UGA coach forced to change plans with Troup County valedictorian candidate


Chris Burnette

Chris Burnette

Georgia coach Mark Richt made a promise last month to Troup County offensive lineman Chris Burnette: If you’re the valedictorian, then I’ll be at your graduation to hear your speech.

However, as it turns out, NCAA rules will prevent Richt from attending the high school graduation. But he still plans on hearing Burnette’s speech.

“If Chris is the man and he gives the speech, hopefully they will tape it … I would absolutely watch it, I’d be excited to watch it,” Richt said. “I’ll make sure to check with compliance, but I can’t imagine that being [an NCAA] violation.”

Burnette, who signed with Georgia, said he is fine with the altered plans. “Everybody around here was excited about Coach Richt showing up at graduation. But he can’t do anything about the rules … I understand, it’s no big deal.”

“It really means a lot to me that [Richt] wanted to be there to support me. I knew there a chance he couldn’t make because of [NCAA rules], football practices, or the coaches going on summer vacation before the season. But [Richt] gave it his best, and that was very important to me …”

“If it happens [finishing as valedictorian] and I get to speak, we’ll record it and show it to Coach Richt later on. I’m excited about that, too.”

Burnette decided against enrolling early at Georgia so he could stay at Troup to compete for the No. 1 academic honor. Burnette has a 5.012 GPA and slight lead over two others in the valedictorian race. He has made straight A’s since kindergarten.

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63 comments Add your comment


February 16th, 2009
3:50 pm

there is no such thing as a “5.012″ GPA, UGA fans make up numbers!


February 16th, 2009
3:49 pm

Contratulations, Chris. Keep doing what you’re doing and you can join the

Tech Fan

February 16th, 2009
3:31 pm

Dang – as Tech fan, it’s things like this that make it hard sometimes to hate UGA as much as I’d like to.

Congratulations Chris and good luck keeping your lead for the top honor!


February 16th, 2009
3:27 pm

Seriously, this is one of the most out of touch NCAA rules out there, and is absolutely pathetic on the part of the NCAA. Let’s be honest though, the NCAA doesn’t seem to get too much right these days, i.e. playoff system?!?!

Anyways, congratulations Mr. Burnette, best of luck to you.


February 16th, 2009
3:25 pm

When has the NCAA not been out of touch?


February 16th, 2009
3:20 pm

Such a great talent and mind to be put under the control of MARTINEZ!


February 16th, 2009
3:12 pm

How about an appeal to the NCAA? I’m sure an exception could be made. Maybe not, the NCAA is out of touch.


February 16th, 2009
3:10 pm

Great to see a player who is also a good student. Maybe he can tutor the other recruits when he gets on campus.

Mike T.

February 16th, 2009
3:09 pm

Hey Chris, how about a live internet
feed to Coach Richt? If rules permit.
I’m sure some video and computer savvy
personel could get that done for you.

Mort Merkel

February 16th, 2009
2:54 pm

Way to go, kid. Good attitude and good job in the classroom.