Nobody looks good here: A.J., UGA or the NCAA

A win over South Carolina without A.J. Green definitely would be sweeter. (Associated Press)

A win over South Carolina without A.J. Green definitely would be sweeter. (Associated Press)

In the wake of all the ranting and tweeting we UGA fans did yesterday about the NCAA hammering A.J. Green, probably the wisest thing we can do is focus on what Mark Richt told his team: The Bulldogs football program is bigger than any one player.

Sure, the loss of Green for the South Carolina game (and two more if the school’s appeal fails) will hurt. OK, it’s not as bad as losing your quarterback or both your tailbacks. As someone noted, Green probably only would have touched the ball five to 10 times in the game. But let’s face it, those could have been among the most important five to 10 touches, making the difference between a first down and punting, or between scoring a touchdown and having to settle for three points — or no points.

Green is a big-play guy and while I’m not selling Tavares King and Kris Durham short, it’s unfair to expect them to just “step up” and take his place. They’re good; he’s great.

Still, it’s a team sport, and a decidedly more troubled Georgia squad showed last year that it can do pretty well without A.J., managing to hang on and beat Auburn after he went out with injury, and beat Georgia Tech without him. And it wasn’t the loss of Green that cost the Dogs the Kentucky game. The Gamecocks write off the Georgia receiving corps minus Green at their own peril.

So, yes, the Dogs’ task in Columbia got a bit more difficult, and it was going to be tough enough as it was. But if they somehow prevail, the win will be a bit sweeter, won’t it?

As for Green, my feelings are decidedly mixed. It was a dumb move to sell that jersey, especially to an “agent,” because he knew it was wrong. When you break the rules knowingly, it’s certainly a little more than “a mistake in judgment.” He let his team down.

Back in the summer when Green was saying that all Aaron Murray had to do “just throw it. It don’t have to be a great ball; it can be whatever, and I can make a play on it,” we saw that as a confident player just stating the facts. Maybe we should have seen it as a player who’d become a bit too full of himself. Who maybe thought he was bigger than the team.

Life has a way of equalizing things, though, and so Green may miss a third of his junior (and probably last) college season.

UGA can sell his jersey, but A.J. Green can't. (University of Georgia Bookstore)

UGA can sell his jersey, but A.J. Green can't. (University of Georgia Bookstore)

And yet as culpable as he is, the situation definitely isn’t fair to Green. As others have pointed out, colleges make millions off their players and UGA sells replicas of Green’s jersey, but he can’t sell his own jersey. Yes, it’s the rule, and he knew it was the rule, but it’s just one more example of the hypocrisy that riddles college sports and the NCAA.

What’s even more unfair is the four-game suspension handed down by the NCAA, which UGA is rightly appealing. Bama player Marcell Dareus got suspended two games for flying to a party in Miami at an agent’s expense while Green got four games for selling his jersey. Both broke the rules, but somehow that doesn’t look like equal treatment.

The NCAA said it reduced Dareus’ punishment because of “mitigating circumstances.” Hopefully those amounted to more than just playing for the defending national champion.

Bottom line: If A.J. had gotten into a fight in a bar or driven drunk, he’d have missed fewer games, and that’s just ridiculous.

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222 comments Add your comment

Virginia DAWG

September 9th, 2010
12:57 pm

Think about his. If an employee of a company lost his/her ability to do their job through wrongful activities they would be terminated or at least put on leave without pay. Example: a delivery person or truckdriver gets a DUI and loses his license…can’t work, so can’t be paid. AJ isn’t working (playing in games) for 4 weeks. Maybe they should prorate his scholarship for this period.

Red

September 9th, 2010
12:57 pm

Leading the nation in arrested players, AD caught drunk & cheating, best player suspended for selling jersey & lying to NCAA (that is why it is 4 games). Had enough, friends. UGA football is an embarassment to any objective fan. Mark Richt is a good man….he cannot seem to inspire the same in his team. Will always support him, but UGA continues to allow the football program to define the public image of the school. We are better than this, but nobody knows because the football team is a disgrace. Undefeated seasons don’t mean a thing without character….ask Reggie Bush and USC.

Trent

September 9th, 2010
1:01 pm

Scott W: Poor AJ- you’ve got to be kidding me! It’s fans like you that condone or excuse this behavior that amaze me. AJ and the “9″ other players that somehow feel they are above the rules should be dismissed from the team. You don’t see 9-10 arrest in Gainsville, Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge, Austin do you? That’s the difference between us moving to the next level and those schools already being there….its called DISCIPLINE and that translates to GAMEDAY!

Delbert D.

