Georgia Tech NCAA appeal denied

Georgia Tech’s appeal to the NCAA over sanctions handed out last July has been denied. The school will be required to return its 2009 ACC football championship trophy to the league office, one of the penalties for NCAA findings of failure to cooperate and failure to meet the conditions and obligations of membership in an investigation into possible impermissible benefits violations to former football players Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett.
“In its appeal, Georgia Tech asserted the vacation of records penalty was not warranted based on its contention that it did not gain a competitive advantage, among other factors,” the NCAA wrote in a release. “After a comprehensive review of the case, the Infractions Appeals Committee found the facts of the case did support the findings of violations. The Infractions Appeals Committee also found it speculative to state a competitive advantage was not gained and the penalty was appropriate in this case.”
The verdict of the infractions appeals committee is final. The school has no other legal recourse on the appeal. The investigation began in November 2009 when an NCAA investigator learned of possible impermissible benefits, which turned out to be $312 worth of clothes given to Thomas by his cousin’s roommate. Burnett was not found to have violated NCAA rules.
The school faced significant odds for an overturn of any of the two findings or the revocation of the football championship. Since the NCAA toughened standards for appeal in 2008, only one out of at least 14 appeals has been granted.

“We are disappointed with the ruling of the NCAA appeals committee, but respect the process and the NCAA’s decision,” Georgia Tech president G.P. “Bud” Peterson said in a statement. “We felt we owed it to the Georgia Tech community and to our student-athletes to exercise the appeals process provided by the NCAA in order to defend the integrity of Georgia Tech and to reaffirm our commitment to the principles and obligations of the NCAA.”

Peterson was out of the country and unavailable for comment, according to a school spokeswoman. Athletic director Dan Radakovich declined comment.

In its appeal, the school conceded it had made mistakes during the investigation, but argued that the indiscretions didn’t want warrant a finding of improper conduct or the removal of the ACC title. Tech argued that the title removal was inappropriate and an abuse of discretion, one criterion for an overturn of an appeal. The school claimed that none of the factors typically associated with a penalty of vacated wins, including academic fraud and serious intentional violations, were met.

“The vacation penalty punishes an entire team of student-athletes by taking away a championship because of decisions made in good faith by institutional staff members,” the school contended in a written appeal filed last September.
To lodge the appeal, the school retained the services of the Birmingham-based law firm of Lightfoot, Franklin & White, including Gene Marsh, the former chair of the NCAA’s infractions committee. As of December, the school had paid $93,000, nearly all of it to Lightfoot, Franklin & White, for counsel.
A school statement released last July noted Tech’s “unwavering commitment to the integrity of its athletics program” and that “we feel that we owe it to the institution” and the football team to appeal.
In addition to the return of the trophy, Tech must vacate the win from coach Paul Johnson’s records and remove any public references to the ACC title.
More updates to come

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

518 comments Add your comment

Jchun8

March 9th, 2012
11:53 am

FIRST!
incoming uga comments…

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
11:58 am

Meanwhile players from the University of Miami were comped visitors of Nevin Shapiro to strip clubs over a period of 8 years…and no wins have been vacated, no Athletics administration have been let go, and they are playing with full schollies and no restrictions.

Justice…

Timmy

March 9th, 2012
11:59 am

And yet Cam Newton has a Heisman and National title

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
12:01 pm

“which turned out to be $312 worth of clothes given to Thomas by his cousin’s roommate”

That’s $312 of UNTAGGED and RETURNED clothes returned upon learning of Calvin Booker’s association with an agent.

BGA

March 9th, 2012
12:05 pm

just another mark on paul johnson’s resume while here. guy belongs in div1aa

The Truth

March 9th, 2012
12:06 pm

Nuck the FCAA!

George Stein

March 9th, 2012
12:06 pm

This is the NCAA telling us that they will over-correct for what they view as rampant rule breaking among member institutions. The penalty makes no sense.

I am angry with the Institute for even suggesting that playing by the NCAA’s rules equates to playing with integrity. Real integrity would be to pay these players an actual salary rather than a pittance for the “full cost of attendance.” The NCAA will rake in billions for their tournament but the people on the floor will receive nothing.

Forgive me if applaud Bay Bay for getting $312 (assuming he did) worth of clothing. My only regret is that he didn’t get more.

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
12:08 pm

George…

Can I suggest a new tradition moving forward where we refer to CPJ as “2009 ACC Champion CPJ”?

BadBug

March 9th, 2012
12:10 pm

WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! Take you medicine and quit whining…Auburn was cleared and Miami’s medicine is coming….

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
12:11 pm

This should have been a penalty aimed at Dan Radakovich because his actions are what perpetuated this thing…

George Stein

March 9th, 2012
12:11 pm

Ha. Thing is, this has nothing to do with Johnson. Anyone who says so doesn’t know the facts.

