No more excuses — Georgia’s arrests fall on Mark Richt

If Mark Richt was so angry about Washaun Ealey's hit-and-run that he didn't want to talk to him, how does he feel now?

Mark Richt has been buried in police reports since March.

(UPDATED at 3:30 p.m. with booking and suspension.)

Before you dismiss this as just another trivial arrest in a 24-7, TMZ flip-cam media world, ask yourself this:

What would you be thinking if this was Florida or Alabama or Tennessee? Would your first reaction be, “This is no big deal. Everybody is picking on us”?

What if this was Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or Houston “I’m Just Trying To Save The World One Quarterback At A Time” Nutt? Would you really be absolving the head coach — in this case, Mark Richt — of any responsibility?

Georgia’s football program has hit nine on the arrest chart. That’s nine since March.

Kickoff is Saturday. There’s still time to run out of fingers.

Here’s the latest: Campus police have booked freshman safety Alec Ogletree on misdemeanor charges of theft by taking and he has been suspended for the season opener. Ogletree, a prized member of their 2010 recruiting class, is charged with stealing a $35 scooter helmet from the Rankin Smith Center on June 15 (police discovering only this week that the helmet was in his possession).

Forget that we’re only talking about a $35 helmet. There’s no such thing as a minor incident any more. There’s a cumulative effect.

I realize this is difficult for some people to accept. We live for this time of year, not just because of our obsession with college football but because, as Richt said this week, “It’s good to be undefeated.” What you feel in Athens, they feel even in Starkville.

But when nine players get arrested between spring and opening kickoff, something is wrong.

Please, no more apologies.

I’ve had it with apologists. They live among the fan base (who claim police are just out to get athletes). They live among the coaching fraternity (because to blame another coach sets themselves up for higher standards). They live among the media (some of whom are too afraid of burning bridges with the program and not having the coach smile at them any more).

Bottom line: This falls on Richt. It’s his program. It’s his responsibility. It’s on his watch.

He doesn’t have to be the one drinking-and-driving. Or hitting-and-running. Or drinking-and-groping. Richt recruited these players, signed these players and ultimately determined, “They will represent the University of Georgia well.” Either he is picking too many of the wrong guys, or he’s not saying or doing enough of the right things when they get here. Regardless, don’t deny the problem.

Richt said Friday he was “disappointed” and that Ogletree is “responsible for a poor decision and will serve a minimum one-game suspension.” He was so angry when running back Washaun Ealey was arrested for a hit-and-run — which occurred while he was driving with a suspended license — that he didn’t even want to speak to Ealey. That anger is justified. The question is whether his suspension of Ealey will last beyond the Louisiana-Lafayette game — because that’s a small notch above running steps in Sanford Stadium.

Forcing Ealey to miss the South Carolina game — that would hurt. Of course, that also would hurt Georgia, and the South Carolina game is really important, right?

When asked at his news conference this week if, in so many words, there was a flaw in his discipline structure, Richt responded: “The flaw is if a guy does something that deserves to be disciplined and you don’t discipline him. That’s where the flaw is. The flaw is in us as humans. We’re flawed, we’re human, we make mistakes. When we make a mistake, then we get disciplined for it. As long as we have 18- to 22-year old guys who are human beings, they are going to make mistakes. That’s just all there is to it. If you don’t discipline it, you have a problem. If they don’t learn from it, then they have a problem.”

Actually, it goes beyond that. If players don’t learn from it, Richt has a problem. And he does.

No more excuses. This falls on him.

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1,737 comments Add your comment

Dawg Fud

September 3rd, 2010
11:10 am

This is getting ridiculous…

Dawg Fud

September 3rd, 2010
11:11 am

I expect McGarity will have to make discipline a cornerstone of his early tenure at Georgia

Dawg Fud

September 3rd, 2010
11:12 am

….and this is becoming ridiculous, by the way.

