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

Jeffro Bodeen

September 9th, 2010
3:31 pm

This punishment for a trivial infraction is brought to you by BEN DOVER!! Motion seconded by his brother BO!

Dawg_Mike

September 9th, 2010
3:33 pm

A J Is not staying for his Senior year. Anyone that thinks he is suddenly going to feel he betrayed the Bulldog Nation better wake up. Yes, there might be an NFL lockout but by the time the lockout occurs, he will have already been drafted, signed and the bonus money will be in the bank…all $25 or $30 million of it.

What would YOU do?

dawgster

September 9th, 2010
3:35 pm

Paga Paga Dawg…I don’t think AJ let his team down…from what i hear they will continue to support him unlike some of the fare weather fans that are only true dawg fans when things are rosy…AJ let himself down…the dawgs are bigger than one player…Yes we are probably a better team with him, but we have other scholarship atheletes who now have an opportunity to step it up…We don’t know what AJ’s reasons were for doing this, maybe it was selfish, maybe he just wanted a little money of his own, maybe his family needed it…but we don’t know his reasons, although so many on here think they do…but to me, to come on here and say “No excuse for this”, well thats just wrong and just shows you how some are taking this as a personal attack against the university…We supported this young man when he committed early to us and despite pressure to stay in SC, he remained loyal to the dawgs, we cheered him for his unbelievable catches, but now it seems people want to dismiss this young man for, yes, making a silly, or stupid mistake, take your pick…but to bash him and act like its something that none of us would have done, if we knew all the circumstances, then that is just wrong…Let him serve his punishment and then cheer for him when he gets back on the field…I can promise you his teammates will…..

Red Panties

September 9th, 2010
3:35 pm

The Vegas line has moved, SC giving the dawgs 3 1/2 points, I guess Greene was
only worth 1/2 point.

Dawghater

September 9th, 2010
3:36 pm

You have 18, 19 and 20 year old kids. They see what happens around them. CMR takes one game agains ULL from Easley for reckless driving, without a license and underage drinking in his car. One game! AJ Green get $1000 from an agent and everyone makes it sound like he was just selling a jersey on the Internet. Yes, even selling a jersey is a violation no matter the cost. Yet, AJ was getting a bribe from an agent. And UGA’s response is sit him out in a meaningless game and then appeal the NCAA’s punishment. When at UGA there isn’t any punishment. If UGA has an important game coming up you might see a kid sit for a quarter or for much harsher punishment a half. If you want discipline and mean really, then suspend someone for a year and make them red shirt and sit out. Kids pay attention to what goes on around them. If they think they can get away with something, THEY WILL! Yep, the sport is more important than the morals and rules in Athens and that’s why we will continue to read stories like this one. Right Damon Evans!

Dawg_Mike

September 9th, 2010
3:37 pm

By the way, A J does not meet the definition of a Damn Good Dawg.
Neither did Stafford or Moreno. They were here to showcase their above average talents for the NFL and it worked.
When I think of Damn Good Dawgs, I think of people like Logan Gray who would never have the talent but he has hung in there, done what was asked of him and put the team above his own self interests.

Dawg_Mike

September 9th, 2010
3:38 pm

…and Kris Durham.

Dawg_Mike

September 9th, 2010
3:38 pm

Pollack, Greenie, etc…

See the difference???

DIT

September 9th, 2010
3:39 pm

It just totally cracks me up with the techies and their “red panties” comments. They are so juvenile! They act as if they are 9 years old and have heard the words for the 1st time. Every time one of them posts “red panties” they probably giggle like a couple school girls. You wonder why people make fun of some of the techies on here and are called nerds. Well, there you have it. I do appreciate some of the other tech posters on here that do stay civil.

CMR is a great coach. Gt knows it better than anyone else with his 8-1 record against them. That’s why you want him gone.

catlady

September 9th, 2010
3:39 pm

Cummon, guys, a 4 game suspension for a $1000 bribe is pretty generous!

