Archive for July, 2011

Tech’s appeal, NFL signees and more


Hope you’re well. Hard to believe there’s just five more days until Georgia Tech will open fall practice. A few things to cover from a week I figured might be a little quiet.

1. Appeal notification sent. Tech will have until Aug. 27 to send in its written appeal, which will be followed by a response from the infractions committee and then a rebuttal from Tech and possibly input from the enforcement staff and another response from Tech, and then an in-person hearing. It could last until early 2012.

Tech indicated it will appeal the findings of failure to cooperate and failure to meet obligations and conditions of membership on the grounds that the infraction’s findings were contrary to the evidence presented. They’ll appeal the vacated ACC title and will have to prove the ruling was excessive and an abusive of discretion.

One thing I found of note was that, at least in its notice, Tech did not choose to appeal the “preferential treatment” violation of Demaryius …

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Tech to appeal vacated ACC title

Georgia Tech has notified the NCAA that it plans to appeal the judgment that stripped the school of its 2009 ACC title. The school filed its notice of appeal Thursday, the deadline to inform the NCAA of its decision.

The NCAA investigation stemmed from an 2009 inquiry into improper benefits to former football players Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett. Besides the vacated title, Tech was fined $100,000 and placed on four years’ probation.

The school released the following statement:

“Georgia Tech has an unwavering commitment to the integrity of its athletics program, including full cooperation with the NCAA. We were very disappointed with the Infractions Committee’s ruling and we feel that we owe it to our institution and to the student athletes impacted by the ruling to exercise the appeal process provided by the NCAA.”

On top of the vacated title, the school also intends to appeal the findings of failure to cooperate and failure to meet the conditions of obligations of …

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Uzzi named preseason All-ACC; Nesbitt to Bills

Georgia Tech guard Omoregie Uzzi was named to the preseason All-ACC team Wednesday, the only Yellow Jackets player on the squad. Uzzi, a second-team All-ACC selection last fall, received 21 votes out of 51 ballots turned in by media members at the ACC football kickoff event earlier this week in Pinehurst, N.C.
Uzzi was just one of four non-seniors on the team and the only Tech player selected. A junior, Uzzi helped Georgia Tech lead the nation in rushing last season. He was also recently named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which goes to the outstanding interior lineman in the country.
Uzzi has become a leader for Tech’s young and inexperienced line.
“Omoregie’s a guy with more experience than anybody else (on the line),” coach Paul Johnson said Monday. “Hopefully, he’ll lead by example.”

Also, former Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt is close to signing with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted rookie free agent. The Bills are coached by former Tech coach Chan Gailey, …

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Video: Paul Johnson at ACC media day

Sorry for the delay. This is Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson’s Monday TV interview from the ACC football kickoff in Pinehurst, N.C. (Please note this is not the interview that I wrote about on Monday, which was the interview session with print media.)

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All-ACC coming out, Butler joins Cowboys

Two other things:

1. The preseason All-ACC team will be announced Wednesday. If I had to guess, Georgia Tech will have one player on it, guard Omoregie Uzzi, who was a second-teamer last year. Paul Johnson said he’s been encouraged this offseason by Uzzi, mentioning that he had dropped some weight.

“Omoregie’s a guy with more experience than anybody else (on the line),” Johnson said. “Hopefully, he’ll lead by example. He needs to put in the time and effort and all that because those guys will follow him.”

2. Also, NFL teams have begun agreeing to deals with undrafted free agents, which includes former Tech players Joshua Nesbitt, Mario Butler, Jerrard Tarrant, Nick Claytor and Brad Jefferson. Butler tweeted last night that he had agreed to a deal with the Dallas Cowboys.

Butler’s tweet: “Tears of joy with the fam im a cowbooooooyyyyyy baby!!!!!!”

Of Nesbitt, Johnson said he’s recommended him to a few NFL colleagues. That might include two friends in the NFL, Falcons coach …

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Four observations from Pinehurst


Hope you’re well. I’m headed back home from Pinehurst after two days of interviews at the ACC football kickoff. There’s a lot to sort through, though you’ll be surprised to know that every coach and player is excited about the season and believes his team has a chance to compete for an ACC title.

