Mark Richt blasts accusation that UGA selectively suspended running backs

ATHENS – A couple more things on these running back suspensions and then we’ll move on to the next thing for Georgia football.

Georgia coach Mark Richt addressed the situation for the first time during the SEC Coaches Weekly Teleconference on Wednesday. Here’s what he had to say:

  • Richt took umbrage with the accusation that Georgia knew about the positive drug tests for Isaiah Crowell, Ken Malcome and Carlton Thomas before the Florida game and put off their suspensions until this week’s game against New Mexico State:

“My response is that we’ve always had the utmost integrity in everything we do. We have policies in place in our athletic association that we follow to the T. That’s the case here and it’s been the case since I’ve been at Georgia. We all know that we do our business the way it should be done and we do it with integrity. So people who make comments who don’t know probably shouldn’t, quite frankly, because they don’t know and I’d be able to prove 100 percent they’re wrong. But I’m not going to spend the time doing that. The bottom line is we have rules and we follow them to the T and we have the utmost integrity in how we go about our business. That’s how we’ve built this program since the day I got here and we’re not going to change for any reason.”

  • Richt was asked about his philosophy regarding discipline and punishment and whether Georgia’s policies and procedures are adequate:

“I’ve always felt like was you have to have an element of punishment, something that will sting, something that will make somebody think twice about doing something or other guys who are watching, make them think twice. But you have to educate them, then you have to love them still. They’re still part of this family and we want them to understand we’re supporting them through it. But, you know, if the attitude is right and they’re ready to learn from it and become better for it, discipline can be a very positive thing in that way. Everything I’ve seen to this point has been pointing to that very thing. So I’m pleased with how they’re handling it. And then the other thing is, you’ve got to challenge the rest of your team to pick up the slack, whether it’s the young guys that are going to get this experience playing running back for the University of Georgia, when they thought that probably wasn’t very likely, all of the sudden they’re getting an opportunity to do something they probably dreamed of, which is a great thing. But the rest of the team, the special teams, the defense, the offensive line, the receiving corps, the quarterbacks, everybody’s got to play a little better to make sure that this situation is not going to cost us.”

  • Was he shocked or surprised that three players at one position would run afoul at once:

“Yeah, but I’m not surprised that young men make mistakes. We all know no one is perfect. We know that young guys tend to use bad judgment sometimes. When they do, that’s when we come in and help them out.”

  • On concerns about character issues for Crowell, who has already been suspended for one quarter this season:

    “I think Isaiah is going to do great, I really do. Because I saw how he has handled this mistake to this point and I really feel confident he’s going to be stronger for it. I really do.”

  • Richt indicated sophomore Brandon Harton is the “leading candidate” to start at tailback on Saturday, followed by freshman walkon Kyle Karempelis and they’ll mix in other players:

“I’m not sure I can spell his name right now, but it starts with a K,” Richt said of Karempelis. “I like him. He’s a tough kid. He’s got some good run skills. In camp he did a nice job. Harton did a nice job last spring. . . . We’ll have to use [Brandon] Boykin and little more and [Branden] Smith a little more and maybe go some no-back sets. We’ve got enough tight ends. We have some ways we can still move the football.”

ALSO . . .

>>>Here’s A LINK TO UGA’S DRUG-TESTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES. Everything you need to know is pretty much spelled out there. But since the accused parties are three players at the same position, it would seem reasonable to assume this week’s actions were the result of the “reasonable suspicion” clause. In other words, a coach or administrator suspected something and ordered a test for these guys, which they subsequently failed.

>>>Sooner or later, you have to question Georgia’s recruitment and coaching of the tailback position. Going back to Dontavius Jackson and continuing through Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, this makes six tailbacks in the last 15 months that have been subjected to some sort of suspension, dismissal or general disciplinary action. Bryan McClendon gets paid $200,000 a year to be the Bulldogs’ running backs coach. Ultimately, it is his responsibility to see that his charges are doing things “the Georgia way.”