JaxDawg

September 3rd, 2010
11:13 am

Rest of Nation

September 3rd, 2010
11:13 am

Your school, athletic program, and football team is….and has been the a laughing stock of college football fans for the past 4 months. Thanks for making us all laugh. Your team is a joke! Let’s have a poll for the next player to get arrested.

georgia123

September 3rd, 2010
11:14 am

I expect McGarity to get rid of Richt if he can’t get the team in line.

onecreditshort

September 3rd, 2010
11:15 am

Just like President Obama is finding out, it’s much easier to point out the problems than to solve them. Glad we have you on the job.

bo

September 3rd, 2010
11:16 am

just cancel the season. it’s that important. never mind the guy has not been convicted of anything.

Dawg Fud

September 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

No way McGarity gets rid of Richt. I don’t think that is a decision he would make unless the coach does something like the last AD did…

Enough is Enough!!

September 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

Since when did our recruiting trips start making stops at the county lockup?

Peadawg

September 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

Rest of Nation…you’re absolutely right. And this is coming someone who grew up a fan of, graduated from, and now works for UGA.

SouthGaDawg

September 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

Now you’re just being ridiculous Jeff. Look at the arrests. Besides the Mettenberger arrest, they’re small potatoes. They’re the type of arrests that happen to teenagers. Yes, this was a particularly dumb arrest, but it’s not like he stole his teamate’s dead girlfriend’s credit card (Florida), or mugged some people (Alabama), or committed burglary (Ole Miss). Give over on this.

Of course, it’s the day before kickoff of UGA’s season, so you needed to write an inflamatory piece about Georgia right?

bo

September 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

what does mcgarity know about discipline? are people suggesting that is a particular area of expertise he developed while at UF?

Saint Simons

September 3rd, 2010
11:18 am

UGA = THUGA !!!!!!!

Not Disappointed

September 3rd, 2010
11:20 am

You have to be kidding? Is this a bad labor day joke? I’m a jacket and I feel for Coach Richt! This is bad. Good luck except for one game in late November.

Rambline Wreck out!

Chris

September 3rd, 2010
11:20 am

Interesting an arrest warrant would be handed out over a $35 helmet, without having the matter resolved in one way or another before now. Something doesn’t add up.

But thanks to Kermit the Frog for telling us all about accountability.

Dawg Fud

September 3rd, 2010
11:20 am

bo,

i did not say he knew anything about discipline, I just said he would have to invoke it as part of his athletic department. it was not his shop at UF, it’s Jeremy Foley’s.

Ron Mexico

September 3rd, 2010
11:20 am

Does anyone have a total on the number of arrests during Richt’s tenure? This is not a one-year phenomenon. It has been an ongoing problem.

Loran whata ya got!

September 3rd, 2010
11:20 am

Which UGA mascot has the highest arrest record?

OldFan

September 3rd, 2010
11:21 am

Well said, Jeff. As a UGA alum, I’ve just about run out of the ability to laugh about this nonsense. There’s something rotten at the core of the program if this continues. Youthful high jinx and immature stupidity have their places, but this is becoming the emblem of our football team. Someone’s going to have to make the call on what’s really important to the institution.

Rich T

September 3rd, 2010
11:21 am

Good points all around, Jeff.

Chi Town

September 3rd, 2010
11:21 am

The Jawja program is such a joke.

Wonder if Saint Richt will do another backwards dive in the aquatic center now…

ed

September 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

Shultz,

This is a terrible article. What would you suggest doing? How about writing something with meaning?

Football Fan

September 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

Can we rename the Fulmer Cup the Richt Cup ??? I think he deserves it.

But of course...

September 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

Is anyone surprised? it is UGA after all….can we include the AD Evans as the tenth entry into the
Dream Team of Boo Dawg Morons arrested since March….why not…?

Pathetic program, pathetic school, pathetic apologists…

are you kidding me?

September 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

Katy bar the door.

Dawg Fud

September 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

hogs smell good,

UGA is laughable? Your coach is Bobby Petrino. Pipe down little piggy.

atlvol55

September 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

As much as I would like to bash on UGA or someone else’s school, Bradley, your article earlier this summer was dead on…it will happen to your school very soon too.

I go back and forth on these things. On the one hand, some coaches, and schools, don’t seem to have as many problems. However, on the other hand, the coaches can’t babysit 85 players, 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, a lot of the kids came from the ‘hood and didn’t have any discipline growing up. Therefore, you take them away from home, just like the thousands of other 18-19 year olds, and it spells disaster in many cases.

