Tech AD Radakovich still has a job; for that, he’s a lucky man

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Demaryius Thomas holds a list, but you'll note it's not a list of infractions. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

The strongest sanction in the NCAA arsenal — and we should stipulate this was one sanction not levied against Georgia Tech — is the “show-cause” penalty. When a coach is found to have committed egregious violations (two examples: Dave Bliss and Kelvin Sampson), he’s banned for a number of years and any member institution seeking to hire him during that span must convince the NCAA it has good reason.

I mention this because I’ve been thinking: If the NCAA said, “We want you, M. Bradley, to show cause as to why Dan Radakovich should remain athletic director at Tech,” I’m not sure I could.

This isn’t easy for me to say. I like Radakovich. Until Thursday, I rated him among the brightest stars in his industry. But the department Radakovich heads turned what should have been a one-week tempest into a 20-month ordeal that has yielded four years’ probation, a $100,000 fine and a vacated ACC title.

Even the NCAA sounded a note of incredulity. From its press release: “The university’s failure to cooperate and meet the obligations of membership compounded the seriousness of the case by adding onto what was originally an isolated instance of impermissible benefits and preferential treatment.”

As late as this spring, Tech still believed this case could amount to no more than a secondary violation. This tells us Tech had no idea what was happening, which is a dire indictment. Radakovich has been in this job since 2006 and has spent all but four years of his adult life working for NCAA institutions. This is the man who should have been steering, not asking, “Which way looks good to y’all?”

It’s clear he got bad advice, but Radakovich was (and remains) the guy in charge. He gets paid to safeguard his athletic association. Given that Radakovich had fired coaches Chan Gailey and Paul Hewitt despite the onerous contracts negotiated by predecessor Dave Braine, this AD seemed capable of acing any test. He flunked this final.

In a 25-minute phone conversation Friday, Radakovich was asked if he felt he’d let Tech down. His response: “The circumstances around this have caused a lot of consternation, not only with me, but within the department. I take this very seriously. I know there was no intent to hinder the investigation, but the NCAA enforcement committee doesn’t see it that way. That’s a blow to my integrity.”

If you read the committee on infractions’ 26-page report, you’ll have a hard time grasping how a case that began with the NCAA checking on a football player’s cellphone and his use of complimentary tickets could lead to such heavy penalties because a different player was found to have accepted $312 of clothing. (FYI, most of the clothing given to Demaryius Thomas was never worn and is housed in a cabinet at Tech.) From Point A to Point H to Point W?

Conceded Radakovich: “It’s not cut and dried. It’s not as simple as some cases.”

I get that part. What I also get is that the NCAA got ticked at Tech — not just at former Institute counsel Randy Nordin and what it called his “obstructionist reproach,” but also with the AD.

Said Radakovich: “I don’t personally think I angered the NCAA. I think the NCAA and this particular investigator were miffed when I did not follow his instruction to our compliance director.”

Radakovich told football coach Paul Johnson what was coming. Investigator Marcus Wilson had asked that Radakovich not say anything. Said Radakovich: [The NCAA believed] this action impeded their investigation. We maintain that it did not.”

Then: “This [don't-say-anything order] may have come up a hundred times [in other cases], but it certainly wasn’t highlighted. It goes back to how the individual investigator chooses to handle it. It is procedural.”

And that’s Tech’s defense: That its error was procedural, as opposed to conspiratorial. Said Radakovich: “There was no clandestine meeting, no conspiracy to pull together a story. That stuff didn’t happen.”

Why did he tell Johnson? “I was going off previous experience I’d had … I did it consciously.” Then: “I need to have a relationship with coaches. That’s important in being able to run a department. What would my relationship [with Johnson] have been like if I hadn’t said anything? That’s the part that gets lost.”

The NCAA made hay of Tech’s failure to comply with its request. The committee on infractions noted that, because it lacks subpoena power, “the successful adjudication of infractions cases is heavily dependent on the good faith efforts and, most importantly, the full and complete cooperation of member institutions and other involved parties under investigation by the enforcement staff. ”

Translated: We might not be able to make an agent come testify, but if you work at one of our institutions you’d better do as we say.

Said Radakovich: “We didn’t do — Georgia Tech didn’t do — some things very well.”

That doesn’t quite go far enough. This was a howling case of mismanagement — “A cautionary tale of conduct that member institutions should avoid,” the NCAA deemed it — from a school that has, of all things, a college of management.

