NCAA will make ‘inquiry’ at Georgia (UPDATED)

(Last updated 1:05 a.m. Thursday)

HOOVER, Ala. –- The NCAA, in the midst of a crackdown on improper dealings between college football players and agents, informed the University of Georgia late Wednesday afternoon that it will send investigators to campus to conduct an “inquiry.”

The probe is believed to be the latest in a recent string of NCAA investigations looking into possible improper benefits received by college football players from agents.

Investigations are known to be underway at North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Alabama.

Georgia associate athletic director Claude Felton confirmed Wednesday’s call from the NCAA and said UGA Athletic Association officials responded by pledging full cooperation.

Felton said the NCAA requested that UGA officials, coaches and student-athletes refrain from further comment on the matter “until the inquiry is completed.” Georgia interim athletic director Frank Crumley declined to comment when reached by the AJC.

The NCAA’s call to Georgia officials in Athens came as the SEC was wrapping up the first session of its annual media days event in Hoover, Ala., where the hot topic was the widespread recent allegations of improper agent activity.

“It’s epidemic right now,” Florida coach Urban Meyer said. “I think it’s always been there, from what I understand. . . . But I think we’ve reached a point where the size of college football, the magnitude of college football right now, [it] is really overwhelming.”

The NCAA is investigating whether Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus broke NCAA rules by attending a sports agent’s party on Miami’s South Beach during Memorial Day weekend, and NCAA investigators also have interviewed North Carolina players, including defensive tackle Marvin Austin, and South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders about the same party.

In addition, the NCAA is looking into an allegation that former Florida offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey accepted $100,000 from an agent’s representative between last season’s SEC Championship Game and the Sugar Bowl –- an allegation that Pouncey has strongly denied and called “absolutely ridiculous.”

Georgia’s highest-profile pro prospect, junior wide receiver A.J. Green, told SI.com on Tuesday, the day before the NCAA’s call to UGA, that he was not at the South Beach party that triggered investigations at three schools. Green said he spent Memorial Day weekend at home in Summerville, S.C., and that he was asked about the party by a Georgia compliance official on Tuesday.

“I never went to South Beach,” Green said.

Former Georgia wide receiver Michael Moore, Green’s teammate the past two seasons, said Wednesday night on Twitter: “Hahaha. This talk about A.J. is hilarious. That country boy ain’t never been to Miami!!! You can put those rumors to rest.”

It is not clear whether the NCAA informed Georgia which player or players it plans to interview.

NCAA rules prohibit college players from signing contracts with, or accepting benefits from, agents. If a player is found to have done so, he could face loss of college eligibility. If the NCAA finds that the school knew, or should have known, about the matter, the institution also could be penalized.

“At the conclusion of the process, when the facts are known, appropriate determinations will be made as to the amateurism status of the student-athlete and whether the institution was aware or should have been aware of the improper conduct based on existing NCAA rules,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Wednesday, speaking in generalities and not about any specific case.

Slive added: “Given the surreptitious nature of these matters, it is difficult, if not impossible, for institutions to know what might have taken place. . . . My point is, this isn’t done on Main Street at noon with a compliance officer sitting there. Our schools work very hard. We’ve talked about this issue over and over. We’ve brought experts in. Our schools do everything they can to educate student-athletes about what they should and shouldn’t do.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt and three players -– Green, punter Drew Butler and fullback Shaun Chapas -– are scheduled to arrive at media days Thursday morning for appearances before almost 1,000 media members here.

The NCAA’s recent focus on agent activity,  dubbed AgentGate by some, was much-discussed during the opening session of the SEC’s annual three-day media event Wednesday.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was most outspoken on the topic, exuding anger from the podium at the Wynfrey Hotel.

Although not excluding players from responsibility, Saban said agents are “entrapping and taking advantage of young people at a difficult time in their life” and should be banned from the agent business for a year if they endanger college players’ eligibility with improper inducements.

“I don’t think it’s anything but greed that is creating it right now on behalf of the agents,” Saban said. “Agents that do this, I hate to say this, but how are they any better than a pimp? I have no respect for people who do that to young people -– none. I mean, none. How would you feel if they did it to your child?”

Slive  called for a national re-examination of the agent issue, saying: “This is a national problem that calls for a national agent strategy for college athletics.” He said an NCAA committee should take an outside-the-box look at the issue.

