.’ ”

Bowden did not make clear whether he reported the payment scheme to the NCAA, but said on the tape: “When I came here, I put an end to it.”

Bowden’s comments were reported Sunday by the Opelika-Auburn News. A columnist taped the comments in a meeting about two years ago, and a copy of the tape was made available to AP.

Bowden did not return a call by the AP to his Orlando home. He is a commentator for ABC Sports, where spokesman Adam Freifield said Bowden contended the remarks were off the record and had no further comment.

A statement issued by Auburn questioned why remarks made by Bowden in 2001 are only now being reported. The columnist who taped the comments, Paul Davis, said there had been concern Bowden’s remarks were “off the record” and not for publication. Davis said Bowden has sent him an e-mail encouraging their publication.

The school’s statement also said Bowden repeatedly had certified to the NCAA from 1993-98 that “he was unaware of any unreported violations of NCAA rules by anyone involved with the Auburn football program.”

Though there is a four-year statute of limitations for NCAA violations, there is an exception if the infraction is considered “blatant.” NCAA spokeswoman Kay Hawes wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the allegations.

William Muse, who was president of Auburn during Bowden’s term as coach, also said in newly released transcripts that he had heard rumors of a pay-for-play scheme but that it was never verified during the NCAA investigation.

Bowden resigned as coach during the 1998 season as his relations with a powerful trustee, Robert Lowder, became strained.

On the tape, Bowden said 25-30 boosters would meet in Birmingham and 15-20 would meet in Rome, Ga., and that they would give $5,000 each. He said that when he arrived at Auburn, an assistant collected the money.

On the tape, Bowden said he took a stand against the practice. “I’m going to finish that deal. That’s over with,” he said he told one of those involved.

Read This 01Hawk

January 3rd, 2011
10:43 am

2 Words for ya: Albert Means

JDawg

January 3rd, 2011
10:43 am

Dang, the probation-pissing-contest between AU and AL will take a while. What about a dozen between the both of them?

King Gator

January 3rd, 2011
10:44 am

Trying to figure out why all my co-workers (Tech & UGA grads) look so sad today? the guy from AF looks happy and the girl at reception who almost graduated from UCF is going to be carrying around her UCF coffee mug all week I’m afraid.. @ least the talkative old guy from PSU hasn’t come by my office and probably won’t until April. Go Gators!

monty

January 3rd, 2011
10:44 am

I’m a GA lifelong fan and I watched Bama destroy MSU, the difference in the way their players performed and the way ours performed was night and day. Our running backs are the easiest guys in the league to tackle. If you get a hand on them you will bring them down. Bama’s backs were absolutely running straight over people. They played with a chip on their shoulder as if they had something to prove, we didn’t.They looked coached up, we didn’t. Just a reward for winning 6 games.It’s all about the attitude. Name me 2-3 defensive highlights this season for the dogs. You can’t do it. David Pollock used to have that many in one game by himself.