Asked if he had offered his resignation to Tech president Bud Peterson, Radakovich said: “No, I did not. Was not asked and didn’t offer.”

Then: “The lesson learned from all of this is that when you get that inquiry, the initial phone call is to bring in someone like a Chuck Smrt [a former NCAA investigator who now counsels those being investigated and who was retained by Tech] … someone who is skilled in that kind of forum. You need a different set of eyes. As good as any university attorney is, this is not their forte.”

In 2006 a Tech coach said, “If Tech people understand anything, it’s business.” The next day Gailey’s team lost the ACC title to Wake Forest in the worst game ever played. Fifty-one weeks later, Radakovich fired Gailey. Two years after that, a different Tech coach won the conference title. This week the crowning achievement of this AD’s most notable hire was forfeited because the AD and his department didn’t follow procedure.

I’m not a Tech grad, but I wouldn’t call that good business. I’d say it’s close to being a firing offense.

By Mark Bradley

291 comments Add your comment

rawdawg

July 15th, 2011
1:01 pm

Mark Bradley

July 15th, 2011
1:02 pm

Yes. Kudos once more.

jay

July 15th, 2011
1:06 pm

You got caught Tech. Suck it up. And to the idiot who won’t give back the ring, you shouldn’t have picked a school that cheats.

Paul in RDU

July 15th, 2011
1:07 pm

Mark – much as it saddens me to say it, you have it correct in this case. If I made $600k a year and messed up as badly as D-Rad did in this case, my President would fire me.

DC

July 15th, 2011
1:09 pm

Jay..you act like you would give up your ring if you found this out…

Chris

July 15th, 2011
1:09 pm

Luck? Whatever. I woulda done the same thing to the ncaa. and given them the finger They are a bunch of morons. Fine a team because a player got some freaking clothes. Most stupid story I’ve ever heard of.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 15th, 2011
1:11 pm

Tech was made an example of by the NCAA. Pretty simple to see that. Also DRAD was exactly right in saying that if he had not told CPJ the relationship would have been terrible.

GoJackets

July 15th, 2011
1:11 pm

The NCAA is competing with the TSA for most vile law unto itself organization. Reminds me of Cartman with a badge – “Respect my authoriTIE!!!!”

Tron5000

July 15th, 2011
1:12 pm

It’s embarrassing. Makes me wish we hadn’t upgraded our tickets this year.

Red Foreman

July 15th, 2011
1:16 pm

I’d say your writing style is and has always been a firing offense.

GT-Jake

July 15th, 2011
1:17 pm

An athlete can endanger lives and get a DUI Thursday night; post bail Friday and if his coach is a sleaze-bag, suit up Saturday afternoon and the NCAA will do nothing.

That’s fair.

Marcus Hoodrat

July 15th, 2011
1:18 pm

After looking at this dipships questioning, i wonder how this ignorant fool has a job. must be his you know what.

Nate Kelsey - former white running back with jersey no. 1

July 15th, 2011
1:20 pm

Mark, you failed to point out that Radakovich intentionally ignored the instruction of the NCAA (as told to him by the GT Compliance Official) not to discuss the investigation with Paul Johnson. In the press conference yesterday, Radakovich gave his reasons for doing so. Regardless of the reasons, he knowingly and intentionally ignored the NCAA’s instructions. GT cannot have an AD who intentionally controverts NCAA investigations. He must be fired.

Mark Bradley

July 15th, 2011
1:21 pm

I believe the story makes note of that, Nate K.

atlindenver

July 15th, 2011
1:22 pm

Rawdawg needs to get a life.

Seriously.

2HLLWGA

July 15th, 2011
1:23 pm

This appears to be a new era of enforcement. I tend to think GT is relatively clean, so this spells trouble for any other institution who is found to have done something wrong.

Why doesn’t every team have someone on staff that knows NCAA investigations?

GT Alum

July 15th, 2011
1:25 pm

To me, the bigger problem is that we keep “misunderstanding” the NCAA rules and how to work with the NCAA. Isn’t part of the AA’s responsibilities to make sure they KNOW the NCAA rules? I know there’s a lot of complicated rules, but it’s their job to know. This country’s tax laws are numerous and fairly complex too, but accountants are supposed to know them, and what happens to them if they don’t follow them?

