Damage for Georgia Tech’s future should be limited

NCAA sanctions can't change this picture for Paul Johnson (or reality).

NCAA sanctions can't change this picture (or reality).

A few random thoughts while Georgia Tech fans try to wrap themselves around the fact the Yellow Jackets officially never won the 2009 ACC championship. (Yeah, whatever.)

1. Damage for the future should be limited.

It’s going to be painful when Tech returns the ACC championship trophy to the conference. But really, what does it mean? The problem with the NCAA forcing a team to vacate victories as a penalty is it’s just a symbolic gesture. The games have been played. The revenue has been generated (and spent). Tech beat Clemson 39-34 for the title and moved on to the Orange Bowl. Done. The NCAA put Tech on four years probation but is not stripping the football program of any scholarships, limiting recruiting or banning bowl appearances. Coach Paul Johnson can’t advertise his conference championship but it doesn’t lessen him as a coach to recruits.

2. More fallout isn’t likely

A few readers have asked  if I believe athletic director Dan Radakovich is in trouble because of this and whether he may lose his job. I don’t think so. Radakovich fell on the sword on a little Thursday but he also denied that he or anybody at the school intentionally tried to obstruct the NCAA’s investigation, which is what led to most of the penalties. There was a strange mix of remorse and anger in the room at Thursday’s news conference. But I never got a sense that there was a division between Radakovich and Tech president G.P  “Bud” Peterson, who ultimately signed off on wide receiver Demaryius Thomas playing the last three games of 2009. Tech’s general counsel (retired) and compliance officer (left) at the time of the infractions and investigation are gone. Peterson also alluded to a changes in the athletic department’s structure. I sense that will be the extent of the fallout.

3. Did the punishment fit the crime?

Repeating: It’s an oversimplification to say Tech lost the ACC title because one player allegedly received $312 worth of clothing. Dennis Thomas, who chairs the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions, conceded it might’ve been a secondary infraction if school representatives had acted more professional during the investigation. That said, there obviously are MUCH worse things going on in college athletics right now, and if the NCAA doesn’t slam programs Ohio State, Oregon and North Carolina for infractions far more blatant than what Tech did, something is wrong.

4. Something we’ll never know …

Radakovich is a competitive guy. Johnson is a competitive guy. The 2009 season was shaping up as one of Tech’s biggest in years. The Jackets maintain that they would’ve declared Thomas ineligible if they believed he might’ve committed an infraction but were convinced otherwise. Here’s the issue: At the time of the interviews with the NCAA, Tech had its three biggest games coming up: Georgia, the ACC championship and potentially a BCS  bowl game. It’s reasonable to speculate they might’ve been more cautious if the stakes weren’t so high. Peterson only admitted that, in hindsight, Tech should’ve declared Thomas ineligible and immediately sought reinstatement from the NCAA, hoping for a quick resolution.

5. What next for basketball?

Could things possibly get worse for the basketball program? New coach Brian Gregory inherits a program that not only slipped under Paul Hewitt, it’s on probation. Again, the violation was minor: A grad assistant helped run an AAU tournament on campus. The sanctions: Two fewer recruiting days during the summer period; a limit of 10 official visits for two seasons; no complimentary tickets for high school coaches and individuals associated with recruits for the first home game of next season (self-imposed). The penalties are minor. But it’s not exactly the morale boost the program was hoping for.

By Jeff Schultz

In case you missed . . .

Punishment severe but Georgia Tech made its own mess

Chipper Jones doesn’t want to let another October pass without him

Is it good news that Tereshinski prompted Georgia player to quit?

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

178 comments Add your comment

JackDennis

July 15th, 2011
10:29 am

Tech should have a $179,688 credit. Long way to go to top Auburn..

superDawg

July 15th, 2011
10:31 am

reduced to cheaters.

David from Athens, AL

July 15th, 2011
10:31 am

Thanks for the recap! Hope Tech has a good season this year! GO Jackets!

superDawg

July 15th, 2011
10:31 am

Delbert D.

July 15th, 2011
10:32 am

How does this affect the attitude of the team?

Ozzy

July 15th, 2011
10:38 am

All this for not bending over for the NCAA for a $312 investigation? Really?

Next time they’ll kiss that ring like good subjects should. If the NCAA would have come out and said – “don’t play those two players” at the time – this would be a secondary violation. The whole thing is fricken stupid as heck.

The NCAA and the BCS need to be abolished. Pinheaded money grabbers is all they are.

Jerry

July 15th, 2011
10:39 am

So now the past three GT coaches have been involved in “major infraction” cases in the past decade…sigh :(

http://coachesbythenumbers.com/coach-rankings/?reportId=22

JackDennis

July 15th, 2011
10:39 am

Agree with Ozzy. That’s all they is.

Siddy

July 15th, 2011
10:41 am

Mad as hell and ain’t gonna take any more (clothes ) if I think I’ll get caught.

George Stein

July 15th, 2011
10:44 am

Please enlighten us on what major violation Johnson was involved in, Jerry.