The focus Monday was the hour that Georgia Tech Paul Johnson spent talking to print media. While most of the time was spent answering football questions, he answered plenty about the recent NCAA ruling, and became a bit impatient with the questions.

I wrote about it for Tuesday’s paper. I don’t know how interested you are in hearing more about it. He talked a lot more about the upcoming season than the NCAA investigation and sanctions, which I’m guessing you’d like to hear more about. So, four things I learned from Johnson.

1. He has considerable hope for the offensive line. I wrote about this previously, that his outlook has improved since the spring, but he shed a little …

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Tech comments from media days


Coming to you from Pinehurst, where the ACC is huddled up for its football kickoff event. The players spoke Sunday, followed by coaches Monday. For Georgia Tech, defensive tackle Logan Walls and A-back Roddy Jones met reporters, taking a lot of questions about the NCAA sanctions and some about the 2011 season.

Before I go further, you might have read my story from Sunday with commissioner John Swofford’s comments about the same. He expressed disappointment with the NCAA trouble that Tech and North Carolina got in, as well as Florida State. Further, Miami was under NCAA investigation last year for texting violations. I haven’t found anything that says the investigation is complete. That’s a full third of the league.

“I think we’re at a point where enough’s enough,” Swofford said.

However, he answered a few questions about Tech’s situation that made it appear that perhaps he’s not entirely on board with the NCAA’s sanctions. For one thing, he noted that Tech’s …

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Attorney assesses Tech’s chances with NCAA


This comes from an interview with Michael Buckner, a Florida-based attorney who has vast experience representing schools and coaches in dealings with the NCAA. As I noted in the story in Friday’s paper, he represented the only case out of 13 since the NCAA changed its appeals process rules that had its infractions committee ruling overturned. If there’s sufficient interest, I may post another blog about Buckner’s thoughts about the NCAA enforcement staff and infractions committee, probably  after I return from ACC media days in Pinehurst, N.C. I imagine there’ll be plenty to write about from there.

The first deals with the difficulties Georgia Tech will have winning its appeal, some of which I dealt with in an earlier blog. The second will include Buckner’s opinions on NCAA enforcement and investigations, which I hope will make for some interesting reading.

A brief background: In 2008, the NCAA has made it tougher for schools and individuals to win appeals. It came …

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Tech planning to appeal NCAA ruling

After a meeting of Georgia Tech officials Thursday, it is a near certainty that the school will appeal the NCAA ruling handed down last week.

“I don’t want to put it as 100 percent we’ll do something, but it’s a virtual certainty,” associate athletics director Wayne Hogan said Thursday.

For rules violations largely stemming back an NCAA investigation of former football players Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett that eventually found that Thomas had received clothes worth $312, Georgia Tech was fined $100,000, placed on four years’ probation and had its 2009 ACC championship vacated. The NCAA said that Tech “failed to cooperate in an apparent effort to avoid potential allegations of rules violations,” which school president G.P. BudPeterson and athletic director Dan Ravakovich have refuted. The school has not determined which of the penalties or findings it will challenge, but Hogan said, “I’d certainly think the vacation rises to the top of that list.”

Georgia Tech won’t …

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Jones lauded for community service

Jones in a less charitable moment against Miami last fall. JOHNNY CRAWFORD/

Jones in a less charitable moment against Miami last fall. JOHNNY CRAWFORD/

Georgia Tech A-back Roddy Jones was nominated for the AFCA Good Works Team. The award recognizes volunteerism and community service by college football players.

Jones has been involved with several volunteer activites while at Tech. In particular, he has volunteered with the Special Olympics of Georgia, has visited patients and taken part in events with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and spoken at Kids @ Kollege, an event bringing inner-city children to campus.

Jones is one of 56 FBS (formerly Division I-A) nominees for the 11-player team, which will be chosen by a panel mostly consisting of former Good Works team members and media members.

Jones has started for three seasons and has 1,388 rushing yards, 26th in school history. He is also a three-time Academic All-ACC selection who earned his management degree in December.

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