Radakovich has to make sure there are no more misunderstandings, miscommunications or misapplications with regard to NCAA rules, because if there are any during this probation period, the resulting penalties will likely make these penalties look like a slap on the wrist. And hopefully the only job D Rad would be able to get if that happens would involve the phrase “would you like to make that a combo?”

Danny

July 15th, 2011
1:26 pm

If I was an agent and I gave a player a turd in a ziplock bag, I guess the ncaa would deem that as a gift. Cause I could sell that as lawn fertilizer. The ncaa is a drunken insane sailor with power.

still wondering

July 15th, 2011
1:26 pm

Mr Mark, how did the NCAA find out about the clothes give-away?

just asking

July 15th, 2011
1:27 pm

wow one of you at AJC picked up a phone and interviewed DRAD, finally. Now how about going further and asking the NCAA a few questions.

Brian

July 15th, 2011
1:28 pm

Nate, you’re an idiot. I stand by drad and what he did and would have done the same. Maybe this marcus moron doesn’t have a clue how things work in the real world. Perhaps you are his twin.

Patrick in NYC

July 15th, 2011
1:31 pm

I still don’t understand. I thought we vacated all wins in which the ineligible player played, after we were told that he was probably ineligible. And we were fined for telling the players and the coach about the investigation. That’s what I got from reading the 26-page report, but maybe it was the latter that escalated the punishment of the former.

My question is, if that’s the case, how were we supposed to tell the coach that the player was ineligible without telling him about the investigation?

JB

July 15th, 2011
1:34 pm

I think the NCAA is under pressure to ” level out and act equally among it’s management of compliance in college sports. I think Tech was just first on the docket. Ohio St, NC and Auburn need to be worried. If not guilty, great…play ball.

Hate the NCAA

July 15th, 2011
1:35 pm

The NCAA “gets mad” and has a hissy fit with what they deem a hinderance and decides to throw the book. Nah, that’s not subjective at all. NCAA is arbitrary at best and selective and hypocritical at their usual worst.

Hey Chizik, nice work ticking off the NCAA a couple of months ago, you may be next.

D'Rad's Lies Make Me Sick

July 15th, 2011
1:36 pm

Nate Kelsey, I agree with you – D-Rad should in fact be fired for lying to the NCAA and trying to cover up the ineligibility with Coach Johnson’s help.

The Man With the Plan

July 15th, 2011
1:36 pm

Radakovich said ““The lesson learned from all of this is that when you get that inquiry, the initial phone call is to bring in someone like a Chuck Smrt [a former NCAA investigator who now counsels those being investigated and who was retained by Tech] … someone who is skilled in that kind of forum. You need a different set of eyes. As good as any university attorney is, this is not their forte.”

That is deeply disturbing to hear from the AD. He should have said “The lesson learned from all of this is to follow the rules at all times and this kind of thing will not happen. We are sorry and apologize. We will not let thiskind of thing happen again.”

It sounds like Peterson and Radakovich are still trying to manipulate the truth to the perception they are trying to sell and to their shame the players are following suit. Students learn what they are taught.

Tech has always acted like they were better than everyone else and apparently they now believe their own lies including the one about they do not have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

Pride commeth before the fall.

Harvey D. Pooka

July 15th, 2011
1:37 pm

I cannot speak as to what the AD knew or didn’t know, and when he kew it or what he did to stifle it, but I do have an opion to be voiced regarding Sean Bedford.

Well said, Mr. Bedford, well said. Now here is a man that can truly represent what this Insitution is and should be thought of: center of higher education, with standards and ethics to be envied. Mr. Bedford performed well on the field and obviously in the class room, also. Just check his posting. This is a man with intelligence and good background in communication skills. His posting is well thought out, well organized, well stated and leaves no doubt about his feelings on this subject.

Truly, he is a great Georgia Tech alum representative and will do well his his future endeavors, as a leader we can put our trust in. (Can we start a petition to change the law in order to lower minimum age requirement to be elected President?! I know where my vote would be placed, should he seek the office.)

Stung!!

July 15th, 2011
1:38 pm

The most entertaining thing about the last 24 hours, was when the news first broke yesterday morning that the “NCAA was to make a big announcement involving Tech”, all the pompous nerds jumped on these blogs speculating that it was something positive, like a chick fil a kickoff game announcement.