>>>Finally, here are the options as we know them for playing tailback on Saturday against the New Mexico State Aggies (3-5), who, by the way, rank 111th in the nation in rushing defense (214.38 ypg):

  • TB Brandon Harton (5-6, 174, So.)
  • TB Kyle Karempelis (5-9, 180, Fr.)
  • TB Wes Van Dyk (6-0, 203, Sr.)
  • FB Zander Ogletree (5-10, 224, So.)
  • CB Brandon Boykin (5-10, 183, Sr.)
  • CB Branden Smith (5-11, 176, Jr.)
  • FS Nick Marshall (6-1, 195, Fr.)
  • CB Damian Swann (5-11, 177, Fr.)

1,013 comments Add your comment

yeah right

November 2nd, 2011
1:26 pm

Just make sure you schedule your testing for the right weeks, that’s the ticket.

db

November 2nd, 2011
1:27 pm

george

November 2nd, 2011
1:29 pm

what a joke the uga program has become

Tobias Funke

November 2nd, 2011
1:29 pm

Seems clear to me.

Go Dawgs

Dawg_Mike

November 2nd, 2011
1:32 pm

None of these guys are big enouhg to run in Bobo’s offensive philosophy except Ogletree. Give it to him and Figgins.

Dawg_Mike

November 2nd, 2011
1:32 pm

enough, sorry

Beauvighn

November 2nd, 2011
1:32 pm

Richt is lying through his teeth. This has been common knowledge around Athens for over a week.. Don’t think we are all idiots there Reverend.

yeah right

November 2nd, 2011
1:33 pm

…or you could do like every school in the SEC besides UGA and Kentucky and not suspend players for their first offense.

Tobias Funke

November 2nd, 2011
1:33 pm

I would love to hear what McClendon has to say about his “boys.”

hugedawgfan

November 2nd, 2011
1:33 pm

GET OVER IT!!!!!!!!!

Silence Broken!

November 2nd, 2011
1:33 pm

Dawg_Mike

November 2nd, 2011
1:34 pm

Seems clear to me. Drug test on Thursday, get results on Tuesday . Nothing to see here, grassy knoll and black helicopter folks….please keep moving along.

Newman

November 2nd, 2011
1:34 pm

McLendon is only a few years older than his players. He also never played running back. So do the math.

Brian

November 2nd, 2011
1:35 pm

@Georgie – Take a look at the disparity in disciplinary policies and standards among D1 football programs. Simply put, this isn’t even in the news at every school in the Big 10, plus 50+% of the rest of D1. Why? Because UGA continues to have the harshest penalties for drug and alcohol related offenses of any school in the country.

That doesn’t make UGA a joke. It makes those that criticize UGA for holding their athletes to a substantially higher standard the joke.

RAMBLE ON!!!

November 2nd, 2011
1:35 pm

“Jesus is just alright with me” Richt is protecting his Doobie Brothers backfield.

Inspector G

November 2nd, 2011
1:36 pm

Matthew Stafford is the lone reason why New Mexico continues to be a State. One time, he was in Civics at UGA and was asked why he thought New Mexico should be a state, he responded ‘because I said so’. And so it was. For a celebration he took the entire civics class (65 people) to Amicis in Athens for some buffalo chicken garcheemar, which by all accounts was delicious.

-Inspector G

GTBob

November 2nd, 2011
1:36 pm

I’d be able to prove 100 percent they’re wrong. But I’m not going to spend the time doing that.

Probably not the best choice of words if you are trying to convince someone of something. I think we all know the truth. He seems a little upset that he got caught though.

lowdownjj

November 2nd, 2011
1:36 pm

I am a Tech fan but respect Richt a great deal. He has integrety and high morals. I for one don’t question when he learned of the results. Being a Jacket fan I really hope some of the UGLA fans get their wish and he gets fired though!

Puff Puff Pass

November 2nd, 2011
1:37 pm

This won’t be the last time Crowell and mistake will be in the same paragraph.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

November 2nd, 2011
1:37 pm

Look Richts cover this up he puts himself in Tressell jeopardy. He is canned if he covers it up so no coverup conspiracy theorists.

Also Crowell looks like the next Demetrius Summers. Terrible waste of talent if this young man does not screw his head on straight.