Gatorman

July 15th, 2011
10:46 am

I’m not making excuses for any illegal action that allows a college an unfair advantage. However, an SEC school that starts with an “A” buys a prize player to win a national championship for who knows how many hundreds of thousands and is cleared, the NCAA comes down on tech football player that received some clothes from his cousin. I see the NCAA is on top of their game. The college presidents really need to eliminate this organization from any contact with their schools, and establish one that answers to a board with a representative from each football conference. It’s obvious the NCAA is out of control, biased and unable to be fair across the full spectrum of schools it represents.

George Stein

July 15th, 2011
10:47 am

I also can’t understand the idea that somehow Tech cheated. I am also a bit amused by the idea that the people saying we cheated are the same people who complained about how misguided the NCAA was last year after Green got suspended.

goldwreck

July 15th, 2011
10:47 am

I was reminded by a Georgia friend of Thomas dropping that pass
that any other time he would have caught.That may have been the difference in that game.So if Thomas doesn’t play maybe the backup
catches the pass and Tech wins.

Ozzy

July 15th, 2011
10:49 am

As long as that back up wasn’t named “Skillet Hands Hill”.

George Stein

July 15th, 2011
10:50 am

Eh, can’t agree with that, goldwreck. Remember Hill had gotten hurt on 2nd down (I think) and if our receivers have proven anything, it’s that catching anything is something they struggle with.

Heavy Dawg Walkin'

July 15th, 2011
10:51 am

Chin up, nerds. At least there will be much more elbow room at your little stadium this fall.

I’d buy you all a Coke if they weren’t already free on gameday.

George Stein

July 15th, 2011
10:52 am

Ha! Agreed, Ozzie. I am cautiously optimistic about him improving this year, though.

buzzfarts

July 15th, 2011
10:52 am

what a great program, well it is something to be proud of. lets see, what am i trying to say? oh i remember—karma gets back to you dont ya think?

JB

July 15th, 2011
10:53 am

I said it all yesterday( in jest). Tech, do like the University of Georgia has done, After Kemp, Harrick, D. Evans. Learn from it, chin up and become a better run program. The pressure to win with multi million dollar contracts for coaches and scum trying to make a dollar off a player is everywhere. Sorry for yesterday, but you know, if it was us…well, you know…good luck this season.

Big Macon DAWG

July 15th, 2011
10:53 am

Again, you got spanked because the NCAA doesn’t perceive you as a cash-cow-money-maker that lines their pocket$.

Ohio State on the other hand??? We can wait and see. But I don’t beleive the NCAA is going to cut off the hand that feed$ them.

Sorry Tech fans. But you got hosed.

Rick

July 15th, 2011
10:53 am

Tech lies and cheats… It’s one thing to cheat like Auburn and win the NC, but to cheat and go 5-6, 7-4 etc, is just poor management.

In other words, Auburn spent their money wisely. It’s all in the budgeting and use of resources or the university and alumni and street agents etc.

George Stein

July 15th, 2011
10:54 am

Time to come up with some new material, Heavy. You’re no different than the idiot Tech fans who call your whole team thugs and all your fans rednecks. Grow up already.

George Stein

July 15th, 2011
10:57 am

Yes, we know, JB. Yellow Fuzz and his type would be all over it.

Which makes a lot of the UGA fans doing it no different.

JB

July 15th, 2011
10:59 am

Rick, not even close to the same thing. I will say after talking to some of my Tech friends this AM, it’s more of an embarrassment than anything, except the 100K. No bowl,TV or player restrictions.

GTBrad

July 15th, 2011
10:59 am

Although the immediate consequences may not seem so bad (to some people, atleast), the integrity of the program as a whole has been damaged and that might be the biggest downside of all when it comes to the future of the program. I hope that’s not the case… Jerry, have teams with NCAA violations like these bounced back relatively quickly or is Tech tainted for seasons to come?

Greg

July 15th, 2011
11:01 am

THe ncaa is a joke and bedford is right. Clothes? Are you kidding me? When the word he received clothes was uttered to the ncaa, they should have said ok. Move on. Clothes. What a total joke this has become. Cars money expensive jewelry I get. Clothes? Well he received a pair of jeans and two polo shirts. Holy cow! Let’s investigate! Heck get someone involved to get the ncaa off the backs. I see no reason why tech reacted the way they did. It’s freaking garments. This is the dumbest thing I’ve heard of and it never should have even been looked at. Hell I went to target last week and bought about $100 in clothes, mostly childrens. $300 is nothing. It’’s a freaking cheap suit at J A B.

George Stein

July 15th, 2011
11:02 am

Bedford was awesome, Greg.

GTBrad

July 15th, 2011
11:03 am

Sorry I meant to address my question to Schulz…

JB

July 15th, 2011
11:03 am

Greg, it wasn’t the clothes. The NCAA felt Tech dissed them. Way too much power.

wes

July 15th, 2011
11:06 am

Tech will appeal. The only thing Thomas kept was a used pair of tennis shoes (valued at $45). There were no agents involved at all.

Jeff, have you read GT’s official reaction to this? If so, what are the chances of the penalties being less than they currently stand?

