Ray Drew’s announcement results in 5 NCAA violations for Georgia (UPDATED)

The participation of former Bulldogs David Pollack (L) and Randall Godfrey (at lectern) in Ray Drew's commitment announcement was a violation of NCAA rules. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

The participation of former Bulldogs David Pollack (L) and Randall Godfrey (at lectern) in Ray Drew's Jan. 28 commitment announcement was a violation of several NCAA rules. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

(Adds comments from David Pollack, 2:20 p.m.)

Ray Drew’s decision to have former Georgia football stars Randall Godfrey and David Pollack speak at his commitment ceremony in January has the Bulldogs in some hot water with the Southeastern Conference.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned that UGA had to report five NCAA rules violations to the SEC as a result of Drew’s Jan. 28 news conference at Thomas County Central High School. Drew, a five-star recruiting prospect, announced that day he was committing to the Bulldogs.  The 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end has since signed a national letter-of-intent with UGA.

Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity detailed the violations in a March 4 letter sent to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. That letter was obtained by the AJC through an open records request.

“The University of Georgia (UGA) is reporting an institutional violation of NCAA Bylaws . . . within our program,” McGarity wrote in the letter. “The violation involves prospective student-athlete (PSA) Mr. Ray Drew and two former letter winners who appear to be representatives of the University’s athletics interests.”

Godfrey and Pollack are not named in the letter but were known to be in attendance from the many photos and news reports that were generated by media outlets covering the highly-publicized event, including ajc.com. It was “immediately” after reading those reports that “UGA began to investigate the potential violation,” McGarity says in the letter.

After interviewing Drew, teachers and administrators at Thomas County Central, Godfrey, Pollack and members of Georgia’s coaching staff, UGA compliance director Eric Baumgartner determined the following NCAA bylaws were broken:

  1. 13.1.2.1 — General Rule (regarding unauthorized off-campus recruitment)
  2. 13.1.2.2 (g) — General Exceptions/Unavoidable Incidental Contact
  3. 13.1.2.4 (d) — Restrictions, Athletics Representatives/Visiting Prospective Student-Athlete’s Institution
  4. 13.1.2.5 — Off-Campus Contacts or Evaluations
  5. 13.10.2 — Comments Before Signing

Such violations are generally considered secondary in nature and enforcement is usually handled internally by the SEC. Drew’s eligibility at UGA is not expected to be affected, but such determinations will be made by the conference and/or the NCAA after they review Georgia’s findings.

McGarity declined to elaborate on the report or speculate on possible repercussions that may result from it.

“The document speaks for itself,”  he said. “We’ll wait to hear back from the Southeastern Conference.”

McGarity could not say how long it would be before UGA hears back from the league office.

Georgia claims to have had no prior knowledge that the UGA lettermen would be in attendance or that they would be participating in the actual ceremony, an important factor in the violations being designated as minor.   “The PSA and PSA’s teacher (identified by the AJC as Randy Young) arranged for the two former letter winners to attend  the announcement without the knowledge of UGA’s football staff,” the letter states.

McGarity writes that Drew and Young wanted the announcement to be done “on a grand scale.” Drew initially invited former NFL star Michael Strahan, whom he refers to as a “mentor” to attend as a guest speaker. But Strahan couldn’t make it due to a schedule conflict. So they turned to Pollack and Godfrey.

Another important factor is Georgia claims that neither Godfrey nor Pollack are season-ticket holders, which would distinguish them as “boosters.” They were not determined to be “representatives of the institution’s athletics interests,” UGA suggests, until they commented on Drew after he had already announced his decision to sign with the Bulldogs. Therefore they could not have influenced his decision.

“Georgia coaches knew nothing about it,” Drew told the AJC Wednesday morning. “. . . I met [Godfrey] two times prior to my announcement. I’d been at that In the Game [Magazine] banquet [in mid-December] where I won the humanitarian award and he was one of the guest speakers. Then I met him again at the Randall Godfrey Basketball Tournament [in late December] in Valdosta. So there was a preexisting relationship going on between me and Randall Godfrey before and that’s the reason I asked him to be part of it.

“My teacher, Mr. Young, had some kind of preexisting relationship with Mr. Pollack. He knew how to get in contact with him and thought it would be cool to ask him to come down. So he handled that end of the deal.”

For his part, Pollack said it never occurred to him that anything he did was against the rules.

