ATHENS – A.J. Green, Georgia’s star wide receiver, will not play in today’s season opener because of a continuing NCAA investigation.
Georgia said in a statement barely two hours before kickoff that Green will miss the game “pursuant to UGA Athletic Association policy and pending a ruling from the NCAA clarifying his status.”
The NCAA informed Georgia on July 21 that it was launching an inquiry and would interview one player “to determine his knowledge of or involvement in, directly or indirectly, any violations of NCAA legislation.”
Earlier this week, Green and Georgia coach Mark Richt declined to say whether Green would play, saying they could not comment on the NCAA matter. As late as Friday night, Georgia had hoped it would receive a ruling from the NCAA before the game. Just after 10 a.m. today, Georgia gave up the wait and announced that Green would not play.
The NCAA is conducting investigations at a number of schools, centered around player-agent dealings and players possibly receiving impermissible benefits, but Georgia has not disclosed any specifics about what is being investigated in the Green case.
Although the NCAA has not ruled on the matter, Georgia faced a decision on whether to play Green because teams can be forced to vacate victories if it later is determined they used an ineligible player.
Green is the fourth UGA player to be sidelined from today’s game for off-field issues. Three players — running back Washaun Ealey, wide receiver Tavarres King and safety Alec Ogletree — are suspended from the game because of recent arrests.
Green, Ealey and King were on the field in jerseys and shorts as their teammates went through pregame warmups.
Please share your comments on the Green situation — or the game itself — on Mark Bradley’s live blog.