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
11:43 pm

What would lame kitten do? Oh yea, make another ncaa infraction and attend then write is off as a self reported violation. Congrats Chris and GATA!!!

Woof Woof

February 16th, 2009
10:06 pm

Richt and staff will watch video of the speech like they did video of Tech’s offense. Them lazy losers will buy the cliff notes version at best and deal with the consequences. If need be, they will rush the field to get some respect.

Jacket Fan

February 16th, 2009
10:05 pm

Excellent job young man! Finishing at the top of your class demonstrates not only intellect, but more importantly, tremendous work ethic. Good luck to you in all your endeavors… except for the game on each Saturday after Thanksgiving! :)

The NCAA is a tangled nest of bureaucracy, hypocrisy, and chaos. Coach Richt should be allowed to attend and honor your outstanding accomplishment.

[...] rules will prevent Georgia head coach Mark Richt from attending the graduation of recruit Chris Burnette as [...]

Woof Woof

February 16th, 2009
9:28 pm

You have to respect the fact that UGA is a highly respected university on par with the likes of Southern Poly, Devry, and ITT, while still having a football team that can compete with Appalacian State and Vanderbilt sometimes. I mean, our business school is only fourth in GA and our law school is freakin third in the state.

Valdosta Dawg

February 16th, 2009
9:21 pm

Thomas, the problem is that Richt won’t let him major in a real field. They will place him in recreation studies and ruin his intelligence just to win. Maybe, that’s why Calvin Johnson went to Tech to take real classes and learn. Let’s hope the program let’s him do what is best for him. I dont’t have much hope considering the past.


February 16th, 2009
9:16 pm

typo:Great story! Hopefully Chris can be an example to his future teammates at UGA…that you don’t have to let youR GRADES suffer in order to be a great athlete.


February 16th, 2009
9:15 pm

Great story! Hopefully Chris can be an example to his future teammates at UGA…that you don’t have to let you great suffer in order to be a great athlete.

Recruiting Guru

February 16th, 2009
9:04 pm

Why people be hatin on Richt? He follow rulez? It be our redneckz dat be threatenin fools dat go to other skoolz. they be buyin the caddys to. it aint richt or dooley. dey no da rulez.


February 16th, 2009
8:34 pm

hey chuck, two words, if you can read, trailer park