“Dealing with improper agent conduct has been a challenge for a long time,” Slive said. “Not only for intercollegiate athletics, but also for the many good agents who try to follow the rules. It is time to reexamine the NCAA rules that relate to agents.”

After the story broke late Wednesday of the NCAA’s inquiry at Georgia, former Bulldogs linebacker Rennie Curran, who gave up his final season of college eligibility to enter this year’s NFL draft, addressed the matter on his Twitter account.

“Can’t believe how hard the ncaa is trying to crack down on college athletes,” Curran tweeted. “How can [you] expect someone not to look to outside sources…”

Continuing on his next tweet, Curran wrote: “… when there are video games being made of you, your jerseys getting sold, your family is struggling [and] you don’t even get a dime except pell [grant].”

Please follow @ajcuga on Twitter for updates.

365 comments Add your comment

First

July 21st, 2010
6:30 pm

Frank Lane

July 21st, 2010
6:32 pm

Did we have players at South Beach party. If so, whom?

Luckie

July 21st, 2010
6:33 pm

I think they may ask if they’ve seen a particular agent around campus.

Remarkable

July 21st, 2010
6:33 pm

This is about that picture that was taken at Dawg Night last Friday. Not a big deal.

Thomp

July 21st, 2010
6:33 pm

AJ close all those checking accounts! Put the money under the mattress! Pay cash for everything!

STUDENT ATHLETE

July 21st, 2010
6:35 pm

SURPRISE. SURPISE.

[...] AJC.com reports, “The University of Georgia received a call from the NCAA late this afternoon, [...]

Luckie

July 21st, 2010
6:36 pm

Who was in the picture?

TDone

July 21st, 2010
6:36 pm

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to hear that the NCAA is inquiring about some shenanigans going on at Georgia! Get out the red panties, boys, it’s going to be a bumpy night!

TheStinger

July 21st, 2010
6:38 pm

Looks like Chip Towers (aka big recruiter for UGA) may have finally stepped out too far.

Doyle Hargraves

July 21st, 2010
6:40 pm

Damon’s Revenge!

Buzz Me

July 21st, 2010
6:42 pm

I didn’t realize uga had any players of that caliber to talk to big time agents.

Vick=Dog killing Thug

July 21st, 2010
6:42 pm

Keep moving people, nothing to see here.

boots

July 21st, 2010
6:44 pm

Good Lord, here goes the AJC again – trying to whip up controversy so more people log on to their free web site. Give it a rest.

BowWow

July 21st, 2010
6:44 pm

Surely you jest. Misconduct in the athletic department at UGA? It’s not like they’re making a run at the Fulmer Cup or anything…

UGA should seriously considering disbanding their Football program. Their actions are a blemish not only on the university but on the entire State of Georgia.

dd

July 21st, 2010
6:45 pm

Hey, it could be worse. We could be tech or florida.

Rich

July 21st, 2010
6:45 pm

If there is smoke, there is fire.

Asylum13

July 21st, 2010
6:45 pm

We did have players there and they were all graduated from what I understand.

Fred the shoe is on the other foot

July 21st, 2010
6:45 pm

Fred

July 21st, 2010
8:29 am
If this happened to Georgia, Dareus would be suspended for 4 games by the NCAA. The bias is blatant it’s comical. But because it’s media darling “Alabama Crimson Tide”, the NCAA will look the other way.

Saban’s attacking agents, instead of the spotlight resting on Dareus, who should be suspended, regardless of Saban’s attempts to deflect attention.

How bout Saban suspending Dareus for a year, like he’s suggesting for the agents? Is he really as tough as he talks, or that a bunch of hot air?

LinkReport this comment.Fred

July 21st, 2010
8:33 am
Let me get this straight, is Saban saying Dareus is the “victim” here? You’ve got to be kidding? If Dareus went to the Miami party, all expenses paid by the agent, then Dareus didn’t know that going to a all expense paid party in Miami was against the rules?

come on, Dareus isn’t a helpless victim.

If coaches got tougher on players, this sort of thing would stop happening.

Saban’s light way of dealing with his player here, is more of the problem, than the agents.

Coach’s and players should be suspended for a year when this happens, that would stop this kind of thing from happening.

