(Updated 5 p.m.)
ATHENS – University of Georgia President Michael Adams expects the NCAA’s investigation of star wide receiver A.J. Green to be resolved “soon,” but he wouldn’t predict the outcome of the case.
“It’s being handled by our lawyers,” Adams said in an interview Saturday. “I know the outline of it, as I should, but what the verdict is going to be or any of the details, I both can’t and shouldn’t talk about until it is over.”
Asked if he considers it to be a serious matter, Adams said: “I don’t know yet. It doesn’t appear to be at this stage.”
Georgia did not play Green in Saturday’s 55-7 season-opening victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, announcing two hours before the game that he would be held out “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 — Green, it soon became clear — “to determine his knowledge of or involvement in, directly or indirectly, any violations of NCAA legislation.”
In the days preceding Saturday’s opener, Green and coach Mark Richt declined to say whether Green would play. As late as Friday night, Georgia officials hoped to receive a ruling from the NCAA before kickoff. Just after 10 a.m. Saturday, UGA gave up the wait and announced Green would not play.
Adams said he does not fault the NCAA for not reaching a decision before the first game.
“You always want as much behind you as you can have before the season starts, but some of these things have a lot of details to them, and I don’t fault the NCAA,” Adams said. “I’d rather get it right on the front end, even if it’s not as quick as we might think.
“I’ve sat on both sides of these [situations]. … In a sense, it’s a judicial operation, and you have to give it time to work. I think it’s better to let the process work, put it to bed one way or another. I would rather it take a little longer and get it over with.”
The NCAA currently is conducting investigations at a number of schools, mostly 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. At one point, Green acknowledged he was asked by Georgia officials if he attended an agent-hosted party in Miami and said he told them that he did not.
Although Adams said he “can’t, shouldn’t and won’t” reveal details of the case, he was asked Saturday if the Green investigation is similar to agent-related NCAA probes at other schools. He replied: “No, I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to say that. … I think you don’t know all they’re looking at until it’s over. So if you just limited it to that or excluded that, you’d be making a mistake either way.”
Richt continued his silence on the subject after Saturday’s game.
“I’m just going to do what I was told,” he said, “and that’s just not make any comment on the A.J. Green situation.”
Green was not available for comment.
With Georgia’s SEC opener next Saturday at South Carolina, it’s unclear whether there will be a resolution to the case by then.
“I think it will be soon,” Adams said, “but I just don’t know for sure.”
Please share your comments on the Green case — or the game itself — on Mark Bradley’s live blog.