It’s also been just as entertaining reading the nerds and their players try to justify the lies and cheating, when they know good and darn well if this was UGA that they would be screaming for the death penalty.

thwgt
9-1

justdhoo

July 15th, 2011
1:40 pm

I am a Tech grad and there’s no need to fire Radakovich over this. Mistakes were made in a very unusual case. He’ll learn from it and I’m sure will not make those mistakes again. Yes it lost us the ACC title (for the time being) but the fact is we wouldn’t have even won it in the first place if it wasn’t for Radakovich. The guy’s a good AD and firing him over this would be too much of an overreaction. If it is proven that he intentionally misled the NCAA then that calls his ethical integrity into question and it may be a different story. But I believe none of this was intentional.

Stung!!

July 15th, 2011
1:40 pm

And you nerds act like a kid can write a well structured letter, and that instantly means the COVER UP never took place……..

Tech simply LIES and CHEATS!!!!!

Brace for Impact

July 15th, 2011
1:41 pm

Mark – I have yet to see you respond to ESPN’s tweet – “If you want to know how far the AJC has fallen, lack of reporting on Tech case is a great indicator.”

TechGuy

July 15th, 2011
1:41 pm

Hey Jay, you’re the real idiot. You obviously don’t know Sean Bedford. He’s a fine young man that spoke of his (and all of our) disgust at the NCAA and Dennis Thomas for their arbitrary sanctions on Georgia Tech. They did nothing wrong. Why don’t you try reading the whole story before you go espousing your wisdom for everybody to read? Tech did nothing wrong. Period. How are you going to like it when the NCAA starts investigating your beloved UGA? How do you think they’ll treat your program?

WreckBuzz

July 15th, 2011
1:48 pm

So basically the NCAA slammed GT because Dan Radakovich told Paul Johnson that the NCAA was coming to interview two of his players. Not that they covered something up.

That’s bullsh*t. The NCAA has gone too far. I think an appeal is definitely in order.

Mark Bradley`s Booster

July 15th, 2011
1:49 pm

Mark: Patrick in NYC has a valid Question:
How could DRAD inform CPJ Thomas was ineligible to play if he could not tell him about the investigation? Should he have just said he cannot play? That would have been
crazy.
Can you answer this question?

TechGuy

July 15th, 2011
1:50 pm

Hey TRON5000, you’re not even a Tech fan. Don’t try to make out like you are and pile on Tech! You’re pretty transparent.

George Stein

July 15th, 2011
1:51 pm

That idiot has a degree in aerospace engineering and starts law school in the fall, Jay. Grow up already.

Mischief Managed

July 15th, 2011
1:52 pm

I wanted to talk to one of my tech acquaintances about the fallout from the NCAA leveled sanctions but all of them were headed to the midnight premiere of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Mark Bradley`s Booster

July 15th, 2011
1:52 pm

Stung!! you are pitiful. Bless you.

The Man With the Plan

July 15th, 2011
1:53 pm

Radakovich said ““The lesson learned from all of this is that when you get that inquiry, the initial phone call is to bring in someone like a Chuck Smrt [a former NCAA investigator who now counsels those being investigated and who was retained by Tech] … someone who is skilled in that kind of forum. You need a different set of eyes. As good as any university attorney is, this is not their forte.”

That is deeply disturbing to hear from the AD. He should have said “The lesson learned from all of this is to follow the rules at all times and this kind of thing will not happen. We are sorry and apologize. We will not let thiskind of thing happen again.”

It sounds like Peterson and Radakovich are still trying to manipulate the truth to the perception they are trying to sell and to their shame the players are following suit. Students learn what they are taught.

Tech has always acted like they were better than everyone else and apparently they now believe their own lies including the one about they do not have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

Pride comes before the fall.

Buck BalueBalls

July 15th, 2011
1:55 pm

First – JAy, blow it out your a$$ – everybody knows that the ncaa is the SECheat’s lapdog. Two words for you; Cam Newton

Second – you better believ that this is some 2bit investigator, showing his butt; any AD that wouldn’t tell his coach waht was coming, wouldn’t be worth his position. Any AD that says he/she hasn’t done this in the same situation, is lying.

Third – good grief, ugaggers giving GT hell about THIS?? MArk and the AJC has made enough of a mountain out of a molehil with this, but ugaggers?? PUH-LEEEEZE! Jim Harrick, Jan Kemp, the past 3 years police blotter in Athens…need I go on? This is a slap on the wrist compared to that crap.