DIT

September 9th, 2010
3:42 pm

As for AJ. The fault is on him 100%. He knew better and did it anyways. 4 games is generous.

barneyb

September 9th, 2010
3:42 pm

Kudos, Dawg_Mike. Well said!

Dawghater

September 9th, 2010
3:44 pm

The problem is CMR is a good man and a good coach. He’s just influenced by a bunch of loser boosters

Dawghater

September 9th, 2010
3:45 pm

Hey Dawg Mike – you might want to pick a player or former player who actually has done SOMETHING!

Red Panties

September 9th, 2010
3:46 pm

Spurrier is tied for 3rd for most SEC victories (105), a win over Georgia will move him onto a tie for 2nd with Ole Miss HC John Vaught(106). Oh, BTW the coach he was tied with at 105, none other than Vince Dooley. Ironic isn’t it, kinda like Tebow breaking Walker’s rushing TD record against Georgia last year.

DIT

September 9th, 2010
3:47 pm

Dawghater(nerd) How about David Pollack who was 4-0 against tech

i'm betting he didn't come clean

September 9th, 2010
3:58 pm

if you lie or plead the 5th to delay the investigation – the penalty increases

ask dez !

Dawg_Mike

September 9th, 2010
3:59 pm

@ Dawghater-

I believe Greenie and Pollack did quite a lot, but then again showing mental toughness, resolve, determination and the ability to be a team player seems about right.
Oh, and stay out of trouble too.

Dawg_Mike

September 9th, 2010
4:03 pm

If I have to splain it then you never would have known what it meant in the first place.

Dance's With Whiskey

September 9th, 2010
4:06 pm

I’m just confused about how the Bama Player said as soon as he got to the party and found out it was agent related he “called the coach and they called the NCAA” Did they let him on the plane without somebody buying a ticket? Did he get picked up by some random that said “hey come on out to this party we are having?”

whiskeydawg

September 9th, 2010
4:06 pm

Green broke the rules, let his team down, and deserves to be punished. The schools and the NCAA have every right to collect money from the selling of merchandise, players do not. The money collected by schools from selling jerseys, hats, or anything else, goes towards a school’s general fund and the athletic programs. If the NCAA were to allow individual players to sell their jerseys or anything else, it would become a free for all and revenue which helps support the very program which is providing them a tuition free college education is diminished. As for the punishment of Green, 4 games is too severe considering what the NCAA has given out to offenses which seem on the surface worse than what A.J. did. Finally, I say to A.J. Green, if you want to make amends to your team, finish your education and play your senior year.

Nothing but the truth

September 9th, 2010
4:09 pm

Aren’t we all a bunch of hypocrites? In America, the land of the free, we have decided that for our entertainment pleasure young men must first attend certain universities in order to have a chance to make a living playing professional football. We expect these young men to work their tails off and risk career ending injury before having any opportunity for compensation. We ask them to negotiate a social climate that often requires far more financial resources than their families can access. We want them to behave like perfect gentlemen at an age in which decision making is developmentally suspect. We want this so we can cheer for old State U., and when victorious, sneer at the defeated school down the street and proclaim that our “men” are superior to their “men”.

Get rid of athletic scholarships at academic institutions. Let the NFL develop young men into professional football players. Don’t force young men to participate in a monopolistic system that effectively forces them to provide entertainment for these universities and provide income for these universities (and the NCAA). Don’t ask these young men to insert a dangerous four year internship period into their professional development that prohibits them from participating in the entertainment free market while incurring risk of serious career ending injury.

We should all be ashamed.

bjohndawg

September 9th, 2010
4:12 pm

Wait…Here is a scene for you…..I am a player that has a car valued at $1,000….a whoopdee if you will. But I get someone that loves the program to ” buy” it for $3,000. Is the NCAA going to crack down on that. Understand you could sale ” any item one owns” to anyone. Does the NCAA regulate that?