September 9th, 2010
1:01 pm

From NCAA.org:

An appeal is NOT a new hearing that provides a second chance to argue the case. The Infractions Appeals Committee will reverse or modify a ruling of the Committee on Infractions only if the individual or school can prove one of the following:

The ruling by the Committee on Infractions was clearly contrary to the evidence;
The individual or school did not actually break NCAA rules;
There was a procedural error that caused the Committee on Infractions to find a violation of NCAA rules;
The penalty was excessive and is an abuse of discretion.
The Infractions Appeals Committee does not consider evidence that wasn’t presented to the Committee on Infractions.

Dostoyevskiy

September 9th, 2010
1:02 pm

I’m slow, so if I (now) understand it, selling the jersey was just a ruse to allow Green to collect one grand from an aspiring agent. Right? (or wrong?).

Former Midget Football Player

September 9th, 2010
1:03 pm

I used to play wide receiver for the Pop Warner Bulldawgs! I got to keep my jersey. I scored a touchdown once when I recovered a fumble in the end zone.

how2fish

September 9th, 2010
1:05 pm

Red lead the nation in arrested players..really how do you know? Get the info from the fools at the Fulmer Cup? The guys that don’t even list the 8 Notre Dame players arrested at the same party…do we have too many yes do we lead the nation..I damn sure doubt that .And was AJ arrested? Undefeated seasons don’t mean a thing without character….ask Reggie Bush and USC…are you mental..Bush and family reaped benefits from agents for years and the coaches knew about it…how in hell do you equate that with 1 player selling a jersey..he will pay for what he did and we will move on..

Dawg 39

September 9th, 2010
1:07 pm

I agree. Let Richt Go. The next coach will not win 90 games, 3 SEC East titles, & 2 SEC titles in the very competitive SEC during his first 9 years. He will also not have the graduation rate & GPA excellence that CMR has had.
It is time for the Dawgs to settle back to the mediocrity that they enjoyed from 1983 until CMR took over. This being competiive in every aspect of the program Is too nerve wrecking for this OLD DAWG.

bad apple dawg

September 9th, 2010
1:07 pm

AJ KNEW what he did . stop the excuses !

georgia87

September 9th, 2010
1:14 pm

So, he sold it on Ebay? How many of us have any idea what kind of person is on the other end of an Ebay transaction?

how2fish

September 9th, 2010
1:15 pm

Trent wow your a bigger idiot than yellow fuzzy…..how many arrest do you think have been made in G’ville in the last 3 years…its a lot..where most of them BS underage drinking beefs..yeppers..you calling CUM’s program out of control??

bad apple dawg

September 9th, 2010
1:20 pm

Georgia 87….. He broke a rule period. So now he faces the consequences. He made the decision to break a rule. It wasnt a mistake blind homers. Y’all need to quit blaming the NCAA. . AJ is at fault .

bad apple dawg

September 9th, 2010
1:27 pm

DAWG 39 ….Richty Richt aint the only coach out there that can Win at Georgia. Get a friggin life !

LMA

September 9th, 2010
1:28 pm

Great post by Jeff. I’ve actually met Coach Henderson a few times myself. Great individual. Did you play for him in Athens?

BG

September 9th, 2010
1:32 pm

4 games is way to extreme!! Why did the bama kid get 2 games and Green got 4? The bama kid got about 1800 compared to 1000 Green got. Something is wrong with this picture. Maybe, someone needs to check up on the NCAA!

how2fish

September 9th, 2010
1:33 pm

bad apple dawg you broke a rule you made a statement and didn’t back it up..what coaches and when could they start..what do you offer as proof that one they could win more than CMR and two they would come..until you can answer these questions grasshopper..go away!

yellowjacketjack

September 9th, 2010
1:34 pm

what everybody is missing is YES, the bookstore sells the #8 jersey for $39.99, but AJ sold his jersey for $1000. must be a nice jersey or simply an agent overpaying in order to get AJ to sign with him in NFL dealings

DawgNation

September 9th, 2010
1:41 pm

Can not wait till Saturday so we can move on and quit hashing over the same old stuff from blog to blog to blog.

Former D1 Football Player

September 9th, 2010
1:42 pm

Former D1 Athlete – actually the university gave the jerseys to AJ and the rest of the team after the Bowl Game. So actually it was his jersey. This is pretty standard for teams to do after a Bowl Game. You obviously didn’t play D1 football. What did you play Tennis?

Ed

September 9th, 2010
1:46 pm

Please don’t compare UGA to UF or any Florida school. Richt’s apparent attempt to emulate those programs is what got Georgia in this mess to begin with. Remember when Donnan got slammed for coddling Quincy Carter, a real lowlife? Quincy would just be one of the guys on Richt’s teams.

