The coach of Columbus’ Carver High has “banned” Georgia’s coaches from recruiting players at the school.
As first reported by former AJC staffers Todd Holcomb and Chip Saye in the e-mail newsletter Georgia High School Football Daily, Carver coach Dell McGee is upset because he says the Bulldogs withdrew a scholarship offer to quarterback Devin Burns while Burns was on the UGA campus this past Saturday night. What made it worse was, according to McGee, Burns had come with his entire family with the plan of committing that very day to Georgia coach Mark Richt.
“To protect our kids and my program, Georgia won’t be welcome on my campus,” McGee, a former Auburn player, told the GHSFD. “They’re not going to recruit anybody.”
McGee reaffirmed that stance to the AJC at lunchtime Tuesday and said he stands by his decision.
“Rescinding a scholarship is not uncommon; that’s not my problem,” said McGee, who said his school’s principal is in agreement. “It’s really about how the situation was handled. It’s the manner in which it was done.”
McGee said Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo offered Burns a scholarship this past spring. He said Georgia coaches knew Burns was coming to Athens for “Georgia Night” this past Saturday and they knew he was bringing his whole family with him. McGee said Burns defensive end Corey Crawford was also going to commit. Now both players are looking “at other offers,” McGee said.
“Devin’s going to be fine. His family’s going to be fine,” he said. “But there’s some hurt and some embarrassment there.”
Calls to Bobo and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner were not returned Tuesday. Georgia’s coaches are in the midst of their annual “hideaway” before summer camp. But they probably couldn’t say anything anyway. According to UGA spokesman Claude Felton, “as per NCAA rules, Georgia is not allowed to comment on that situation,”
“Banning” certain colleges from recruiting a school is a drastic measure but not entirely uncommon in the emotionally-charged business of football recruiting. Earlier this year Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin was banned from recruiting Pahokee High in Florida after Kiffin accused the Gators of “cheating” to try to land one of its players. That ban was eventually lifted by the high school principal after receiving a formal apology from Kiffin. Also, Tucker High banned South Carolina for a similar situation this past January.
McGee being upset certainly is understandable. He feels bad for his quarterback, who clearly has to be disappointed and more than a little bit embarrassed. It certainly appears that Georgia mismanaged this situation and I’m sure the Bulldogs’ staff is moving quickly to rectify the situation.
But am I the only one who wonders if a high school coach should have the right to determine what schools recruit his players? Shouldn’t that be determined by the player and his or her family? At least two juniors at the school, running back Isaiah Crowell and defensive tackle Gabriel Wright, are high on the Bulldogs’ lists for 2011. What if it’s the dream of either of those players to attend the state university? Does McGee’s stance mean Georgia coaches can’t come evaluate them even if it’s the players’ hope that they do?
McGee said he talked to Richt Sunday morning. “He explained the situation and said they did a bad job of communicating,” McGee said. “He said he totally understands why I’m doing what I’m doing and said he’d do the same thing.”
McGee said the ban was not permanent but that “it’s going to take some time” for the relations to heal.
What do you guys think about the situation?