1. If the young man cannot sell, does he really own it?
2. Four games, come on….I could understand one game, maybe two…but four? Forget what the Alabama player got, four games is excessive.

That said, while the “rule” is busted on its creators are on crack, AJ knows the rules, and he will ultimately have to play the freight on this one.

But in reality, these players are little more than slaves.
The schools put their names on the back of their jerseys( not all schools but some) and they sell them online and in bookstores and across the country.
The coaches make them wear Nike, or Reebok as per their contract, and the coach gets paid 100’s of thousands of dollars, but the players get nothing but most wear the apparel.
The schools get millions from their share of the ticket money, bowl money, TV money…and the players get nothing.

Frankly its a busted system. Unless your a coach, AD or school, then hey you love it.

bjohndawg

September 9th, 2010
4:14 pm

And for the NFL is is the cheap farm system that money did not have to buy

boots

September 9th, 2010
4:14 pm

NCAA’s phone number: 317-917-6222. They said they are getting hammered with constructive criticism from people upset with the severity of this decision. Good.

The Ghost of Wally Butts

September 9th, 2010
4:15 pm

Aw, cheer up fellow Dawg fans….my sources tell me that Obama is inviting A.J. “E-Bay” Green to the White House for a beer with the NCAA big-dawgs. They will immitate Urban and Timmy by lapsing into this big man-hug. Then, they will join hands with our President, sing Kum Ba Yah, and all will be well in the land of the free and the home of the stupid.

boots

September 9th, 2010
4:16 pm

Money made off of any numbered jersey (including those WITH the name of the player on them) should be split with the player some how (maybe 1%). Put the players funds in escrow and he gets the money when (and only when) he graduates from the school. This way, he stays “unpaid” but does get a fair amount of consideration for his efforts in selling the jersey in the first place.

@WreckBuZZ

September 9th, 2010
4:17 pm

The “mitigating circumstances” for Marcell Dareus were that he accepted money from Marvin Austin (UNC DT) to fund his trip to that party. Austin is likely to be the one who gets the longest suspension since he seems to be dirty all the way around.

Green took money directly from an agent. I think what you guys are confusing this with is Green selling some property for money. Green took money from an agent under the guise of selling a game jersey. There’s a difference.

RambleOn84

September 9th, 2010
4:17 pm

Tech fan here, but I think it sucks for AJ and UGA.

The rules themselves suck, but that’s not really the issue today…

He did break the rule (crappy as it may be), but the punishment was WAY too harsh. One to two games would have been acceptable, though I would still argue with the ethics of the rule in question.

These guys work their butts off to essentially make millions for the schools, coaches, and NCAA.

They’re not allowed to have jobs, and many come from poor backgrounds…they should at least get a stipend so they can afford some decent clothes and stuff.

I’ll be pulling hard for y’all this weekend and in every game until Thanksgiving. And I’ll be pulling especially hard for AJ Green.

RambleOn84

September 9th, 2010
4:18 pm

I like that idea, boots…but the players should get at least 10% put into their “graduation gift” fund.

TNDave

September 9th, 2010
4:19 pm

4 games to much? Yes. Who’s at fault?
AJ. These players know what they can and
can’t do. The coaches shouldn’t have to hold
their hand everytime they leave the stadium.
Everyone’s always at fault except the players.

The Cynical White Boy

September 9th, 2010
4:20 pm

I’ll bet Kevin Butler and his son, the future NFL punter, know the down and dirty….and they ain’t talkin.

Drew Butler probably knows who the real thugs are, who is already taking cash from agents, etc. Kevin sure is tight lipped about the team these days. Hmmmm.

UGA is Just Fine...

September 9th, 2010
4:23 pm

I keep hearing some say the jersey/number doesn’t belong to AJ or any other player, but in fact belongs to the school. That’s fine, but c’mon folks lets be real. There is a reason Nike decided to produce #8 jerseys the past couple of years, just like they did #24 & #7. Why do you think Nike decided to make all those #15 jerseys for UF?