George Stein

March 9th, 2012
12:13 pm

What was Radakovic supposed to do here? Not tell the most important person he has hired that the NCAA was investigating a deminimis violation? I’d be curious to know how that would promote a culture of integrity at the GTAA.

Here come the trolls…

Ghost

March 9th, 2012
12:14 pm

Fl Jacket I agree the NCAA is being tough, but “In its appeal, the school conceded it had made mistakes during the investigation” plus Tech was still on probation when the violations occurred.
To what degree did the administrations mistakes impede the investigation? Have Miamis final penalties been imposed?

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
12:15 pm

George…where is the freaking justice?

The NCAA says don’t take free stuff…unless you go to a Bowl game…then you can take all the free stuff you want.

The NCAA couldn’t control the rampant greed, corruption, and extortion in the Fiesta Bowl Committee and John Junker.

Ohio State and Miami to date have not vacated any wins even though there is documented proof of receiving tens of thousands of dollars of benefits.

greg

March 9th, 2012
12:16 pm

UGA fan here, but this penalty is just stupid and overkill. The NCAA puts bandaids on the scratches, but continues to ignore the sucking chest wound. Lesson? If you’re going to cheat….cheat big.

sldkfjslk

March 9th, 2012
12:17 pm

Seems petty, and correct me if I’m wrong, but the punishment is so harsh not because of what Thomas did but because Tech knew Thomas was ineligible and played him anyway in the championship game and did not fully abide by the terms of the investigation. In other words, they talked about it with people involved which could lead to a cover up. If they had followed the proper procedures Tech would still be 2009 ACC Champs.

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
12:18 pm

Ghost…

The root of the harshness of the infractions was the communication between DRad and 2009 ACC Champion CPJ informing him of NCAA investigators were planning on interviewing Morgan Burnett, Demaryius thomas, and a few others.

George Stein

March 9th, 2012
12:19 pm

Somehow, the NCAA got a tip that some players were involved with an employee of an agent. That person was Calvin Booker. They informed Radakovich of the investigation with instructions to tell no one. He told Johnson about the investigation, and Johnson asked the players (Burnett and Thomas). During their interviews with the NCAA, they gave unclear answers. The NCAA contends that by Radakovich telling Johnson about the interviews (and Johnson speaking to them about it), they made it harder for the NCAA to get the truth. That’s the abbreviated version.

RambleOn84

March 9th, 2012
12:20 pm

Good for the NCAA! Take the fight to these ne’er do wells who accept clothing from their cousin’s roommates, and then return them when they learn that it could be an NCAA infraction.

Maybe this will teach Tech to play by the rules, like USC, UNC, Miami, Auburn, and Bama. Those schools’ coaches and administrators have real integrity…

George Stein

March 9th, 2012
12:21 pm

I don’t care what Miami players or Ohio State players got, FLJ. I care that the NCAA says they can’t receive anything.

Who really cares if Aaron Murray does ads for Athens Chevy or Trent Richardson did ads for Nissan of Tuscaloosa?

What the hell are we doing on Saturdays in the fall if not going to see the players? PAY THEM.

JB

March 9th, 2012
12:22 pm

Well, I’m a Dawg fan, and throw my share around on these blogs ( as Tech does us) but this is BS. The act may be there, the punishment to too harsh.

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
12:22 pm

George…

The NCAA investigator (who seemingly had an axe to grind during this whole thing) reported that the players’ statements were “coerced”…a total fabrication of the truth.

Sounds more like a guy trying to make a name for himself in front of the NCAA…

RambleOn84

March 9th, 2012
12:23 pm

Thomas was never ruled ineligible, by the way.

And how exactly is it possible for an AD to suspend a player without telling the player’s head coach?

The Truth

March 9th, 2012
12:23 pm

The NCAA bases its punishment just like the US Courts do. If you are a nobody, you get killed. If you are important, you get your wrist slapped. This is similar to a minority indigent who get 20 years for stealing $100 while a CEO who steals $1B of shareholder and government money gets a $10K fine. This is just the way it is, its the way it has always been and its the way it will always be. There is no use in crying about it. If you want better treatment you have to become important. Just ask Ohio State, North Carolina and Miami.

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
12:24 pm

George…

I agree…all NCAA student athletes deserve compensation beyond tuition and fees

BobbyGodd

March 9th, 2012
12:24 pm

Just glad this is over with. We should not have played the in question athletes in the ACC Championship game since it was apparent that potential violations had occurred. We pride ourselves on doing things the right way…and in this specific incident we did not. Kuddos to the NCAA for getting it right. The problem is so few rule breakers get just penalties but are let off easy because of national recognition (Ohio State, UNC and UM will likely all get minor penalties and yet the crimes they committed make Tech look angelic in comparison).