“I think it’s important for everybody to know I didn’t have anything to do with Ray’s decision,” Pollack said. “He didn’t talk to me about his school choices; he didn’t ask me, ’should I do this or should I do that? All he said is he wanted me to be part of his signing when it happened.”

Pollack is a three-time All-American who now does a sports talk radio show on 790 The Zone on weekday afternoons. He was asked if it occurred to him to check in with UGA’s compliance office to make sure his attendance was permissible.

“No, I didn’t assume I needed to call Georgia to ask about it,” he said. “That wasn’t something that I looked at as being even close to being a violation. But we’ve seen the NCAA. There are plenty of dumb rules they have that you have no idea why they’re instituted. Obviously, it’s something I know I can’t be part of  in the future.”

Georgia did not self-impose any sanctions, according to the report. Its only action was to step up its efforts to educate former letter winners on NCAA rules regarding interactions with prospects. “Booster brochures” will be mailed to all UGA lettermen,.

“UGA regrets that this violation occurred but believes this was an isolated/one-time incident with some unusual and atypical circumstances as explained,” McGarity wrote. “It is very important to note again that the PSA and the PSA’s school faciliated and arranged the announcement and the attendance of the former letter winners. Further, neither former letter winner was a representative of the University’s athletics interests until they agreed to participate in the PSA’s announcement, and neither realized at the time that their participation created a violation of NCAA rules.”

Drew was an elite national recruit with upward of 50 scholarship offers. A consensus five-star prospect, he was the No. 1-rated player in America at his position by Rivals.com and the No. 2 player in Georgia per the AJC Fab 50. Drew also is a licensed minister who preaches regularly at Paradise Missionary Baptist Church and a broadcast journalism specialists at Thomas County Central. Young  runs the broadcast journalism department at Thomas County High and is a longtime mentor and confidante for Drew.

NCAA violations aside, Drew said he did not regret how he handled his announcement.

“No regrets at all,” he said. “That’s one thing I was brought up believing: Never do anything you will wind up having regrets for. If I have to take a few phone calls about something I feel went very well and made for a great day for the Bulldog Nation, I’ll deal with it.”

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog

431 comments Add your comment

tom

March 9th, 2011
1:43 pm

What a joke.

yeah

March 9th, 2011
1:43 pm

guyanadawg

March 9th, 2011
1:44 pm

AndyW

March 9th, 2011
1:44 pm

Watch – UGA will get a harsher penalty for this than the Buckeyes will get for knowingly playing an entire season with players who had committed major infractions.

guyanadawg

March 9th, 2011
1:44 pm

Dogs Smell

March 9th, 2011
1:46 pm

Its the refs fault ! Unless it happpened to another school and they would have known the rules.

DawginLex

March 9th, 2011
1:46 pm

Notice the difference in how this was handled vs OSU.

Immediately notified officials as soon as they found out.

Slap on the wrist.

Much ado about nothing but only because of the way it was handled AND the fact that the coaches didn’t orchestrate it.

j

March 9th, 2011
1:47 pm

Sounds like he will fit right in!

Paula

March 9th, 2011
1:47 pm

So, David Pollack a College Football “expert” for ESPN didn’t know he was violating NCAA rules?
Yeah, right………

matt

March 9th, 2011
1:49 pm

I agree buckeyes will get a slap on the hand, Georgia will have to suspend Ray for the entire season, ha ha absurd.

Bamma Ramma

March 9th, 2011
1:49 pm

As usual, Ga’s cheating again. Why don’t they get recruits the right way? Maybe McGarity and Richt can call Alabama’s AD for advice on how to win big and not break rules. Tide Rolls big in 2011–mark it down–another SEC title!!!

Chi Town

March 9th, 2011
1:50 pm

Death Penalty!

Buzz

March 9th, 2011
1:50 pm

CHEATERS!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark

March 9th, 2011
1:50 pm

Pollack was all over twitter in the weeks leading up to the announcement reassuring Dog fans not to believe any of the rumors about him going elsewhere. Sounds like prior contact and influence in the decision to me.

Should make for an interesting show today with Pollack and Bell on 790.

Halsey

March 9th, 2011
1:51 pm

Is there any major program that’s not violating rules right now? I love college football, but it’s broken and needs major changes.

Beast from the East

March 9th, 2011
1:52 pm

The only people that really did anything wrong were Pollack and Godfrey. They should have checked with UGA before attending this event. They should have known better with all of the NCAA’s ticky-tack rules regarding recruiting. No one at UGA did anything wrong.
Much ado about nothing.

