Let’s put aside for a moment whether you believe Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is innocent or guilty in college football’s AgentGate. There are three scenarios that can play out between now and the time the Bulldogs kick off their season Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette in Athens.
1.) The NCAA informs Georgia that Green received some form of an extra benefit, mandating some form of discipline. Response: Easy. Green is suspended for the opener.
2.) The NCAA informs Georgia that Green is completely innocent in the matter. Response: Easy. Green plays and on Saturday everybody has a chance to enjoy watching probably the finest wide receiver in the nation.
3.) The NCAA informs Georgia: “We’re still looking into this.” Response: Not so easy.
Or is it? If there’s even a one-percent chance Green is not completely in the clear before game time, wouldn’t it be wise for coach Mark Richt to sit him out? The potential downside to this is he might unfairly be punishing a player who could be innocent. The potential upside is if the NCAA does find something on Green, even if trivial, the Dogs wouldn’t have to worry about forfeiting Saturday’s game down the line for playing an ineligible player.
Look, if Green is innocent, I feel for the kid. He certainly doesn’t strike you as someone who would accept a plane ticket to fly down to Miami so he could party with an agent, nor anything remotely close to that.
But let’s look at this logically: Georgia is going to win Saturday anyway. A win may not ensure much in the big picture but a forfeit wrecks the season. Is it really worth the risk?
Here is what has happened to other players connected with the Miami agent story:
♦ Alabama’s Marcell Dareus – who prompted coach Nick Saban to go on his comical “pimp” rant at SEC media days – has been suspended for the Tide’s first two games. He also must pay $1,787.17 to the charity of his choice to compensate for the value of transportation, lodging and meals he received.
♦ South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders was suspended for the Gamecocks’ opener against Southern Miss Thursday night. Coach Steve Spurrier said the suspension was for a “violation of team rules,” not the NCAA investigation, but he wouldn’t specify what the violation was.
♦ North Carolina defensive end Marvin Austin (a friend of Dareus’s who is believed to have made the arrangements for him) has been suspended indefinitely by coach Butch Davis.
So what are your thoughts on the subject? If the NCAA gives Richt a vague answer on the status of the investigation, what should he do?
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