NCAA inquiry is the last thing Georgia and Mark Richt need (UPDATED)

Georgia coach Mark Richt is trying to turn Georgia's program around. An NCAA inquiry doesn't help.

Mark Richt is trying to turn Georgia's program around. An NCAA inquiry doesn't help.

(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.

From SI.com:

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.

From TMZ:

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.

Alabama coach Nick Saban referred to agents as pimps.

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?

Previous SEC/Georgia posts

It’s no coincidence Saban suddenly is concerned about agents

SEC media days: Hey, who let the BCS in here?

We’re LIVE at SEC media days (with no shortage of storylines)

NCAA reportedly investigating Florida (but temper excitement)

Can Dogs end Alabama-Florida monopoly in SEC title game?

Listen up, Ole Miss: I’ve got Colonel Reb’s replacement

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

256 comments Add your comment

Jason

July 21st, 2010
7:05 pm

Asheville Dawg

July 21st, 2010
7:06 pm

Let the Big Dawg Eat

July 21st, 2010
7:07 pm

Asheville Dawg

July 21st, 2010
7:08 pm

O well, this is just what UGA needs now. All I can say is oh vey!

G-Money

July 21st, 2010
7:12 pm

Jeff, I asked Mr. College Football this same question (no response yet): If USC, Bama or any other school for that matter, is forced to vacate bowl wins, shouldn’t that also mean they should return the money they received for winning that particular bowl game?

It's A.J.

July 21st, 2010
7:15 pm

A.J.’s the guy in question. It’s in regards to the party in Miami.

JJ

July 21st, 2010
7:16 pm

Not really concerned yet. I guess it just depends on what the penalties will be if players had contact with the agent and/or received a paid trip to Miami.

If it’s automatic career ending it will be really bad for everyone and that will be concerning. If it’s a suspension and repayment of the money then I can live with that. Just all depends. Really too early to tell right now.

Gatorbait

July 21st, 2010
7:18 pm

Guess Schult’s article from two days ago blasting the gators looks foolish now. Go Gators

David C

July 21st, 2010
7:18 pm

Maybe the NCAA figures this is the easiest way to level the playing field across conferences. Put half the SEC on probation and take scholarships away.

greg

July 21st, 2010
7:19 pm

“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.”

Boy that is one giant leap isn’t it? We all know what the inquiry is about. Where did “full-fledged investigation” come from? You should right for a tabloid…oh…wait…you already do!

DP

July 21st, 2010
7:19 pm

Jeff, this party took place during a Freaknik-like event in South Beach over Memorial Day weekend. Do a search on “Black Beach Weekend 2010 South Beach” and you’ll find plenty of stories and pictures. It stands to reason that there were a lot of athletes from a lot of SEC and ACC schools down there. I’ll be surprised if a lot of schools aren’t caught up in this in another week or two.

Bama fan

July 21st, 2010
7:20 pm

Not that big of a deal if its related to the agent dealings because it looks like a lot of players from a lot of schools got tripped up and went to this party.

From what I’ve in other reports up to 45 different players from various schools showed up at the party. Word out of Bama is that Dareus and about 15 other players from various schools showed up, found out an agent was behind the party, and left. Dareus will no doubt be suspended by Saban though as will a lot of players from a lot of different schools. I’ve a feeling the NCAA is going to come down a lot harder on the agent than on the schools. What are they gonna do? Put 45 schools on probation?

If you’re Georgia you’re hoping that its nothing more than a player attending the party same as a lot of other players. If its something else than that’s a whole different issue.

A handful of dawg posters on the other blogs were taking their various digs at Bama and Florida for Dareus and Pouncey having contact with the agent and the party. Those of you that were having a good time flaming on Bama and UF can now take your foots out of your mouths.

meansonny

July 21st, 2010
7:22 pm

I agree JJ. Not concerned at the moment.

If a player was dumb enough to receive compensation, then I’ll be worried about depth.
But until proven otherwise, i could care less about the investigation. It sounds like a due-diligence search by the NCAA. They don’t want defamation suits brought against them. That’s why they can’t even hint at a purpose for the investigation. They’re grasping at straws. Trying to see what mud pops up.

