Monetary gifts from Richt among secondary NCAA violations reported by UGA

Mark Richt has given more than $50,000 of his own money the last three years to current and former staff members when UGA's athletic administration refused to step up with compensation. (UGA photo)

Mark Richt has given more than $60,000 of his own money the last three years to current and former staff members when UGA's athletic administration refused to step up with compensation. (UGA photo)

ATHENS – Mark Richt’s generosity and compassion toward his staff has landed the Georgia football coach in hot water with the NCAA.

Richt made personal payments of more than $25,000 to coaches and support staff due to what he perceived as inadequate compensation for those individuals. Richt’s actions were determined to be secondary violations of NCAA rules regarding supplemental pay, according to a recent NCAA review of an lengthy internal investigation conducted by UGA.

According to those reports, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through the Freedom of Information Act, Richt paid former recruiting assistant Charlie Cantor $10,842 over an 11-month period through March of 2011, former linebackers coach John Jancek $10,000 in the summer of 2009 and $6,150 to director of player development John Eason in July of 2010. All of the payments were made by checks from Richt’s personal bank account after UGA’s previous athletic administration declined his requests for increased compensation for those parties.

However, Richt unknowingly violated the provisions of NCAA bylaw 11.3.2.2, which regulates supplemental pay for staff members. Both Richt and the staff members who accepted his payments received letters of admonishment from UGA and must undergo additional rules education, according to the documents.

Richt was unavailable for comment on Monday. Athletic Director Greg McGarity declined to discuss details about the case, but acknowledged that all the violations discovered were deemed secondary and that the NCAA considers it a closed matter as of Nov. 30th.

“The report stands on its own,” McGarity said on Monday. “There’s nothing to add. We’re moving forward.”

Richt’s unsanctioned payments were just a few of several violations discovered by UGA in an internal investigation led by attorney Mike Glazier of the NCAA-specialized lawfirm of Bond, Schoeneck & King of Overland Park, Kan. In all, the Bulldogs admitted to committing at least 10 secondary violations in separate reports submitted first to the SEC office in Birmingham.

The NCAA enforcement staff reviewed those reports and responded with its findings in a Nov. 30th letter to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. In summary, the NCAA agreed with assertions of Georgia and the SEC that all the violations were secondary. As a result of actions already taken, “no further action should be taken by the NCAA in the matter,” wrote Christopher Stroebel, NCAA director of enforcement for secondary violations.

Also revealed in the report:

  • Georgia was determined to have violated game-simulation recruiting rules during an unofficial visit last January by prospective student-athlete Marshall Morgan. Morgan is a place-kicker from Coral Springs, Fla., who has committed to sign in the class of 2012. Coaches played a video of the Georgia fans’ doing the traditional cheer, “Go Dawgs, Sic ‘Em,” on the Sanford Stadium videoboard, while Morgan pretended to kickoff. Richt self-reported the incident retrospectively after learning that the “missing man formation” the Bulldogs’ orchestrated for Isaiah Crowell last January constituted a secondary violation.
  • Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had impermissible contact with an unidentified recruit in May of 2010. After signing in at the front office of a high school, Grantham walked down a hall looking for the school’s football coach. Unable to locate the coach’s office, Grantham was approached by a young man who asked if he could help him find his way. As it turned out, that individual was the prospect Grantham was there to recruit. Their “small talk” on the way to the coach’s office exceeded the NCAA’s limits for “greetings” during a non-contact period and Georgia was found to be in violation of NCAA bylaws 13.02.4 and 13.1.1.1 regarding contact. As a result, Grantham was withheld from off-campus recruiting activities from Nov. 27-Dec. 3, the number of evaluation days for the football staff for spring of 2012 was reduced from 168 to 158 and Grantham was ordered to attend a two-day rules seminar next summer.
  • An unidentified football prospect (his name was redacted because he is now enrolled at UGA) received impermissible overnight lodging and transportation during an overnight visit last year. The prospect was scheduled to spend the night with a student-athlete in a university dormitory, which is sanctioned, but made a “spur-of-the-moment decision” to stay with another student-athlete at an off-campus apartment. Off-campus lodging and transportation for which is impermissible.
  • Last month, Georgia provided two free meals to Tyriq Gurley, the 5-year-old little brother of 2012 running back prospect Todd Gurley. Meals were permitted for Gurley and his parents but not for siblings on the official visit. The Gurleys reimbursed UGA $21.33 for the child’s meals and UGA reported a violation of bylaw 13.6.7.7.