Tobias Funke

November 2nd, 2011
1:37 pm

All this fuss over a plant.

bulldog steve

November 2nd, 2011
1:37 pm

Publish some other SEC schools and Tech’s drug policy and lets see how they compare.

Richard

November 2nd, 2011
1:39 pm

Chip:

Please update your article to let the readers of the AJC know that Georgia and Kentucky are the only two schoolsin the SEC that even suspend players for a fisrt offense of failling a drug test. If it happens at the other ten schools, the plaey is only suspended if their is a second offense.

Shouldn’t you be congratulating UGA on their tough drug policy?

rok

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

November 2nd, 2011
1:39 pm

I see a lot of stones being thrown from glass houses. Beauvighn, I do believe it is you that is lying through your teeth.

RAMBLE ON!!!

November 2nd, 2011
1:39 pm

“Because UGA continues to have the harshest penalties for drug and alcohol related offenses of any school in the country.”

BHAWHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH!!!!

did someone just really say that?!?

Can I get an AMEN to that Brother Odell?

Richt's Tanning Salon

November 2nd, 2011
1:39 pm

Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a piece of that weeed brownie! Seriously, Richt is full of poo, there is no way they did not know about this before the Florida game. I am still wondering with that 5-7 day wait period for the test to come back means they were toking beforehand. Forfeit the uga win against florida end of story.

Go Richt

November 2nd, 2011
1:40 pm

Show everyone y’all ain’t messin’ around

P. Bull Terrier

November 2nd, 2011
1:41 pm

At least now we understand why Crowell had to come out of games so frequently. It wasn’t for water breaks, it was for snack breaks. Trying to play football with a severe case of the munchies must be tough.

If we can get the running backs clean and sober, maybe they will finally live up to expectations on the field.

I’m happy for the chance Harton and Karempelis will get this weekend. I hope the UGA fans will support them, and cheer for them, like they are the second coming of Herschel Walker. Obviously, they are the guys who are working hard and doing the best they can for the program. They deserve our respect for that.

Richt's Tanning Salon

November 2nd, 2011
1:41 pm

RAMBLE ON!!!

November 2nd, 2011
1:35 pm
“Jesus is just alright with me” Richt is protecting his Doobie Brothers backfield.

LOL

UGA '05

November 2nd, 2011
1:42 pm

Richt is telling the truth. It takes anywhere from 24-36 hours to receive results from a drug test. By that time, they were already suited up in Jacksonville warming up with no chance to receive news about the failed drug test. Richt haters are just mad we’re 6-2 after a 6-7 season last year. All I can say to them is HAHAHAHAHA. Richt is still gonna be here and I happy for that.

DawginLex

November 2nd, 2011
1:43 pm

tanning salon idiot

It is not an NCAA violation to smoke weed you moron.

If there were steroids involved, different story but there are not.

Why am i even wasting my time typing this in response to a moron?

Rampdawg

November 2nd, 2011
1:44 pm

SUSPENSION POLICY FOR ALL AQ SCHOOLS

All you Tech fans, and fans of a lot these schools should keep your traps shut. No suspensions for a 1st. failed test. Here are all the AQ schools:

DRUG POLICY SUSPENSION LENGHTS

The minimum required number of games a student-athlete is suspended for each of the 68 automatic-qualifying BCS conference football programs, using next year’s conference affiliations, based on a (1) first-positive test for recreational drugs; (2) second-positive test; (3) third-positive test; (4) fourth-positive test and (5) fifth-positive test. Drug policies are obtained through public records requests or from the school’s official website.

ACC

Boston College: (1) none; (2) two weeks; (3) one year.

Clemson: (1) none; (2) none; (3) dismissal. Note: Clemson policy indicates athlete must perform 15-30 hours of community service for a first positive and a minimum of 30 hours for a second positive.

Duke: (1) none; (2) 50 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Florida State: (1) none; (2) unspecified suspension; (3) dismissal. Note: length of suspension for second positive determined by the school’s substance abuse committee and “influenced by the length of the season.”

Georgia Tech: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) one year; (4) dismissal.