And it burns me up that Washaun Ealey is still a Bulldog. Being a traffic scofflaw or having an open container is one thing, but this guy is a THIEF, plain and simple. We can talk about what a wonderful guy Richt is all he wants, but the fact is he thinks that stealing someone else’s property is worth a one-game suspension against a joke of an opponent. Got to be at full strength for South Carolina, after all.

Lou Holtz once suspended his top two running backs before an Orange Bowl against a heavily favored Oklahoma team – for rules violations, not crimes. His 3rd-string back ran for more than 200 yards and Arkansas kicked the crap out of Oklahoma. That’s leadership, that’s the ability to inspire and motivate players, and Richt simply doesn’t have that.

Dawg Fed Up

September 9th, 2010
1:53 pm

I love the DAWGS….but I understand the anger at AJ and CMR…AJ knew better and CMR doesn’t have a zero tolerance policy against this type of BS.
Most GA fans want all this crap cleaned up and if that means accepting the suspension, droppping the appeal, even sitting him for the entire season, then fine by me. We can win without AJ – we have and we will – next year, we’ll have to. Don’t feel bad for AJ – he will still go in the 1st round and be a multi-millionaire less than a year from. But this is Big Business and my guess is we continue the appeal and the suspension gets reduced to 2 games…one served already.

Ferndolin

September 9th, 2010
1:54 pm

The holy NCAA operates like the fuedal system. The great prince issues commands, vests families with fifes, and off with his head (maybe or maybe not) any low-life who intentionally or unintentially defies the king. I do not agree with the notion that they are making examples of student athletes to avoid a blitzkrieg of violations. ‘Keep that finger in the dike, young man’, is their montra. But what do they care. Credibility means nothing to them. Bring it on they say. Really, the seemingly arbitrary nature of how these penalties are handed down, is cause for some real question asking, maybe evein finger pointing, heads rolling (?). What an idiotic and sef-serving organization. And there’s even a new King.

JW

September 9th, 2010
2:02 pm

Last week at the University Bookstore, they were selling game worn jerseys from the Florida game last year for 175.00 and the red and black helments for 300.00????????????

Bill

September 9th, 2010
2:13 pm

Much ado about nothing. Folks…you better start worrying about the nation going broke.

cliff

September 9th, 2010
2:14 pm

Not sure if anything happened when Alabama players were caught selling large number of textbooks? Did NCAA investigate or was it hushed up.
Was that the incident where they gave up games?

dan

September 9th, 2010
2:17 pm

UGA just needs to proceed as if they aren’t going to have AJ this year. AJ might as well just go ahead and start getting ready for the NFL draft like Dez Bryant did last year, especially if the NCAA is going to continue to be horsesa$$es about this jersey thing. I mean 4 games is 1/3 of a season, and at this point there is no guarantee that there won’t be more.

UGA is already a young team that is in rebuild mode, and Murray and Mason will have to develop chemistry with their other receivers after this year anyway. So I think Richt should just tell AJ to go ahead and declare for the draft and move on with the guys that are actually playing for him. Let the young guys get their reps./take their lumps and build for the next few years.

wildbill

September 9th, 2010
2:21 pm

How many more “mistakes of judgment” comments will be made to the media before the higher ups at UGA or the Board of Regents take notice and take charge themselves. Excuses, and parsing of words will not work here. McGarity and/or CMR must take positive action or they lose their credibility right along with their players.

DDT

September 9th, 2010
2:21 pm

Whats going on in the SEC? Players that talk like some kind of idiots that can’t speak english, could not pass a test unless someone else gives them the answers, can’t drive a car or scooter, beat up off-duty cops, can’t understand the rules of the game, worried about a few dollars so they can buy some bling, new rims for their ride or have a better crib than a dorm. Now another stupid thing to make the SEC look like a bunch of backwoods tards, the Vols head coach is teaching his players how to take a bath or shower since they dont know how to wipe their own butt or brush their teeth. My God, where were these players raised and why would anyone want them to play for their team. Lets all hang our head in shame!! This goes for all SEC teams.

uga_b

September 9th, 2010
2:25 pm

I would just like to point out something to all the people who view this indentured servitude as a working arrangement. Yes they get scholarships. However, unlike you at your job where you can profit off your position and title for things like securing speaking engagements, the college players cannot make any money based on their status. I am sure the NCAA president can command a large honararium to come speak somewhere based on being the NCAA president when not on official business.

