As expected, Georgia’s Kwame Geathers and Shawn Williams were handed down half-game suspensions Wednesday for their actions during last Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt. Commodores center Logan Stewart was also levied a half-game suspension in the wake of the Bulldogs’ 33-28 win this past Saturday in Nashville.
The suspensions of the players were based on NCAA rules and handed down by Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive in consultation with the respective schools.
“I did have the opportunity to speak to the Commissioner and discuss the incident,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “It’s certainly not representative of the Georgia way. I have always trusted the Commissioner’s judgment and understand and accept the decision. We’ll learn as well as grow from this situation and now turn our attention to preparing for Florida.”
Following is the news release from the SEC, which explains its ruling in each instance:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Upon review of game tapes of the football game between the University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University, played in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive has announced that Vanderbilt sophomore center Logan Stewart, Georgia sophomore defensive lineman Kwame Geathers and Georgia junior defensive back Shawn Williams have been suspended for the first half of their team’s next football games.
Vanderbilt hosts Army this Saturday while Georgia plays Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 29.
Geathers’ action was in violation of NCAA Football Rule 2-32-1-a for fighting. By NCAA Football Rule 9-5-1-b, the penalty for violation of the rule in the second half includes suspension for the first half of the team’s next scheduled game.
On the same play, Stewart’s suspension is the result of a flagrant personal foul which occurred at the 13:09 mark in the fourth quarter. The action is in violation of Rule 9-1 of the NCAA Football Rule Book, which states that a flagrant personal foul offender shall be disqualified.
Williams’ suspension is the result of a flagrant personal foul which occurred at the 2:08 mark in the third quarter. The action is in violation of Rule 9-1-4 of the NCAA Football Rule Book, which reads, “No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.”
This action is taken in accordance with Southeastern Conference Constitution, Article 4.4.2 (d), which states that a student-athlete may be suspended if it is determined that the student-athlete has committed a flagrant or unsportsmanlike act.
Geathers, a redshirt sophomore from Georgetown, S.C., has started three games at noseguard for the Bulldogs and alternates regularly with junior John Jenkins. He has seven tackles, a pass break-up and a quarterback pressure.
Williams, a junior from Damascus, has started every game this season, including one at inside linebacker. He is the Bulldogs’ third-leading tackler with 34 and has two interceptions, including one against Vanderbilt this past weekend.
Saturday’s game, clinched by Georgia in the final seconds, was extremely emotional. The night ended with Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham a shouting match at midfield. The SEC asked for reports from both schools but about that incident but indicated Wednesday that the is being “handled internally between league office and schools,” spokesman Charles Bloom said.
Here’s video of the hit that resulted in Williams’ suspension:
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– Chip Towers