(UPDATED at 7:45 p.m.)
Georgia can finally count itself in the same company as Alabama and Florida — just not in the way everybody hoped.
According to our Tim Tucker, the NCAA has contacted Georgia to inform the school of an “inquiry” on campus.
This is never good news.
Georgia associate athletic director Claude Felton emailed a statement, reading: “I have been asked numerous times over the last two days whether we had been contacted by the NCAA and the answer has been ‘no.’ … Late Wednesday afternoon, the University of Georgia received a call from the NCAA requesting permission to conduct an inquiry on the UGA campus. Athletic Association officials indicated that full cooperation would be provided. The NCAA has requested that UGA officials, coaches, and/or student-athletes decline further comment until the inquiry is completed.”
The best case scenario for the Bulldogs is that this inquiry goes nowhere, because if coach Mark Richt suddenly has to deal with a full-fledged investigation and even the potential of NCAA sanctions, after last year’s down season, it could hamper his efforts to move the program forward.
No reason was given for the inquiry. But given recent news, it could be connected with investigations into illegal contact between various college players and agents. Players from Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina been linked with a party hosted by an agent in South Miami Beach earlier this summer. If the players were compensated for the trip in any way — travel, lodging, meals — it would negate their amateur status and constitute an NCAA violation. Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus reportedly is among those under investigation.
Former Florida offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey, a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been accused of taking $100,000 from an agent following last year’s SEC title game and before the Sugar Bowl, which also would constitute an NCAA violation. Pouncey denies the charge.
UPDATE: Stories on SI.com and TMZ.com both referenced wide receiver A.J. Green about an agent’s Memorial Day weekend party in Miami. Green denies being at the party in the SI.com story. The TMZ.com story says Georgia “ is investigating” whether Green attended.
A source said one potential interview subject is junior receiver A.J. Green, but if enforcement officials plan to ask Green about the now-infamous party in Miami Beach, Fla., on Memorial Day weekend that prompted the inquiries at North Carolina and South Carolina and an internal investigation at Alabama, they won’t learn much.
Reached by phone Tuesday night — almost a day before the NCAA contacted Georgia — Green told SI.com that he did not attend the party. Green, who is considered on of the nation’s best receivers, said a Georgia compliance official asked him Tuesday if he attended the party. Green said he spent Memorial Day weekend at home in Summerville, S.C.
“I never went to South Beach,” Green told SI.com.
TMZ has learned the University of Georgia is investigating whether football star A.J. Green partied on South Beach at the same bash that’s launched investigations at three other colleges.A source closely connected to Georgia’s athletic department tells TMZ the wide receiver allegedly attended a party at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami on Memorial Day weekend. Partying alone isn’t a crime under NCAA rules — Green is 21 years old — but if someone (like an agent or financial adviser) paid for anything related to Green’s trip, that could be a violation.
Agents and their pursuit of college players dominated the first day of SEC media days.
Florida coach Urban Meyer called agents “predators.”
Call them what you like, they’re the major story right now.
What level are your concerns about the inquiry into Georgia?
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