There is a slight abrogation of freedom which AJ voluntarily entered into and violated. But it is not like a working arrangement.

run the ball

September 9th, 2010
2:27 pm

Why is it a given that AJ will not come back next year? Did he come to GA to just get paid? Did he come to GA to help win a BCS Trophy? I know everyone will think I’m crazy for saying this, but…AJ consider your senior season as an opportunity to win a NC with a fan base that will forever love you for it (even if you fail). Think about how sick we would be next year if all of our Juniors stayed. I think I’m going to start a web-site. PleaseStayAJ.com

RedcoatSousa

September 9th, 2010
2:27 pm

Ed,

The team dances on the sidelines during timeouts because we Redcoats are owning the airwaves. They can’t help themselves, and shouldn’t be blamed for it

uga_b

September 9th, 2010
2:28 pm

Another intemperate question: If someone on an academic scholarship is offered a signing bonus from a company recruiter in their junior year are they required to sit out classes and repay the money?

jimmy mack

September 9th, 2010
2:31 pm

the whole thing is unfair.two games for a $4000.00 trip 4 games for a$1000.00 jersey,no sense at all

BR

September 9th, 2010
2:32 pm

The Nerds don’t have a blog, if they did they’d stay off the UGA ones… Honestly, what is there to discuss when it comes to their pathetic team?

On that note, I agree with Jeff. I am a life long Dawg fan and graduated from UGA in 1995. I have been a season ticket holder since 2001, and my parents have been since 1967. Mark Richt HAS to do something about these players. A.J. Green is one thing (stupid, but nothing that warranted a four game suspension), but players like Ealey and Ogletree making STUPID decisions. It may take kicking a few off the team to wake the others up.

B5

September 9th, 2010
2:35 pm

Had this been a player from USC or Notre Dame, they would have gotten a ruling two weeks ago AND a two game suspension, MAXIMUM.

DDT

September 9th, 2010
2:38 pm

If the NCAA really wants to get the SEC players attention and punish them, dont make them sit out a few football games. What a joke, kind of like putting a kid in time-out for 10 minutes. Make them go to class, study and pass their exams without any help! That will put the fear of God in them.

erika

September 9th, 2010
2:41 pm

barneyb

September 9th, 2010
2:41 pm

Yes, there is disparity in treatment with the sanctions handed down by the NCAA. They are crooked in their own right, and trying desperately to stay relevant when we just wish they would crawl back under the rock from wence they came. And you can make an argument about everyone making money off the backs of the players, who are hamstrung by some really petty rules. And yes, I know that the overwhelming majority of college players will NEVER make it in the pros. And the majority of them probably never complete their degree. Which makes them unmarketable in most high paying white collar professions.

That said, bottom line is this:
These young men know this going into college. They are given a free ride- tuition, fees, books, room, and board. they experience things and get treated that no one else will ever get. Additionally, they are given a venue and an audience every fall Saturday to show their skills to the world. Talk about the ultimate job interview!

Many come from lower income backgrounds, have poor role models, and the adulation and lure of easy money is difficult to resist when you’re 18, have poor impulse control, and no accountability.
But at some point, we all have to be held accountable for our own actions, and stop deflecintg responsibility. That’s part of being an adult, and a productive member of society. We all have to abide by rules, laws, regulations, and just an overall sense of being a decent human being. the sense of entitlement they posess is cultivated at a young age if they show any degree of talent.

The program at UGA is out of control. I don’t care if they are mostly minor infractions- it doesn’t matter. I don’t care if a player needs money for date night or whatever. You signed on to do a job and abide by the rules. When you break the rules, the punishment should be severe as to create a “chilling effect” to discourage others. No respect or fear for Coach Richt, this is what you get. If you get caught jaywalking, don’t cry that it was the po-po targeting them or just coming down hard on the students in town. Act like a fool, we will treat you like one. You are an employee of UGA, and you are expect to conduct yourself in a manner that is not unbecoming to your employer.

The world of Sports is broken. The NCAA system is broken. Athletics at UGA is broken. However, until it is fixed, you know the rules- abide by them or get out. There’s plenty of blame to go around. But the buck stops with AJ Green. Good riddance, you punk. You and the rest of your buddies that took a walk on the wild side let everybody down. Best of luck to all of you pumping gas or bagging groceries; that’s if you all grow up and pursue a lawful profession.

dawgster

September 9th, 2010
2:44 pm

Frank Stallone

September 9th, 2010
2:44 pm

D1 Athlete –

The jersey was in fact owned by A.J. and not by UGA. Players are allowed to keep their bowl jerseys for themselves so, after the bowl game, the jersey was A.J.’s property. He didn’t sell UGA’s jersey, he sold his own. Just wanted to clarify your argument, although I think you’re missing the point anyways.