Anyway, if there’s mud. Then so be it. Some player screwed up big time.

Gainesville D.A. is a Gator booster

July 21st, 2010
7:24 pm

Gatorbait,

A named former player (Pouncey) on your team has been accused of doing something improper. No named player at UGA has been accused of anything. You look foolish. But that’s nothing new to you since you probably have your jean shorts on right now.

Bama fan

July 21st, 2010
7:25 pm

Greg,

Most likely this NCAA investigation is about the party and its probably not that big of a deal. But you don’t know that for sure. Better to just wait and see and hope its just an inquiry into a player or 2 who showed up at the party and that the end result is a player suspsenion for a few games just like what will likely happen everywhere else.

The Bagman

July 21st, 2010
7:25 pm

Mark, Dont let the look up in the ceiling tiles of my office. That’s where I keep the “goodies” for the recruits.

DawgPhan

July 21st, 2010
7:25 pm

Like this wasn’t coming to bite us in the bum? You dont think those kids weren’t getting anything on the side to play in Athens? We have a record of corruption and NCAA violations… (Kemp, Basketball corruption, ect.) All we need right now, very bad timing.

GeoffDawg

July 21st, 2010
7:26 pm

Very little concern at the moment. Given the recent spate of violations in the region, it wouldn’t surprise if the NCAA is just randomly fishing at adjacent programs to see if they can uncover anything. Probably means nothing and will just be a pain in the neck. Like an IRS audit.

David C

July 21st, 2010
7:28 pm

I just heard its AJ Green

bardawg

July 21st, 2010
7:28 pm

Maybe the NCAA does’nt want UGA to feel left out since they evidently think all SEC schools must be dirty. Why don’t we disband that austere group of demogogues

Left to Right

July 21st, 2010
7:30 pm

Two days ago you played down the “Pouncey gets $100k” story by saying it wasn’t anything for Georgia fans to get excited about, and that the worst case scenario for the Gators was the vacating a meaningless bowl win.

But today, you rush to post a blog entry on UGA announcing an inquiry by the NCAA regarding a Georgia player simply attending a party in Miami. This, you now inform us, is “never good news” and could setback Richt’s efforts to “move the program forward.”

But if the worst that may happen to Florida is forfeiting a bowl game because a player took $100k, then what could possibly be the worst that could happen to UGA if a player attended a party? The player has to sit out a couple of games? Not really worth your breathless tone, is it?

Regardless, I’m sure you and Bradley will now go into customary tag-team mode and hammer this topic for the next few weeks. It’s all about the clicks, baby.

DP

July 21st, 2010
7:31 pm

Imagine a Freaknik like atmosphere in South Beach with athletes and good looking women from all over the place texting each other. How long does it take for the word to spread about a great party? Does anybody think that everybody who shows up knows who’s hosting the party, who paid for the food and drinks?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajc sports editor, Andrew Garda, Mark Ennis, JLH, Hank Humphrey and others. Hank Humphrey said: RT @JeffSchultzAJC: Georgia has joined the party — the WRONG party. NCAA seeks inquiry. http://bit.ly/ccbPqD [...]

Jeff Schultz

July 21st, 2010
7:32 pm

G-Money — If you’re asking me, yes, they should have to. But I’m not aware of any precedence for that. Of course, in this case, Georgia would only have to give back its Independence Bowl payday.

Another Source

July 21st, 2010
7:33 pm

I concure with David C, I have also heard something about AJ.

Jerry

July 21st, 2010
7:34 pm

Georgia should be clean here. They don’t have any players that can make it into the NFL. Green was there best shot but he has a bum shoulder.

Worm

July 21st, 2010
7:34 pm

it would be totally out of character for A.J. Green to have been at an event like this..He was in Summerville, S.C.

Jeff Schultz

July 21st, 2010
7:35 pm

It’s A.J — For what’s it’s worth, A.J. Green was asked about the party the other day in an S.I. story and denied being there. Here’s the link. I’ll add it to the blog in a few minutes.
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/football/ncaa/07/21/georgia.investigation/index.html

Another Source

July 21st, 2010
7:37 pm

BAMM! Knew my source was on the spot! DANG kid, you are trouble!!!