Granted he broke the rule, but let’s get real, he is selling a lot of merchandise for the NCAA, Nike, and UGA.

What I’d like to see is FAIR compensation. Granted the education the players get is first class at any D-1 school, but how about for players like Green and Tebow who are selling jerseys and video games get offered the oportunity to opt out of the scholarship and recieve a percentage of jersey/video game sales etc… as long as they are a enrolled in school and in good standing both in conduct and pay for their education with the proceeds they recieve. This would take care of the “superstar” players and allow them to recieve compensation that is in line with what they are bringing to the NCAA and the University, and remove the temptation of needing a hand out from agents. Again let’s be real when it comes to this stuff we’re really only talking about the star players.
On a positive note, this could be a blessing in disguise as hopefully it forces the other players to rally around one another and step up their game the next four weeks. One of the things that having to rely on a superstar like Green can do is have players waiting around for him to make a play rather than going out and making one on their own.
(I think there was a bit of that when Stafford and Moreno were there)
Hopefully four weeks from now this will be behind the team and they can move forward.
Go Dawgs!

boots

September 9th, 2010
4:27 pm

Thanks, Ramble. This will never happen, but I think a smaller percentage is OK considering the player has zero risk or overhead in the deal. What would really end up happening is that either the player would get some money or the Universities would end up not using numbers of players but opt for generic jerseys. I do think 1 to 2 percent could add up to be a lot for great players. UGA alone sells 20 or so versions of AJ’s jersey, including some with his name on it. If the player goes pro early, they must “donate” the money to either a charity or the scholarship fund.

SickandTired

September 9th, 2010
4:47 pm

come on Bill this is not a good thing.

PMC

September 9th, 2010
4:51 pm

Ed, I think it was Alec Ogletree that was the helmet theif. Not Washaun… though I guess at this point all of the arrests in the Georgia program seem to run toegther.

rx-dawg

September 9th, 2010
4:53 pm

What you ALL seem to be confused about is that he…

a) didn’t sell the jersey to an agent, he sold it to a middle man.
b) the guy ultimately buying the article was a collector whom the NCAA defined as an agent after the fact, despite the fact the guy is not a licensed agent.
c) Games jersey’s run about $150 dollars (real ones, not replicas)…this was also an autographed jersey. I imagine a future first round draft pick’s autograph is worth something.
d) His father recently lost his job and he was attempting to make some money for his family.
e) He probably didn’t realize that what he was doing was wrong, given that he was not selling to an agent (at the time) and that he was selling his own personal property.

This is why the NCAA really needs to clean the rules up and make them a little easier to follow. It is easy to see how someone who is in as difficult predicament as AJ found his family situation to be could run afoul of some guideline along the way. What AJ did was wrong, but I am not convinced by any of the hyperbole or vicious slander by supposed fans and the uninformed masses that AJ knew it was wrong. The original investigation was into the party in Miami after TMZ posted their trash article and Marvin Austin began throwing anyone and everyone under the bus. AJ never was in Miami, has photos to prove it and didn’t lie about it as such. What more than likely got him was a search of his accounts when looking for agent payments. I’m sure $1000 stuck out like a sore thumb. Regardless, all the findings can be seen on the NCAA website if any of you trolls care to take the time to go and read what the NCAA took great time and care to prepare. There is no mention of Miami, because there was nothing to the story. AJ made a mistake yes. Should he be punished, yes. But to suggest he be suspended a whole year is ludicrous. To suggest he should be kicked out of school is idiotic. READ THE REPORT!!!! Stop just making stuff up because it sounds good and it makes you feel like you know more than you know.