What if we DO lose the ACC championship? According to you SECheat a-holes, it’s not worth anything anyways…so whaddya care? The NCAA is a bunch of overblown, outdated PC police that have too much powere anyhow…they can collectively kiss my butt.

GT HFC Bill Curry Circa 1985

July 15th, 2011
1:55 pm

We will bring the cheaters to their knees. Whoops its us – again!

Herschel Talker

July 15th, 2011
1:55 pm

MB:

Well put. If this happened at UGA, you know people would be howling for our ADs head. There’s no way this clown should keep his job.

By the way, it bears repeating that your writing is a nice break in the daily grind (except on rare occasion when you write silly things on Hawks’ mystery buyers). Keep up the good work and the good balance between being fair and being critical.

HT

Questions Needing Answers

July 15th, 2011
1:55 pm

Bradley:

Perhaps the AJC will look into the follwoing:

WHO, specifically, brought the issues to the attention of the NCAA?
(Clearly, SOMEBODY, with something to gain at GT’s expense?)

WHEN did the “event” in question actually happen?
This didnt start on Tuesday, November 24th. It happened WAY before that.

It seems interesting that WHOEVER notified the NCAA,
chose the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to notify the NCAA.

There was hardly a more DAMAGING DATE (the Tuesday RIGHT BEFORE Thanksgiving)
for the NCAA to have been notified…BY SOMEONE…of allegations.

Who would have had THE MOST to gain from notifying the NCAA
on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving?

Also, it has been previoulsy reported that GT contacted the ACC for guidance on the matter,
and the ACC office gave GT clearance to play Thomas. Why has that been discounted
and overlooked?

Lastly: When the NCAA notifies a school that they’re coming to investigate, the NCAA only notifies 1-2 KEY PERSONNEL at the school in question. The NCAA notice is…ALWAYS…considered exclusive, and HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL.

With that in mnd, how is it that the AJC’s UGA Beat Writer & UGA Alum, Tim Tucker,
was told that the NCAA was coming to Athens to interview AJ Green, BEFORE THE NCAA arrived?

How is that Tim Tucker, miraculously, discovered news about a HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL NCAA meeting in Athens, when the NCAA requires ABSOLUTE confidentiality from teh school in queston?

Only 1-2 key personnel in the UGA-AA would have known.

DC

July 15th, 2011
1:58 pm

^^until he writes something negative about UGA..

The Terminator

July 15th, 2011
2:01 pm

Radakovich said that he lesson learned from all of this is that when you get that inquiry, the initial phone call is to bring in someone like a Chuck Smart.

He should have said that the lesson learned from all of this is to follow the rules at all times and this kind of thing will not happen. We are sorry and apologize. We will not let this happen again.

It sounds like Peterson and Radakovich are still trying to manipulate the truth to the perception they are trying to sell and to their players are following suit. Students learn what they are taught.

Tech has always acted like they were better than everyone else and apparently they now believe their own delusions including the one about they do not have to follow the same rules as everyone else.

Hal

July 15th, 2011
2:01 pm

After reading everything that has been written so far a question remains. How did four guys in an obscure meeting end up on the desk of the NCAA as an investgation with no real merit?

George Stein

July 15th, 2011
2:05 pm

I hope we play in eff you mode all season.

btgt69

July 15th, 2011
2:07 pm

I think the 100K fine should come from Drad’s bank account.

John D

July 15th, 2011
2:10 pm

Mark – answer the following question honestly..

Is the punishment appropriate?
As evidenced by the Auburn situation and the moronic ramblings of the NCAA investigator who had to interview D Thomas AGAIN – clearly this should have been a 1-week investigation. Why did it drag out 20-months??

Is this Tressel lying during questioning? Pete Carroll? I mean really – are you suggesting the punishment is in alignment even with the “crime” of disagreeing with the NCAA?

The shutdown of Chizik at the SEC meetings is evidence that the NCAA is now overreaching (as Bedford has illustrated quite elegantly) during investigations of minor crap. Really – penalize the institution for providing ‘recommended’ textbooks to student athletes across 16 sports (Bama)? I know that those softball players typically make their college decision on where they might get an extra $40 textbook. Yet – they keep the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe?? ZERO credibility.

GT Alum

July 15th, 2011
2:11 pm

Hal -

Sounds like they were investigating a cell phone they thought might have been given to Derrick Morgan and paid for by an agent and found this. Quite frankly, it does seem like the NCAA is out looking for reasons to penalize schools.