Clean House

July 21st, 2010
7:38 pm

It time to get rid of these clowns in Athens. They have no control both on and off the football field. This will be Mark Richts Waterloo season at UGA. Bank on it !

Beast from the East

July 21st, 2010
7:39 pm

Hopefully, nothing is discovered that is being done by any of these universities. If the kids received improper benefits, then they should all take their medicine. Whatever, each school decides is appropriate. It’s never fun having the NCAA “digging” at your school. Kind of like when the IRS decides to audit you. You think you did everything right, but their opinion is the only one that seems to matter. Scary stuff.

NCAA to conduct inquiry at Georgia

July 21st, 2010
7:40 pm

[...] NCAA inquiry is the last thing Georgia and Mark Richt need Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) – Jul 21st – 19:03 [...]

snellville jacket

July 21st, 2010
7:41 pm

Sorry to see anyone get in trouble. Almost have to have a compliance officer with each player 24/7.

Another Source

July 21st, 2010
7:41 pm

I have to say though, where their is smoke, their is usually fire. Sometimes it takes the NCAA to straighten out of control programs, ala FSU.

Another Source

July 21st, 2010
7:42 pm

Gainesville D.A. is a Gator booster

July 21st, 2010
7:42 pm

CNNSI asked AJ if he was at the Miami party as well as Mark Richt. He has told both parties that he was in Summerville, SC that weekend. Now, it could be about another incident but it sounds like AJ was not at the Miami party. The NCAA has not mentioned AJ’s name at all. Make sure you are reporting the facts Jeff and not just trying to sensationalize a story to help make AJC some money so that they can pay their bills.

Damon Evans

July 21st, 2010
7:45 pm

Guess what ?…. you ignorant dawgs fans were hoping my snafu was merely nothing however I wasn’t being totally truthful about a friend. More fire to come mutt fans ! I mean “Good People” !

Dawg 95

July 21st, 2010
7:45 pm

I will have to say, if AJ is guilty, it would be highly out of character for him.

crabapplejoe

July 21st, 2010
7:46 pm

A.J.’s momma and all his cousins will testify that he was in Summerville……

bugsquacher

July 21st, 2010
7:48 pm

go look at tmz.com for the story……. AJ

Another Source

July 21st, 2010
7:48 pm

Dawg 95, to be honest, do we ever know the true “character” of these fellows one way or the other? To say it is out of character is baseless, that is unless you know him?

Bob in SF

July 21st, 2010
7:50 pm

Well if it was AJ the Dawgs are screwed because Dareus was just declared ineligible for being at that party.

Another Source

July 21st, 2010
7:50 pm

Beast from the East

July 21st, 2010
7:51 pm

Gainesville D.A.,
That name is fitting. The DA surely does not stand for District Attorney.

Jeff,
To be fair, this doesn’t bode well for ANY coach or program. Not just Richt or UGA. I’m sure Saban, Meyer, Spurrier and Davis aren’t to thrilled with any of this right now, either.

bugsquacher

July 21st, 2010
7:52 pm

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.

reebok

July 21st, 2010
7:55 pm

Tech fan here. I honestly hope this turns into a lot of nothing.

Above the Law

July 21st, 2010
8:00 pm

Gatorbait,

I would hardly call Shultz’s article about the inquiry into UF a couple days ago “blasting”. In fact, just the opposite. Typical dumb ..ss gator comment

Gainesville D.A. is a Gator booster

July 21st, 2010
8:02 pm

When has TMZ become a reliable source? It is sad when journalists stoop to the level of the paparazzi. I guess it is all about the almighty dollar.

david

July 21st, 2010
8:03 pm

What were you saying about Miami the other day, about their arrest record? You need to shut your mouth, considering UGA with 40+ arrests including the AD, and now this under Richt. Look for Dan Mullen to me the next head coach of UGA in 2011, with Greg McGarity as the new AD.

crabapplejoe

July 21st, 2010
8:04 pm

No big deal…the Dawgs are pretty deep at WR…