GTFan since 1990

July 21st, 2010
6:48 pm

Take that UGA!!!! YAYYYYYYYY! YAYYYYYYYYY GT! Buzz em JACKETZZZZ!!! We OWN UGA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monroe's first Redcoat

July 21st, 2010
6:49 pm

These a$$hole agents are nothing but vampires. Why not let the DL take the ones seen cruising the UGA campus out to Oconee Hills Cemetery behind the stadium and just beat the crap out of them??

GT79

July 21st, 2010
6:52 pm

Ha Ha Ha…..Rumor has it that many UGA athletes were carousing with agents with red panties on…..Georgia football is such a cesspool……Go Tech…..we will kick your leg humping butts in Athens this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DTC

July 21st, 2010
6:53 pm

If there is anything here at all, you can bet that Tennessee people are the ones that sicked the NCAA on GA. Whatever happened to the investigation, last year, with Tennessee, not Darick, last year? They always turn yellow and turn the NCAA on to Georgia, Alabama or someone else, no matter whether it is true or not, and then they get off. This has been going on since the 70’s.
And people wonder why I cannot stand Tennessee? They defame the name Volunteers, of which they are named after Davey Crockett and his Volunteers, who went to the Alama and died, so that others may live in peace.

Freak

July 21st, 2010
6:53 pm

How come there are so many Green Bay Packers fans in Georgia??

JB

July 21st, 2010
6:53 pm

I strongly doubt we had anyone there. We’ve also been squeaky clean, of anything serious, for a very, very long time. Frankly, not concerned in the least.

The only thing I’m presently concerned about is the state of mind of GTFan. “We own UGA”? Really???

HBTD!!!

[...] “Hi, we’re from the NCAA. Is there some place we can talk?” Jump to Comments Next stop:  Athens. [...]

DTC

July 21st, 2010
6:54 pm

And, you Georgia Tech fans, insult the integrity of your fantastic Educational Institution.

DTC

July 21st, 2010
6:54 pm

and after all of this, I think I need to keep my real opinion – to myself. :)

[...] to our Tim Tucker, the NCAA has contacted Georgia to inform the school of an “inquiry” on [...]

Kirby Smart

July 21st, 2010
6:57 pm

Bring me back to UGA and I will solve all of these problems.

SEC Fact Finder

July 21st, 2010
6:57 pm

From numerous reports, true or untrue, there was up to 45 players at this party, many of these players were led there by other players aka..recruited. Many players showed up and left immediatley upon finding out it was an Agent behind the party.

There will be numerous schools, hit with this….LSU, FL. ALA. SC, NC, and the list is just starting as each player interviewed is giving up other players in attendance.

At SEC Media days, Saban stated that the players on campus have been instructed and taught not to accept anything, go anywhere, contact, communicate or do anything to implicate they are doing things illlegally. That Marcel is not just a victim, he knew better, and has to pay the price if he did anything wrong, so some moron stating that coaches being suspended is just that..a suspended idiot….

At UGA we have players and AD’s drinking like sailors on leave….and committing minor crimes…we need to get into a better state of mind to get our on ship righted….to my fellow UGA alumni, fans, supporters….do not throw rocks,,,this investigation is just got going and I am afraid it will turn on us and many other schools to be named later….

[...] The University of Georgia confirmed today that it had received a call from the NCAA “requesting permission to send investigators onto campus to conduct an inquiry”.  Associate Athletic Director Claude Felton confirmed the call to the AJC but didn’t comment saying that the NCAA had asked that no UGA Officials, Coaches, or Student Athletes comment on the matter until the inquiry was made. [...]

Harry Box

July 21st, 2010
6:59 pm

Word on the street, is a certain UGA stud was seen wearing red panties down in South Beach back in May.

Beast from the East

July 21st, 2010
6:59 pm

To those that were throwing stones at Bama and UF, it’s okay to remove your foot from your mouth now. No one is immune this stuff. Hopefully, nothing is found out about any of our programs except may be one or two individual players received some benefits. Discipline them and let’s move on to some football.

lojak777

July 21st, 2010
7:00 pm

HEY DTC, you just hate UT cause we have beaten you like a rag doll 3 of the past 4 years. I mean hanging 50 on you in Athens, leading 28-0 in Knoxville. You may make up crap about the NCAA, but you are like all UGA fans–wanting to win so bad that you put down everyone else in your way. Pathetic

TUCK FECH

July 21st, 2010
7:03 pm

GEORGIA 60 wins over Techs 39 ..How does Tech own UGA?