Those minor violations were added to a list that included Crowell’s “the missing man formation,” the impermissible participation of football lettermen Randall Godfrey and David Pollack in the commitment announcement ceremony of then-prospect, and the routine overpayment of four graduate assistants due to a clerical error last spring, and several instances of inadvertent “pocket dialing” of prospects during impermissible periods earlier this year.

While all the violations are minor and seem trivial in nature, McGarity was profusely apologetic in his seven-page letter to Slive.

“I want you to know that I am disappointed and embarrassed to be reporting multiple secondary violations in our football program,” McGarity wrote. “It is my hope, however, that after reviewing our self-report of each of these matters, you will come to the same conclusions that I have.”

Ultimately, Slive and the NCAA agreed with Georgia’s assessment. But McGarity is vowed to step up the Bulldogs’ educational efforts regarding NCAA policy. In addition to regularly-scheduled classes, he has instituted monthly and quarterly meetings for coaches and support staff.

Clearly the most intriguing findings were those that detailed Richt’s under-the-table payments to staff when the previous administration refused his requests. Not only does it illustrate Richt’s determination to do what he perceived as right for his staff members, it offers a glimpse into the dynamics of the relationship between Richt and former AD Damon Evans.

  • Richt decided to pay Cantor money out of his own pocket after determining that Cantor was underpaid for his position compared to comparable programs against whom Georgia competed. Richt asked for a $10,000 raise. However, the University was in the midst of a campus-wide pay freeze and was experiencing furloughs, so Evans declined. Richt subsequently paid Cantor $834 a month over 13 months via personal check.
  • Richt did the same thing in the summer of 2009. Richt asked the administration for a raise for linebackers coach John Jacek after he was offered the coordinator’s position in the summer of 2009. Richt’s request was declined, so he wrote Jancek a personal check for $10,000 on June 30, 2009.
  • Eason received a $6,150 pay cut when Richt moved him off the coaching staff into an administrative role. Richt wrote a personal check for that amount to Eason in July of 2010.

McGarity contends it wasn’t rogue behavior on Richt’s part. The UGA AD included exhibits in his report of instances in which the athletic department sanctioned monetary gifts from Richt.

In December 2009, due to “difficult economic conditions being experienced by the University,” the athletic department decided to not provide “bowl bonuses” to non-coach staff members. Richt went to senior associate AD Frank Crumley and asked him to provide a chart of who would have normally received bonuses and in what amount. Crumley provided that list and Richt paid 10 people – sports medicine director Ron Courson, video coordinator Joe Tereshinski, strength and conditioning coaches Keith Gray and Clay Walker, football operations manager Josh Brooks, high school relations director Ray Lamb and four administrative assistants — $15,227 out of his own pocket.

Richt also paid the $15,337.50 five-year longevity bonus to former assistant Dave Johnson when Johnson left Georgia in 2008 just short of his fifth anniversary and the administration refused to pay. Richt paid $6,000 to Jon Fabris in December of 2010 when Fabris was unable to find a job after his UGA severance package expired.

In each case,the payments were not considered against NCAA rules because they were done with the knowledge of the athletic administration, according to the report.

McGarity wrote in the report that he included details of those actions by Richt because “the University believes Coach Richt acted out of a generous heart and certainly without any intent to violate NCAA rules.” McGarity explained that Richt and his wife Katharyn maintain two checking accounts, one that is used primarily by his wife for household expenses. The other, monitored by Richt, is what they call their “Giving Account.”

690 comments Add your comment

Old Boy

December 20th, 2011
5:40 am

No good deed. . .

barrow dog

December 20th, 2011
5:42 am

how do the number of secondary violations compare to other sec teams ?