JB

March 9th, 2012
12:25 pm

Boy, what is Spurrier and South Carolina gonna get over $55,000 worth of illegal player benefit?

RambleOn84

March 9th, 2012
12:25 pm

Actually a good point, The Truth.

It also helps when you are openly defiant (a la Ohio State).

George Stein

March 9th, 2012
12:25 pm

I sent a letter to Radakovich last July saying the same thing, Ramble.

I won’t question the investigator’s motives, FLJ. The broader issue is the NCAA treating these players like they’re indentured servants.

Old Gold Britches

March 9th, 2012
12:26 pm

Ken, we need a list of who is on this ncaa committee….. the tar is warming up…………. Now I have to round up some feathers…………

George Stein

March 9th, 2012
12:26 pm

I hope he gets a pat on the back, JB.

NYJacket

March 9th, 2012
12:26 pm

How in the H___ is it not a conflict of interest for the NCAA to send a former player from a competitive conference school to investigate Tech? Don’t they have enough staff to at least have impartial investigators? This entire mess stinks!!

Well the NCAA will sure not be able to get the rings from the players. You can take a trophy but you can’t change history.

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
12:26 pm

If this ruling is any precursor…Miami should not be suiting up anymore football players THIS CENTURY…

vicki

March 9th, 2012
12:29 pm

This is the NCAA running wild…with no supervision. They pick and choose who they want to investigate and who they want to pentalize. Really, when you stand back and look at it…they are a bunch of bullies. Probably the very ones we all saw in middle school – except they are all grown up and found jobs at the NCAA. It is sad that we put up with this type of behavior, but we know who won the 2009 ACC title and at the end of the day….who cares what the NCAA does. What a waste of time and money……

JB

March 9th, 2012
12:29 pm

Miami should of got the death penalty

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

March 9th, 2012
12:29 pm

No surprise, we are talking about the NCAA. Just a nail in their coffin. No integrity, no credibility. Just a bunch of greedy corrupt maniacs.

I still have the memory, I went to the game. It happened. THWTNCAA and THWG!

Ghost

March 9th, 2012
12:29 pm

Fl jacket, Ohio state did vacate all wins from 2010. I don’t think Miamis final penalties have been determined , and South Carolina is going to get nailed pretty hard soon. Do you not believe that tech still being on probation while committing another infraction had anything to do with the severity of the penalty?

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
12:30 pm

GR8…I might be adopting THWTNCAA from now on

Old Gold Britches

March 9th, 2012
12:32 pm

GEORGIA TECH – 2009 ACC CHAMPIONS ALWAYS HAVE BEEN ALWAYS WILL….

FL Jacket

March 9th, 2012
12:33 pm

Ghost…

It certainly doesn’t look good. That probation, IIRC, were academic violations committed by the previous administrations…but infractions committed by adminstration should punish the administration. Not the players.

Bobby

March 9th, 2012
12:34 pm

This was simply a vendetta by the University of North Carolina. GT really needs to find another conference.

$312 worth of clothes

March 9th, 2012
12:35 pm

Half million $$ worth of BS.

Old Gold and white in my veins

March 9th, 2012
12:36 pm

Sorry, NCAA. My hat, t-shirt and sweatshirt all still proclaim Tech as the 2009 ACC champion. Just try and come and take them from me. This is bull, punishment did not fit the crime. And thanks to JB and greg for keeping it classy, see how long till some of your less classy brethren show up.

Evan

March 9th, 2012
12:36 pm

FL Jacket, I believe that all members involved must have the title ‘2009 ACC Champion’ added to their name, similar to being knighted.

On another note, no legal battle is over until one side is tired of spending money. We may not be able to battle with the NCAA committees anymore, but this blatant abuse of power has real emotional and monetary impacts on the institution and its players. Whenever this occurs, there are grounds for civil and legal cases to right what is wronged. Asking the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee to overturn a penalty handed down by the NCAA Infractions Committee is kind of like asking Dad if you can not be grounded when Mom has already grounded you. It is a conflict of interest at best.

I say we go after the NCAA as a whole. I bet we can get some other institutions on board.

Old Gold and white in my veins

March 9th, 2012
12:36 pm

like that FL, THWTNCAA!!!!

To Paraphrase Bill Curry

March 9th, 2012
12:38 pm

The NCAA brought the cheaters to their knees!

George Stein

March 9th, 2012
12:38 pm

The players must unionize, Evan, and all this nonsense will go away (I say that as a guy that’s not a huge fan of unions).

Finchdawg

March 9th, 2012
12:38 pm

BWAHAHAHAHAHA

George Stein

March 9th, 2012
12:39 pm

Troll hard, Paraphrase.

George Stein

March 9th, 2012
12:39 pm

You too, Finchdawg.