(Updated 9 p.m.)
ATHENS – Georgia’s appeal of wide receiver A.J. Green’s four-game suspension will be heard by an NCAA committee Friday, UGA associate athletic director Claude Felton said.
The appeal will be heard via conference call by a quorum of the NCAA Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, consisting of officials from other schools and conferences.
Asked Wednesday night if he expects a ruling on the same day as the hearing, Georgia coach Mark Richt said: “I can only hope that.”
Green, who didn’t play in Georgia’s first two games, will have to sit out Saturday’s game against Arkansas and the Sept. 25 game at Mississippi State unless his suspension is shortened.
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Wednesday the Razorbacks have to prepare as if Green will be on the field Saturday, while Richt said Georgia has approached this week from the premise that Green won’t play.
“And then if it turns out he can play . . . we certainly can use him,” Richt said.
Georgia players say they’re prepared for either scenario.
“Hopefully they come back with a ruling that is favorable and he’ll be out there, but it’s not something you can bank on,” tight end Aron White said. “We’ve been preparing to where if he comes back great, but if he doesn’t we’ve got to still go out and get these games. We’re still the Bulldogs, with or without A.J.”
Cornerback Vance Cuff said a Green return would be “definitely a plus – about five pluses, to tell you the truth.”
The NCAA handed Green the four-game suspension last week for selling his Independence Bowl jersey for $1,000 to former North Carolina football player Chris Hawkins, whom the NCAA considers an agent. In several interviews, Hawkins has said that he bought the jersey as a collector and that he is not an agent.
It also would be against NCAA rules for a student-athlete to sell memorabilia to a non-agent.
In another development, the Morgan County Citizen and ESPN.com reported Wednesday that Hawkins, from Kinston, N.C., was arrested near Madison, Ga., on April 23, 2009, on felony charges of trafficking cocaine and misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana. He reportedly has an Oct. 18 court date in Morgan County.