Tech fan

December 20th, 2011
5:42 am

That ole Mark Richt is a good dude.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

December 20th, 2011
5:43 am

Sounds like Richt is the kind of coach you would want to work for. Standup man! Also the NCAA does not allow lunches for siblings? Some things never fail to amaze you.

Wrecker

December 20th, 2011
5:43 am

Not much to see here, except for the Richt payments. He may have acted out of generosity, but the payments were obvious rule violations. Definitely secondary violations that were reported, so no real story.

Old Boy

December 20th, 2011
5:45 am

If members of his staff were really experiencing financial hardships, then I am glad Richt did what he did. That is what leaders do; they take care of their people when their people need help. As for Todd Gurley’s brother, that seems like a serious flaw in the recruiting process. There needs to be an age where siblings can attend events with the recruit. It is not like the parents could have left a 5-year old at home when they attended this event.

Wrecker

December 20th, 2011
5:50 am

I am guessing that the sibling rule came about because of 15-16 year old brothers that also played football, rather than 5-year olds. Without the rule, coaches could obtain an impermissible advantage in recruiting two-for-ones. I think the same problem occurs with eligible twins. You cannot provide housing or food for a recruit’s brother to escape the limitations on official visits/contact.

Yeahyeahyeah

December 20th, 2011
5:54 am

Destin Dawg

December 20th, 2011
6:07 am

not much here except Mark Richt is a great guy.. not money motivated.. so extend him without a pay raise… Grantham too.. the best D.C. in college FB… Go Dawgs.. beat MSU..

Old Dawg

December 20th, 2011
6:09 am

yes extend Richt and Grantham.. I mean Spurrier ’s been extended at S.C… look at the coaching turmoil at Fla. Auburn, Tenn. etc.

tenn.DAWG

December 20th, 2011
6:16 am

The man ” Walks the Walk ” no wonder he has the most stable coaching staff in the SEC,he takes care of his own.This is certainly the guy I would want coaching and teaching my son life lessons.

GT fan

December 20th, 2011
6:25 am

Being a Georgia Tech fan, I have to credit Coach Richt. The NCAA needs to be changed. The NCAA does not pay federal taxes and their managment people make very good money. I know we don’t like each other on the playing field, but I think your coach did the right thing. The NCAA looks bad on this one.

Big Jim

December 20th, 2011
6:28 am

How many coaches have a “Giving Account”? Mark Richt is a great example of “talking the talk and walking the walk”. My guess is he would never want anybody to know he did these things for his fellow associates. He is a good man and UGA is lucky to have him.

BigDaddy

December 20th, 2011
6:30 am

Little doubt Coach Richt is much of a man. I appreciate his stand on oversigning also.

[...] But once you cross that threshold, Mark Richt’s bound to be a repeat offender. [...]

North Georgia Dawg.

December 20th, 2011
6:36 am

This once again proves to me that C.M.R. talks the talk and walks the walk. He has compassion for his entire staff and not just out for his on personal gain. Why wound I not want my son playing for this man?Teaching his players that the real game which is the game of life is just not about yourself.

Destin Dawg

December 20th, 2011
6:36 am

thats why mark Richt is a great recruiter… the kids and his asst’s trust him… he may not be tough enough to suit some of us.. like demote BoBo to QB’s and recruiting coordinator… for example ??

Jalex49

December 20th, 2011
6:38 am

Coach Richt is a stand-up coach and as a fan, I’m glad he’s Georgia’s coach! This surely demonstrates the true character of this man. I tend to believe that he does love his coaches and players and their families and has a heart to help ensure they are treated fairly. A good man to work for and a great man to play for.. no matter what the record!

Maybe that’s why he doesn’t over-sign, he knows in his heart and soul it’s not right to do and he walks and talks his beliefs. If I were a coach or recruit, would this be the type of person I would want to be around? Me personally, the answer is yes, I would always know he cares.

I wish him the best now and in the future..