Wreckem

September 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

More player arrests than wins this year? Seems very likely. This is pathetic. As a GT fan and Alum, I’m getting tired of this lack of discipline. uga stop making it easier for us to make fun of you.

dawg football fan

September 3rd, 2010
11:23 am

What does UGA stand for???? U Get Arrested

saint simons' mom

September 3rd, 2010
11:23 am

probably a misunderstanding, schultz shutup. never thought i would dislike someone as much as terrence moore, but your just about there.

Schultz is a wuss

September 3rd, 2010
11:23 am

Schultz has had a hard on for Richt since Richt called him out at a press conference and hurt Schultz’s fragile lil ego. Since then this Techie looking idiot has been butthurt and bashes Richt at every opportunity. He sounds like a woman who was jilted. Did Mark really make you cry Jeff?

Bryan G.

September 3rd, 2010
11:23 am

This has got to stop. Gotta start making players more accountable.

PMC

September 3rd, 2010
11:24 am

In the grand scheme of things of course people put most of the blame on the head guy. It’s like that in any industry. That’s one reason they make so much money.

Essentially though, we do too poor a job explaining away and rationalizing poor behavior.

By the time you are 18 you know or you should be expected to know right from wrong and have a consience.

The flaw though is not the dicipline structure, manual labor and internal dicipline is much more effective than kicking a kid who is a moron off the team. All that’s going to do is leave that kid who did something stupid off to his own devices…on to do more stupid things.

His real issue is in recruiting. They’ve got to do a better job recruiting young men who want to go to college and learn understand their great fortune to earn a scholarship and become educated for free and then that they want to be football players.

Young people make mistakes, no question. At some point these guys are going to have to accept personal accountability and GROW UP! You are not a grown man until you accept responsibility for your place in the world and your actions in it.

J.B. stoner

September 3rd, 2010
11:24 am

Brown v. Board of Education.

hogs smell good

September 3rd, 2010
11:25 am

Good luck stopping us. I look forward to seeing the sad, drunk, redneck faces on Sept. 18.

Step up for your beatdown, fud. You’re next.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

September 3rd, 2010
11:25 am

really??? WTF!!! some of the arrests i can understand, but half are petty and pathetic charges. scooters, $35 helmet (does Alec even own a motorcycle), etc. I’m all full suspension when drugs & alcohol are involved, but some of this is purely petty

Wreckem

September 3rd, 2010
11:25 am

We can’t beat you in football so all we have to nake fun of you guys about is arrest.

UGA alumi that has not been arrested

September 3rd, 2010
11:25 am

UGA football program is a great feeder system for Attica !!!!

joe

September 3rd, 2010
11:25 am

Just like every other blogger (not journalist) at the AJC, you are ill-informed and just don’t get it. Richt is exactly right. There’d be a problem if he didn’t discipline these kids, which he does – and much more stringently than does his peers. It happens at every university – EVERY ONE OF THEM. Now, some do a better job of keeping it out of the papers, but it still happens. I’m not saying it’s right, but most of these incidents are alcohol related and I’ve got news for you – your kids, my kids, your neighbors kids – have or will do these things – the question is, will they get caught? The stealing I have an issue with, but in majority of cases, these guys are doing the same thing every other college kid is doing – they are just under the microscope So, get off of your high horse.

Bruce Mac

September 3rd, 2010
11:26 am

Jeff “There are little facts known” But go ahead and blow off your stupid mouth on the AJC blog anyway. Jeff, you are pathetic in your sensationalization of this event. And please don’t tell me you just woke up this morning and were going to produce this article regardless. You know absolutely nothing about the incident but you persist on blowing it up. I hope someday you are accused of something and you get fired immediately with no recourse. You are an idiot, period.

Jim Warren

September 3rd, 2010
11:26 am

Jeff, guess we should add “seer of the future” to head coaches responsibilities. You seem to feel that the head coach should KNOW what daily/weekly decisions will be made by those he recruits for the next four or five years. We don’t know all the facts or details yet, so as a journalist, how about keeping things level until the time it is appropriate rather than exacerbate them right out of the gate.

While I, too, share the concern about what appears to be a pattern, reason and circumspection should drive this, not rabble rousing pot-stirring.