Ace

September 9th, 2010
4:53 pm

He shouldn’t be allowed to practice until his punishment for rule breaking aka cheating is over.

dawgster

September 9th, 2010
4:54 pm

Hey Boots do you get a recorcing when you call…thought about calling but don’t want to hurt the situation more…I think alot of you on here miss some of the points being made..AJ’s supportes are not saying he should not be punished, he should, but the NCAA needs to be consistant when handling down these decisions..What about SC players, has anyone heard what the result of their mistakes will bring….

dawgster

September 9th, 2010
4:55 pm

Boots…that should be “so you get a recording when you call the NCAA”

Rod

September 9th, 2010
5:04 pm

Anyone that we wont miss AJ because he would only touch the 5 to 10 times doesn’t understand football. We are going to miss his blocking and the defense chaeting to him. Our running will be less effective and the other recievers will be less open with AJ’s not being there.

CLARK CO. PD

September 9th, 2010
5:05 pm

Not our fault this time!

NO excuse but how many bloggers here have been REAL POOR?

September 9th, 2010
5:40 pm

If AJ was using the money for parties and booze, that is one thing, Helping his family maybe is another. Can’t these kids get some home town business ( not talking about a school booster ) man to spot them a few bucks like $20,000 to $35,000 for a car, insurance and gas and grocery, rent money for their families, until a kid like AJ gets drafted come next winter?? It would be a loan for like 9 months until draft day.

Green will be, barring major injury and/or more personal conduct issues, a multi millionaire in Spring 2011. Knowing this in advance, could a rich local town father spot these kids? Banks today have far more rules now that the moron obama is in office ( that will change very soon ) and so a bank cannot make high risk loans but an investor could at a higher % than market interest rates, like maybe 10% and no payment due with interest to accure until he signs his pro deal.

This could work for most of today’s future NFL kids and those that don’t make it, well, they had some bread for their final Junior year and the investor made a calculated gamble. Like any otherdeal it might or might not pay off for the lender.

This scenario could invite some shady characters too. I know that. Who is really NFL bound and who is not? That would fall on the sholders of the investor, I suppose. By the summer of a kid’s junior year we would have a clear handle on that.

Just a thought.

bigal

September 9th, 2010
5:56 pm

I am so tired of all the adults who will give up their first born just to be in the presence of AJ Green, then the minute he can’t help the team then to h__l with him kick him off the team. You guys forget we are the ones who give these kids these big egos then complain when they realize they are being hailed as gods. I am forty something treat me like A J Green and I am sure I will do some stupid things. to the Hipocrits!!

bigal

September 9th, 2010
6:00 pm

There are laws that can be used to deal with these agents, but the NCAA don’t want to take that route, they take the least path of resistance, the kid.

boots

September 9th, 2010
6:04 pm

Dawgster, yes, I got a recording. However, I ended up dialing a random “dial by name” extension (much to the dismay of the guy who answered), and I had a good conversation with him. I told him that the NCAA is widely seen as being out of control and that while cheating is not condoned, they should be consistent and not try to ruin a program or year over a single bad decision. Institutional cheating is one thing, but this was not in the same universe as that. I think others covered why. The guy seemed to understand that the NCAA is very unpopular and that they know this was a controversial ruling. He hinted that is why it took so long. However, he worked in IT and is certainly not in the know.

sb

September 9th, 2010
6:24 pm

FREE AJ !!!!!!!!!! If the Jersey don’t fit you must Acquit !!!!!!!!!!!

CO-STARRING LEE VAN CLEEF AS THE BAD

September 9th, 2010
6:45 pm

I would think that a rule disallowing a person to sell his own property would be unconstitutional Since this could harm Green’s future draft posistion ans possibly cost him millions, how about a class action lawsuit naming the NCAA, UGA, and the middle man that sold the jersey? Anybody got the number of the ACLU?

turkeycaller

September 9th, 2010
6:55 pm

Ed and 1 eyed jack….. Agree with both of you. Truthful and good posts in my eyes.

Blue Fox

September 9th, 2010
7:11 pm

Yep, but did A. J. lie, either to the NCAA investigators or the coaches?