Palm City Dawg

March 9th, 2011
1:52 pm

This is total BS. They let Cam play, suspend AJ and then this?

mebeingme

March 9th, 2011
1:53 pm

My Goodness………what a witch hunt

Texas Pete

March 9th, 2011
1:54 pm

Regret hell. I say keep on rolling Dawgs. Let the SEC and NCAA embarrass themselves by hitting UGA with something significant over this while the bigger fish keep on with the major violations.

Finley Dawg

March 9th, 2011
1:54 pm

Love the comments by Drew at the end of the article… GO DAWGS!!!

Halsey

March 9th, 2011
1:55 pm

OMg stop making excuses, UGA fans. It’s not the media’s fault. UGA is breaking rules just like every other major college football program.

cool...

March 9th, 2011
1:55 pm

what a bunch of clowns…..this guy will be a giant BUST….

Red

March 9th, 2011
1:55 pm

No regrets? You caused your university to violate rules. Five violations occurred at one event of your design. And you have no regrets. Something needs to be done about this garbage. These kids have not even graduated and are making more scenes to get attention than Charlie Sheen. I tell you what kid….when you prove on the field of play that you in fact have talent, you can stand in front of the camera for a big show. Until then, just fax the letter and go back to class.

schmeckdawg

March 9th, 2011
1:56 pm

If the SEC or NCAA even blink an eye at this after what has transpired at OHOHO State, it is a freaking joke!!!!!!!!!

GTBob

March 9th, 2011
1:57 pm

This will be less than a slap on the wrist. This line is pretty funny though:

“No regrets at all,” he said. “That’s one thing I was brought up believing: Never do anything you will wind up having regrets for. If I have to take a few phone calls about something I feel went very well and made for a great day for the Bulldog Nation, I’ll deal with it.”

He will fit in well at UGA.

Palm City Dawg

March 9th, 2011
1:57 pm

Great response Ray Drew. You are a class act, a gentleman and a fine representative of THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORIGA!!!

Eddie

March 9th, 2011
1:57 pm

The NCAA is a joke and their priorities are back a**wards. j and Paula–you are just pathetic.

Seriously?

March 9th, 2011
1:58 pm

Bamma Ramma, are you serious? The Bama AD and Saban can’t get up in the morning to take a dump without breaking a rule. Your post is friggin’ hilarious!

12 CRIMINAL CHARGES, 6 wins, 7 LOSSES

March 9th, 2011
1:58 pm

….and soon to follow, the arrests, and The Richt Cup.

Beast from the East

March 9th, 2011
1:59 pm

Red,
That’s a great take on the situation. Unfortunately, the media hypes these kids up and creats some giant egos. But you know what? We (the fans) are actually the ones that the media is catering to. If we (the fans) weren’t so interested in recruiting then these “big shows” would not exist.

racerdawg

March 9th, 2011
2:00 pm

Tyrone Biggums

March 9th, 2011
2:00 pm

More cheating? Just another Wednesday in the SEC.

Dogs Smell

March 9th, 2011
2:00 pm

Georgia only finds it fair if you spot them 10 points prior to anything !

racerdawg

March 9th, 2011
2:01 pm

Rusty

March 9th, 2011
2:01 pm

dap01

March 9th, 2011
2:01 pm

If the NCAA can not find anything wrong with admitting getting paid to play or trying to get a PC to fly out of a window, surely they will not be able to draw any conclusions from this.

UD

March 9th, 2011
2:01 pm

Until something happens to AU, UT or Ohio St I’d tell $live, Emmert and the rest of the hypocrites to kindly ESAD & GFY.

Lane Kiffin

March 9th, 2011
2:01 pm

I don’t see the big deal.

Rich

March 9th, 2011
2:01 pm

Bamma Ramma- Less you forget about the major recruiting violations and lost scholarships Bama had not to long ago , before Tricky Nicky was hired?? Give it time and Bama will be caught cheating again!!