And thanks for allowing me to use some “big words”.

are you kidding me?

September 3rd, 2010
11:26 am

Chris Oooooohhh sounds like a conspiracy to me to keep Ga from having enough players to dress out for the big game on Sat. Ooooooohhhh

Dawg Tired

September 3rd, 2010
11:26 am

It’s like this Jeff. Obviously there is a problem with kids getting in trouble. It’s as old as Cain and Able (well actually Adam and Eve). You are good at identyfying the obvious. The question Coach Richt is dealing with is: “How can you stop people from messing up?” When you see the answer to that, you will be on to something, which by the way, I think both Coach Richt and I actually know the answer. Sadly, you don’t seem to get this one.

HugoStiglitz

September 3rd, 2010
11:26 am

Good blog. Richt does need to take some responsibility for what has happened. One game suspensions in meaningless games is not going far enough in my opinion. He should evaluate his recruiting practices too. Their prize recruit coming in next year has already been suspended from his school for questionable behavior. With recruits like that the problem is not going to get better.

collegeballfan

September 3rd, 2010
11:26 am

Getting rid of Richt is not the problem. Putting some backbone in Richt may be the answer.

If discipline plan A does not work, like sitting Ealey for the LSU-La game, a plan B is needed. Sit Ealey for 4 games. And if that does not work, put him on the Scout team for the year. Scout team for a year will work.

Wreckem

September 3rd, 2010
11:27 am

Wreckem imposter, if you are gonna post as me atleast check your spelling.

DDPO

September 3rd, 2010
11:27 am

Finally, the biggest thanks go to none other than the University (sic) of Georgia. What an off season you’ve had! If there was an award for providing the best Off Season Entertaiment (The “Offy?”), you’d win it, hands down.

It started harmlessly enough. Most of us didn’t notice. You had your usual off season arrests. Bar fights, DUIs, suspended licenses, inability to read a “ONE WAY” sign or the expiration date on your drivers license, and the other offenses are common enough for UGA football players that it wasn’t a big deal. You slowly climbed the rankings (Fulmer Cup rankings), playing spoiler to some favorites, and flew under the radar. The arrests kept mounting. You scratched and clawed your way to the top. But, when it got close, one of your team leaders stepped up and delivered the game-changer. Washan, like another -shon, hurdled the opposition and put UGA on top of the Fulmer Cup rankings for good. He hit. He ran. You won.

But then, in a brilliant move that provided more great comedy than any off season event I can remember, your gifted AD, Damon Evans, gets busted for DUI. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my white and gold heart. But ol’ Damon didn’t just get a DUI. He got a DUI with a bimbo in the passenger seat and her panties in his lap. Genius…pure comedic genius. You can’t write fiction this good. When he tried to use your position to bribe his way out of the arrest, cried in front of the police officer, and made that pathetic press conference, I laughed harder than I did during the dinner prayer scene in Ricky Bobby.

And then, we have the coup-de-grace. UGA, a school with a reputation for a trashed campus on game day and deficating in your own library, tries to convince people you are cleaning up your act. Hey, let’s not call this game the World’s Greatest Cocktail party because we are a serious learning institution. Let’s clean up our campus! Let’s reduce student drinking! We are a good school, dammit, and we need to act like one! Well, you outkicked your coverage, UGA, and won the #1 Party School ranking for the first time in history. Years of work — years of being ranked in the top 3 party school and top 3 easiest schools — have finally paid off. You reached the top and are looking down on the rest of the college world with a beer in one hand and a pair of red panties in the other.

You, UGA, win the Offy. Congratulations!

RAMBLE ON!!!

September 3rd, 2010
11:28 am

Thanks for stating the obvious Jeff, being a transplant, you should have learned long ago, UGA only cares about winning football games.

They were cheating long before Jan Kemp ever came along.

Go Georgia Boozedawgs!!!

KevinM

September 3rd, 2010
11:28 am

Wow, from the former AD down…..

WhoCares, a lot of people have forgotten about that Cox incident. He is a living legend here…I guess you can preach it, but you don’t have to follow it.

Here’s hoping Richt works it out but it appears he isn’t making much progress over the last couple of years.