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 15th, 2011
11:06 am

I’m not even mad anymore. We’re still about to have a great season. Way to increase the chip-on-my-shoulder rage among our players, though. Bedford’s pissed, and that ENTIRE team respects him despite him not being on campus anymore. You can be we’re taking it ALL out on the field this season. SO much bulletin board material for the coaching staff to use here. Thing is, we should be able to back it up, too. Same great offense – now with a D-line and some mean linebackers. Watch us surprise some folks.

GO JACKETS!

bucket

July 15th, 2011
11:11 am

I am no Tech apologist, but this is why the NCAA investigation/enforcement system needs to change. All they had to do was tell Tech to suspend the players they were investigating to avoid future punishment. But they leave schools in limbo land and then try to drop the hammer later. This is why the Green situation was so frustrating last year for UGA. If he plays in some of those games theres a chance UGA’s season would have turned out a lot better. For some to say that Tech should have sat Thomas and asked NCAA to reinstate him – what are the chances that Thomas would have been reinstated as quickly as Newton was last year? Tech gets in trouble because they didn’t suspend a player who allegely received a little over $300 in benefits and Auburn has a player reinstated in 1 day whose daddy was shopping him for over $180,000! Yeah that makes sense NCAA.

Bradford

July 15th, 2011
11:14 am

What I want to know is who is the clothes police? Did they collect a hangar as evidence? Or was it a macy’s box? Who rats out on clothes? Hey he got some fine linens for $312. Let’s inform the ncaa. This has got to be the dumbest case I’ve ever read and I see why gt would have laughed at the ncaa. Appeal this stupid decision.

T3

July 15th, 2011
11:16 am

One fact that seems to be getting repeatedly overlooked is that GT contacted
the ACC for guidance and the ACC gave GT their assessment and gave GT clearance
to play Thomas.

I hope GT will appeal this ruling.

The NCAA has become a self-serving, money-extorting rogue entity
that no longer serves thepurpose it was designed to serve and needs
to be dramatically reformed.

Not @ Kohls

July 15th, 2011
11:18 am

Hey Techies, come on in to Kohls… We have a surplus of 2009 ACC Chumps shirts on sale for $3.12, bwahahahhahahahaahahaaaaaa!

Greg

July 15th, 2011
11:18 am

I get that. And I would diss them too. In fact I would give them a 1 finger salute too. All tech fans players staff should take all their old cothes and collect them and give them to the morons who felt this was so serious that it warranted an investigation.

macrotech

July 15th, 2011
11:20 am

superDawg, we ALL know that the written language is tough for you (based on your inability to put a coherent sentence together). With that in mind, we’ll understand that you think this is about Tech ‘cheating’. Wipe your chin…you JUST dribbled ignorance again.

Sonny Clusters

July 15th, 2011
11:20 am

We was always disposed to Clemson but that was because of the landscape program there. We also looked at engineering at Tech but we thought the library was too small and too close to the tunnel. Anyway, we are sorry to see this happen and we hope things get better for Tech soon. If we had played ball on Grant Field we would have caused heart attacks in the East stands where all the old people sit and that would have been tragic.

PerimeterCenterJacket

July 15th, 2011
11:20 am

Not @ Kohl’s: That is genuinely funny. Good job. I hate seeing Tech getting made fun of, but when it’s good it’s good. Props.

Greg

July 15th, 2011
11:21 am

Bucket. Clothes are not a benefit. That’s why they have clothing drives and collections for the needy. Clothes are a necessity. Just like food. Dumbest ruling the ncaa has ever made. F em.

Okefenokee Dawg

July 15th, 2011
11:26 am

The thing that Tech must worry about in the future is that they are one step away from that dreaded double secret probation.

F*cking A

July 15th, 2011
11:26 am

I’m sure they’ll throw and * next to their 2009 ACC banner… No big deal.

juvenal

July 15th, 2011
11:26 am

for the daaugs-we say thwg cuz we don’t CARE what you say(or think, when applicable)–fine we’re bad, give the kids fatigues or yellow jump suits(solves the clothing issue), don’t get mad at nzaa, get even-on the field…….

Woody Piper

July 15th, 2011
11:27 am

Memo to ncaa

July 15th, 2011
11:34 am

better go back and look at store surveliance cameras at belk in clemson in 09. Spiller was there with someones credit card buying some hanes undies and some shirts. That’s a violation!

Buckeye

July 15th, 2011
11:36 am

TIME OUT… TIME OUT…. TIME OUT

Just had a Prime Time Deion Sanders siting at Dicks/Northpoint. Man, the dude has skinny calves.

Bill

July 15th, 2011
11:36 am

Let the Georgia trolls have their fun. By mid-October they will be screaming for Richt’s head and having to put up with all the Tech trolls on their blogs.

Jason

July 15th, 2011
11:36 am

tech fans should drive to ncaa headquarters of the office where the idiots who made this ruling and take off all their clothes and walk in naked to show them what exactly it is they punished them for.

Heavy Dawg Walkin'

July 15th, 2011
11:38 am

Uh-oh, I think I hurt someone’s feelings!

Sonny Clusters

July 15th, 2011
11:42 am

This is easier than you think. The NCAA doesn’t want the student athlete to get the clothes so that the student athlete won’t sell the clothes.