Arod

March 9th, 2011
2:02 pm

PLAYING COLLEGE SPORTS IS WORSE THAN HAVING A JOB. YOU CAN’T SPIT ON THE SIDEWALK W/O BEING IN VIOLATION OF SOME NCAA RULE. YOU CAN’T HAVE SEX, YOU CAN’T DRINK, YOU CAN’T HAVE PAST ALUM SHOW UP FOR PRESS RELEASES. IF CAM FATHER DID OR TRY TO GET PAID FOR HIS SON TO PLAY, I DON’T BLAME HIM. LOOK HOW MUCH MONEY AUBURN UNIV HAS MADE OFF THIS KID AND NOT TO MENTION THE BONUSES THE COACHING STAFF GET!!!!!!!!! CHILD PLEASE

I am a UGA grad and have always

March 9th, 2011
2:03 pm

I am in my 60s. I, over the MANY years, have either through business contacts in Georgia or attending HS games or by a chance meeting with a prospect, have always SOLD UGA hard and will always do that. Some listen and others politely say “I want to move on from this conversation”.

This goes on all the time over say, the summertime when kids are playing baseball or they are workding and you attend a game or meet them. It happens with every major school in the nation. Texas, Oklahoma, USC and UCLA and Ohio State and Northwestern, GT, Duke, Vandy, UGA, Florida and tons more.

Look at it this way …………. you play for a UGA coach in HS and ask him about HIS school. What does he say? I hated it? Yes, he would likely say “well, I am a UGA man but I am also your coach and as such, I advise you to make YOUR decision based on what is best for you.

Pollack and Godfrey pushed that envelope and should have known better. This is not serious.

Go Dogs.

Sir Hit a lot

March 9th, 2011
2:04 pm

I don’t get why these kids deserve so much hype for having accomplished 0 at the college level? Tons of great highschool kids are very good but fail at the next level such as some great college players fail in the NFL. If you had a brain as a kid, you should know that the HYPE factor is worthless to your credibility. If you are as good as you think you are, PROVE IT ON THE DAMN FIELD AT THAT NEXT LEVEL! This kid had 4 sacks this year and was outplayed by many that he went up against head to head and this was noticed by many who saw him play in 2010.

He nor any player is not worth putting your university in the spotlight all because these kids HAVE to have like a sweet 16 party to announce a freakin school?? Pitiful!!! I’t not just at UGA this crap happens at but EVERYWHERE!

Drew, get you butt on the field at UGA and SHOW what kind of player you are and lead by example…not HYPE! I think he is a bust by far and is not even 1 of the top 10 players UGA hauled in this year. I have seen him play 4 times and was less than impressed every single time! I watched a soph take him to school this year as well! Good luck at UGA drew but i see you nothing more as a BUST at UGA! Earn respect with your play and not your mouth!

RAY DREW= Jasper sanks 2.0….Bank on it!

The Ghost of Wally Butts

March 9th, 2011
2:04 pm

Can we count these violations toward defending the coveted Fulmer Cup championship?

Cutdown Day @ Alabama

March 9th, 2011
2:05 pm

Nice article Chip. Now you have given the haters an equivalency argument between OSU, Auburn, and UGA which is hilarious. Now maybe you can write about Saban’s annual “cutdown” before Spring Practice. Rivals has a link about 4 players getting “medical hardships”. Wink, wink!

NC Dawg

March 9th, 2011
2:05 pm

What a bunch of mularky! These NCAA folks have way too much time on their hands. It looks like their rules were put together by our government.

“Thank God we don’t get all the government we pay for.” – Will Rogers.

They are shown in the photo BUT, um who ...

March 9th, 2011
2:06 pm

Godfrey and Pollack are pictured for sure. No big deal and here is why: I want to know when the several pics of Pappy Newton and Scam and Co. are going to be released picking up their ALWAYS winning tickets at Victoryland. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm??

Tuna

March 9th, 2011
2:06 pm

Why is this a story? There is nothing here to worry about for the coaches, players, fans, and more importantly the overall program. Chip Towers has always been a hack and have NEVER understood why the AJC employs this guy as the UGA beat writer.

Ramblin Man

March 9th, 2011
2:06 pm

Wow some people getting pretty upset about nothing. It’s Chip job and not much is going on right now so what do you want him to report about? UGA will be fine this is nothing compared to what the NCAA is dealing with at other programs. The only way I could possibley see this becoming any type of issue is if Pollack really was on twitter saying the recruit was secure weeks before signing day and then had ties to UGA other than that of a former player.

Arod

March 9th, 2011
2:07 pm

btw….he didn’t have anyone panties in his lap. LOL

dawg

March 9th, 2011
2:07 pm

Can someone please tell me what good the NCAA is??