Maryland: (1) none; (2) two weeks; (3) one year.

Miami: (1) one game; (2) two games; (3) dismissal.

North Carolina: (1) none; (2) 50 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

N.C. State: (1) none; (2) 20 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Virginia: (1) none; (2) suspension determined by head coach; (3) indefinite suspension.

Virginia Tech: (1) 10 percent of games; (2) 33 percent of games; (3) one year; (4) dismissal.

Big East

Cincinnati: (1) 10 percent of games; (2) 20 percent of games; (3) dismissal

UConn: (1) none; (2) 30-to-60 days; (3) one year; (4) dismissal

Louisville: (1) none; (2) suspension, (3) suspension, (4) one year. Note: length of suspension for second positive determined by coach or athletic director; third suspension must be longer than second suspension.

Pittsburgh: Although a public university, Pittsburgh is not required to respond to public record requests and refused to provide policy.

Rutgers: (1) none: (2) two weeks; (3) one year; (4) dismissal. Note: athlete with a first positive may be suspended up to two weeks at athletic director’s discretion.

South Florida: (1) none; (2) 20 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

West Virginia: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of season; (3) dismissal. Note: athlete with a first positive is suspended an indefinite amount of times until they produce a negative test result.

Big Ten

Illinois: (1) none; (2) 1/12th of regular-season games; (3) 1/4th of regular season games; (4) one year.

Indiana: (1) none; (2) one game; (3) dismissal.

Iowa: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Michigan: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) one year.

Michigan State: (1) none; (2) 30 days; (3) one year.

Minnesota: (1) none; (2) 20 percent of games; (3) one year.

Nebraska: (1) none; (2) suspension determined by head coach; (3) dismissal.

Ohio State: (1) none; (2) two weeks; (3) one year.

Penn State: (1) none; (2) seven days; (3) one year; (4) dismissal.

Purdue: (1) none; (2) none; (3) 10 percent of games; (4) “may be dismissed” with athletic director making decision.

Wisconsin: (1) none; (2) 30 days; (3) dismissal.

Big 12

Baylor: (1) one game; (2) 10 percent of games plus one game; (3) dismissal.

Iowa State: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games: (3) dismissal.

Kansas: (1) none; (2) whichever is less: two games or 10 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Kansas State: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Missouri: (1) none; (2) seven days; (3) dismissal.

Oklahoma: (1) none; (2) one game; (3) “expulsion from athletic program.” Note: Athlete with three positives may be reinstated “upon completion of a qualified drug rehabilitation program.”

Oklahoma State: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) 50 percent of games; (4) dismissal.

Texas: (1) none; (2) “if suspended, length of suspension determined by athletic director;” (3) dismissal.

TCU: (1) none; (2) “may include at least” one-year suspension; (3) dismissal.

Texas Tech: (1) none; (2) one game; (3) dismissal.

PAC-12

Arizona: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) one year; (4) dismissal.

Arizona State: (1) none; (2) 25 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Cal: (1) none; (2) two weeks; (3) one year.

Colorado: (1) none; (2) 20 percent of games; (3) one year.

Oregon: (1) none; (2) length of suspension, if any, not indicated; (3) dismissal.

Oregon State: (1) none; (2) length of suspension, if any, not indicated; (3) dismissal. Note: Policy says student “may be expelled” for second positive, but doesn’t indicate a specific length if suspended.

Utah: (1) none; (2) 25 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

UCLA: (1) none; (2) none; (3) one game; (4) dismissal.

Washington: (1) none; (2) 15 percent of games; (3) one year; (4) dismissal.

Washington State: (1) none; (2) 30 days; (3) one year.

SEC

Alabama: (1) none; (2) 15 percent of games; (3) one year; (4) dismissal.

Arkansas: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) 50 percent of games; (4) dismissal.

Auburn: (1) none; (2) 50 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Florida: For marijuana/synthetic marijuana: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) 20 percent of games; (4) dismissal. For all other drugs: (1) 50 percent of games; (2) dismissal.

Georgia: (1) 10 percent of games; (2) 50 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Kentucky: (1) 10 percent of games; (2) 50 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

LSU: (1) none; (2) “up to 15 percent of games;” (3) one year.