I think UGA had a player at the party in Miami and of course No Techies are invited to great Parties!

GO DAWGS!

96 dawg

July 21st, 2010
7:06 pm

According to TMZ:

A source closely connected to Georgia’s athletic department tells TMZ the wide receiver allegedly attended a party at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach on Memorial Day weekend. Partying alone isn’t a crime under NCAA rules — Green is 21 years old — but if someone (like an agent or financial advisor) paid for anything related to Green’s trip … that could be a violation.

Bama fan

July 21st, 2010
7:06 pm

Looks like everyone is getting caught up a little in this. Word out of Bama is that Dareus showed up and like some of the other players realized an agent was behind it and left. I’m hearing the same thing as SEC fact checker that there were up to 45 different players from a lot of different schools.

Nobody is really going to get hit though. What are they gonna do? Put all 40 schools on probation that had a player show up at a party? They’ll come down on the agent pretty hard and some players will get suspensions and lose eligibility. Marvin Austin at UNC his case is a little more serious since it appears he may have accepted gifts and that he may have been recruiting other players to come. Looks like he might be gone at UNC.

Bama fan

July 21st, 2010
7:08 pm

Beast,

I just checked the other blog Tony Barnharts. They sure were throwing a lot of stones. Glass houses and all applies here.

wiley

July 21st, 2010
7:08 pm

I hope they dont call Tech. We had two top players leave last year but we dont have any highly projected guys this year…I hope that means we are in the clear.

Chuy Dawg

July 21st, 2010
7:08 pm

Hey Guys,

Take it for what it’s worth, TMZ sports is citing a confidential source. Word is that AJ is under this investigation.

I hope its not true.

oldmikey

July 21st, 2010
7:10 pm

So nobody thinks they should go after the agent(s)??

Harry Box

July 21st, 2010
7:12 pm

Marcel Dareus said that he and another 15 players left soon after they realized that an agent, or agents, had lured them their via other players. What about all the players that stayed? Did any of those players sign anything?

Coach Paul Johnson

July 21st, 2010
7:14 pm

Our performance on the football field has been a blemish on the entire state of Georgia for decades.

AJ Green

July 21st, 2010
7:14 pm

Deny, deny, deny….I shredded my bank statement, threw my cell in the ocean – er, I mean creek, and that limo was an Auburn limo. I just happened to be there.

George Stein

July 21st, 2010
7:14 pm

I’d encourage my fellow Tech fans to proceed with caution when making fun of this situation at UGA for a couple of reasons.
- First, and most importantly, they could be completely false. It’s just an inquiry
- Second, there will be plenty of time to make fun if they are proven true. Patience is a virtue. We can have fun with Damon Evans, and that should be enough for now.
- Third, we just had four guys taken in the draft. Who knows if Bay Bay or someone had illegal contact. Show some restraint here and may be when we’re under the microscope one day, the UGA fans will do the same.

George Stein

July 21st, 2010
7:15 pm

And most importantly, hopefully Tommy Hanson will pitch well tonight.

Sgt. Shultz

July 21st, 2010
7:16 pm

I know Nothing! I see Nothing colonel Hogan!

sparky

July 21st, 2010
7:17 pm

Marcel made it all the way down to South Beach only to turn around when he “heard” an agent was behind it. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight…….

Coach Hewitt..

July 21st, 2010
7:18 pm

A source said one potential interview subject is junior receiver A.J. Green, but if enforcement officials plan to ask Green about the now-infamous party in Miami Beach, Fla., on Memorial Day weekend that prompted the inquiries at North Carolina and South Carolina and an internal investigation at Alabama, they won’t learn much.
Reached by phone Tuesday night — almost a day before the NCAA contacted Georgia — Green told SI.com that he did not attend the party. Green, who is considered on of the nation’s best receivers, said a Georgia compliance official asked him Tuesday if he attended the party. Green said he spent Memorial Day weekend at home in Summerville, S.C.
“I never went to South Beach,” Green told SI.com.

This should be easy to verify….