Dirty Dawg

September 9th, 2010
2:44 pm

Everybody seems so certain that SC’s gonna kick our butts…many of the, so-called, experts on the new cable-sports shows have picked SC across the board to beat us even before the AJ suspension announcement. Good. Of course the ‘old-ball-coach’ ain’t fallin’ for the predictions, I think he knows that this Georgia defense ain’t like your daddy’s and you can be sure he’s got some ‘ace’s up his hole’ to overcome it. Having said that, I believe that Mr. Grantham’s got the athletes to cover the contingencies – the screens, the drags, the give-and-goes – and will give Mr. Garcia a lickin’ comparable only to the one they’ll give young Mr. Lattimore. The defense, combined with a strong running attack, a QB that won’t be rattled by the crowd – Noon ain’t night in Columbia – and a special teams superiority that very well could mean the difference in the outcome…at least that’s what I’m hoping.

JP

September 9th, 2010
2:46 pm

I am a Gator fan, but I take no joy in seeing a guy suspended. I think the NCAA will knock the suspension to 2 games, and UGA will beat USCw without Green.

dw

September 9th, 2010
2:47 pm

barneyb, I think you just nailed it. Congrats!!!!

dawgster

September 9th, 2010
2:50 pm

Former Div 1 Player…the jersey that AJ sold actually does belong to him it was part of the gifts he and other players received at last years bowl game…check it out if don’t believe it…the problem was that he sold it to someone that may qualify as an agent or someone acting on behalf of an agent…With that being said, i think the penalty was harsh if you compare it to other incidents similar to this…of course there may be more to the story than we do know, but from what we know it appears that they are trying to make an example out of AJ..My question what about the Bama playere going not once, but twice to Miami, and yes maybe he was forthcoming, but two trips?…
The Univ. of Georgia and their lawyers need to make sure in their appeal that the NCAA has and is being consistant when they hand out these rulings….

Red and Black Thru and Thru

September 9th, 2010
2:51 pm

Four games? I could see maybe the first two minutes of the first quarter of a game, but four games? So he sold a jersey. Big deal. All of us sell an item of clothing on ebay and get a thousand big ones. And lying? Heck, all of us fib a little once in a while.

What say we just honor him before the kickoff in Columbia and let it go at that? Besides, I want us to win that game real, real bad.

Pago Pago Dawg

September 9th, 2010
2:51 pm

This is simple…this guy let his team down! No excuse for this!!!

Dawg Tell

September 9th, 2010
2:59 pm

barneyb—Love the comments.I wish Richt would post these in the locker room where all players can read them.In fact I will try to email this to the AD office. Bill ,you can send this to Richt through your contacts—Do it please!!!!

Blondie

September 9th, 2010
2:59 pm

He gets a free education and free on the job training – so why shouldn’t the University make some money off him in return to pay for that and then some? He’ll likely be a millionaire within five years, so remind me… why should I feel sorry for his inability to follow the rules and be grateful for the career boost in exchange for one more season?

What’s more, he didn’t admit this up front. He denied any involvement with agents and let the lawyers try to get him off the hook. He’s sorry he got caught. If he’d come forward and said, “Yes, I sold a jersey and I knew it was wrong. I’m sorry.” – they probably would have just suspended him for a game or two. It’s the fact that he wasn’t forthcoming about the offense that probably made the NCAA come down harder. And they should too. It instills the fear of God in players to not step out of line. Fame and fortune await you if you just follow the rules for three years – how hard is that?

Dawg 39

September 9th, 2010
3:06 pm

bad apple dawg. I have a frigging life.
I have also been attending Dawg games since Butts was the coach. If CMR goes 9 & 4 or better this year he will have sucessfully completed the best ten year run in the history of UGA football. That works for me & yes I do believe that there is not another coach out there who can do better at UGA than CMR. CMR is the best HC the Dawgs have ever had & the next one will Not be as sucessful as CMR has been. End of conversation.

Red Panties

September 9th, 2010
3:24 pm

If Richt is such a great coach, why don’t other schools come after his assistants———-answer, they DON”T. Elite programs like Bama and the Gators and LSU have other
schools trying to get their coaches, nobody wants Richt’s assistants.

Richt had to go to his 4th choice, just to get a DC, Bama, VT, LSU and SC (quitely)
turned him down and it’s not because Georgia isn’t a great school (it is), these coaches
see the discipline problems that Richt continues to tolerate and they don’t want any part
of that.