The NCAA formally responded to AJC staff writer Michael Carvell’s April 17 online column, “UGA’s Mark Richt should break the rules in the name of academics,” in its Double-A Zone blog Tuesday.
David Pickle, the NCAA’s managing director of publishing, wrote on April 21 that “Atlanta Journal writer Michael Carvell recently encouraged Georgia football coach Mark Richt to stage an act of civil disobedience to call attention to what Carvell believed to be wrong-headed NCAA legislation,” going on to state that Carvell’s public call to action in the case of, as Pickle put it, “Georgia recruit Chris Burnette, one of the nation’s top-rated offensive lineman [sic] – and also valedictorian at Troup (Georgia) High School [sic]” didn’t take into account the NCAA’s flexibility provisions regarding such matters and that, again quoting Pickle, “[Georgia] did not ask for a waiver before [April 17], when Carvell’s blog post appeared.” Burnette has not been named Troup High’s class valedictorian as of this writing.
In his piece, Pickle also questions why the topic was publicly broached.
“My question is why matters like this generate such damning commentary from journalists who should know better.”
“Perhaps that is the signal that was buzzing in the back of Carvell’s mind when he created an escape hatch in his own blog post,” Pickle writes. “After calling the NCAA ‘big and bad’ in paragraph No. 3, he came back five paragraphs later to note that a waiver request probably would be granted. Unfortunately, the damage was done with the presumption of NCAA intransigence.
“Several of the comments that followed impugned the Association for an action it had not taken.”