Ole Miss: (1) none; (2) none; (3) three games.

Mississippi State: (1) none; (2) 50 percent of games; (3) one year; (4) dismissal.

South Carolina: (1) none; (2) 25 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Tennessee: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Texas A&M: (1) none; (2) “possible suspension;” (3) possible dismissal.

Note: Private universities not required to respond to public record requests that would not voluntarily provide drug policy: Notre Dame, Northwestern, USC, Stanford, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. However, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald told CBSSports.com his school has a substance abuse policy but did not disclose the specifics.

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D-MAN

November 2nd, 2011
1:44 pm

We would of beat that sorry gator team without Crowell,with 10 minutes to go in second quarter they managed to get 3 points the rest of game!

P. Bull Terrier

November 2nd, 2011
1:45 pm

So, what you’re saying “Richt’s Tanning Salon” is that Florida couldn’t beat a Georgia team that was playing the game with a bunch of stoned running backs so Georgia should have to forfeit? It seems to me that if Florida has fallen that far behind, maybe it’s time for them to join the ACC.

Throw me a bone

November 2nd, 2011
1:45 pm

Did they smoke together or what lol..how do 3 players who play the same position get busted and no1 else does

Hairy Grandma

November 2nd, 2011
1:45 pm

Very interesting how this just happens to come to light after the big football game this past weekend. Mr. Richt seems like a good guy, I personally have always liked him, only thing is he is to soft on his players. I think the game this weekend with or without the suspensed players is going to be an easy win. Let’s look ahead to the Auburn game and keep focused.

Go Dawgs, woof woof!!!!

Tobias Funke

November 2nd, 2011
1:45 pm

In 11 years as head coach, name one other time he has lied…. that’s what I thought.

We have no reason to not believe him. Also, who cares? They are college students and it is a plant! Better than getting drunk if you ask me.

Puff Puff Pass

November 2nd, 2011
1:46 pm

I seen Jacksonville State’s coach at the game this past Saturday recruiting Crowell.

Dawg Girl

November 2nd, 2011
1:46 pm

To eveyone who continues to speculate and dwell on this– GET A LIFE!! And focus on your own teams, because I doubt you are true Georgia fans. Sheesh, this is becoming very annoying and redundant!

Dawg Girl

November 2nd, 2011
1:47 pm

I meant *everyone

OkieDawg

November 2nd, 2011
1:47 pm

@GTBob….In every blog, GT or UGA, you cut and paste a statement and then put it italics. This action is then followed by some pointless opinionated drivel. Frankly, it drives me crazy. Do you spend 24/7 on blogs? Dude, please, get a life.

msd

November 2nd, 2011
1:47 pm

Total BS. Spoken like a Bowden disciple.

j

November 2nd, 2011
1:48 pm

He knew within 5 minutes of that test on Thursday that they failed. If you aren’t going to do anything about it, just quit testing them period. Man, this program is near rock bottom. When was the last win over a ranked team???

Where is Saint Simons

November 2nd, 2011
1:49 pm

@Chip

You must still be upset with Georgia win over Florida, just reading your article it seems you dont care for Georgia much. Just one man thought.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

November 2nd, 2011
1:50 pm

Maybe this is the new “Georgia Way” . . . it certainly seems so.

Glenn

November 2nd, 2011
1:50 pm

A couple of questions: How did the bloggers know about the failed drug tests and upcoming suspensions a week-and-a-half before they were announced by Mark Richt and the University? Do they have ESP?

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 2nd, 2011
1:52 pm

Lex, it’s not a NCAA violation to drive 120mph, but it is against the law.

Chuck

November 2nd, 2011
1:52 pm

Steve – don’t hold your breath about the AJC publishing the fact that TECH does not suspend players for their first failed drug test.

You will be dead years before the AJC treats both programs the same way.

Tobias Funke

November 2nd, 2011
1:52 pm

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Big Character Guy

November 2nd, 2011
1:53 pm

So UGA has a tough first offense drug policy. If you are going to enforce it during cupcake week is it really that tough.