(11:29 a.m. and 12:04 p.m. updates below)
HOOVER, Ala. – Georgia’s delegation arrived here this morning for SEC Media Days and immediately faced questions about Wednesday’s news that the NCAA will send investigators to campus for an “inquiry.”
In interviews before their formal appearances before the media later this morning, Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green said he has “never” been to Miami, where various players’ attendance at an agent’s party reportedly led to NCAA probes at three other schools, and coach Mark Richt said he doesn’t believe the NCAA inquiry will necessarily bring bad news.
“I don’t know if it is [bad news] or not, quite frankly,” Richt said. “By the way you posed the question, you’re saying it’s never good news [when the NCAA investigates]. Then you’re saying it’s bad news. I don’t necessarily think it is bad news.
“I’m sure they’re gathering information, but we’ll see what they gather.”
Richt said he does not believe the NCAA probe will be a distraction to the team, which starts preseason practice on Aug. 2.
Asked if he is worried at this point about having a player or players declared ineligible, Richt said: “I’m not going to make any comment about anything having to do with the investigation.”
Asked if the NCAA is looking into the activities of one player or more than one player, Richt said: “I don’t know at all. And actually I’m asked not to make any comment about it.”
UGA associate athletic director Claude Felton said the NCAA requested that the school’s officials, coaches and players not comment on the matter until the inquiry is completed.
Green, Georgia’s top pro prospect, has said that he was asked by a Georgia official on Tuesday if he attended the agent’s party in Miami and that he said no.
He reiterated this morning that he has “never” been to Miami.
“I’m not even focused on that,” Green said of the tumult about the NCAA probe. “I’m just focused on getting ready for the season.”
Asked if he is worried about what might come of the investigation, Green said simply: “No.”
Asked if it is a hassle, he said: “Not really. Just random stuff, but it’s not a hassle.”
UPDATE 11:25 A.M.:
Before the full media contingent, Richt’s topic turned to his team and the approaching season, of all things.
He seemed decidedly upbeat.
“Everything I’ve seen so far makes me think we’re going to have what it takes from an emotional standpoint, a physical standpoint,” he said.
Despite a turbulent off-season that has included the arrests of seven players, the arrest and resignation of the athletic director and now an NCAA inquiry, Richt said it has been a good offseason from a football standpoint.
“There is an energy we have this offseason we probably haven’t had in a while,” he said.
Richt said the team has high respect for redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray and is rallying around him. Richt said he believes the offense will be improved this season with a good complement of run and pass. He said he hopes Green stays healthy all season and believes he will improve as a blocker.
And to the inevitable question of how he feels about reports putting him on the occupational “hot seat,” Richt said: “I understand the business. I understand how things go. I don’t worry about it.”
UPDATE 12:04 P.M.:
In the big ballroom before the full media contingent here, A.J. Green honored the request by Georgia officials that he not discuss the NCAA inquiry.
Asked if that frustrates him, if there are things he would like to say but can’t, he said: “It’s not my place to comment on it. I don’t feel like I have to.”
On another matter, Green confirmed that he has taken out an insurance policy to protect his future potential NFL earnings against a career-ending injury.
More to come.
Please follow @ajcuga for quick updates from Media Days.
Earlier story updated: NCAA contacts UGA, says it will launch ‘inquiry’