Shieldy

December 20th, 2011
6:38 am

This shows NCAA’s “federal govt” like beuracracy & how stupid it is. Can you imagine what it costs to have these attorneys investigate?! McGarity is such a wus too, he’s going to teach how UF does when he really had like zero control down there! I’m embarrassed for him to try & tell Richt these are items he needs to be careful about, they’re stupid rules to begin with!

south

December 20th, 2011
6:41 am

I love that Mark Richt is our coach and will be for many more years….what possible competitve advantage was achieved by giving a little extra to your staff??

Go Dawgs!

December 20th, 2011
6:43 am

Integrity! The dude has integrity. As for the 5 year old brother, some rules are made to be broken.

reddog

December 20th, 2011
6:47 am

i applaud mark richt for giving from his heart, and wish somehow ncaa could use some common sense with each violation and elininate some of the stupid rules they have. why not a congressional investigation into ncaa corruption?

Mountain Dawg

December 20th, 2011
6:48 am

A non-story if there ever was one.

FLA DAWG

December 20th, 2011
6:53 am

I’ve been tough on Richt as an HC but have always credited him for being a good human being.
I wish he were my boss!

65dawg

December 20th, 2011
7:03 am

This is why the NCAA can’t find evidence of wrongdoing at places like Auburn,, Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State , etc.!!! They’re too busy reviewing stuff like this to have time for serious matters.

Rob Mason

December 20th, 2011
7:04 am

I am a fan of UGA….did not go to school there. CMR is a great man, coach, loyal to the school, coaches and team. If I had kids, that’s the kind of guy, supervision and leadership I’d want them exposed too. Sometimes, it takes courage to stand up for what you believe. He has NO PROBLEM doing that.

Beast from the East Eaten by Dawg

December 20th, 2011
7:08 am

Sounds like Richt didn’t see eye to eye with Damon Evans. He needs to ensure he checks with the compliance office before making these decisions in the future. UGA is getting way too many secondary violations and they do not need the NCAA nosing around. No one does.

tdog

December 20th, 2011
7:09 am

Nothing but paper filler here.

Cmon man

December 20th, 2011
7:09 am

Say what you wany about coach richt but I have nothing but respect for this man. How many people can honestly say that their boss gave them a raise out of their personal money? Im glad our coach is a man of integrity and will do the thing no matter what. I support Coach Mark Richt 1000%.

Paddy

December 20th, 2011
7:13 am

According to the NCAA, Jesus would have been sanctioned for turning water into wine!

Cmon man

December 20th, 2011
7:16 am

want not wany (typo)

JB

December 20th, 2011
7:20 am

Nothing EVIL here.

Mitch (the one in Rome)

December 20th, 2011
7:25 am

Can’t believe that the NCAA does not allow generosity. Really? It’s a secondary violation to give people money for their work? Thats crap.

Glad CMR is willing to do what is right even if it breaks a rule.

Eaassyy

December 20th, 2011
7:25 am

He removes a guy from the coaching staff and then cuts him a check for the difference in coaching and admin pay. Wow. Over $6k nonetheless…

Auburn,southcarolina?

December 20th, 2011
7:27 am

And yet nothing happens to Auburn or South Carolina. The NCAA is a joke.

Me

December 20th, 2011
7:28 am

uh-oh — Cannot blame CMR for taking upon himself to see that his staff was properly compensated but, following this non-story, you can bet the IRS will be paying a visit…

Win. P.

December 20th, 2011
7:29 am

Amusing…What is the NCAA ruling on the passionate public kiss via Richt’s wife at a football game? Like Paul Johnson’s attitude toward NCAA regulations, even if it is expensive. Too much government (NCAA regulation) is the power to destroy. These NCAA violations could/should be considered extortion.

polyman

December 20th, 2011
7:32 am

Apparently, UGA has the kind of coach that acts on what he says he believes and doesn’t just talk a good game!!!. Alot of schools could only dream of having somebody like CMR.

Nahila

December 20th, 2011
7:34 am

Mark Richt is a credit to the human race and these secondary violations that he caused should be published everywhere so all can see his dedication to his staff, his heart warmed feelings for making things right, and his deep rooted Christian beliefs. If I was a parent of a young man deciding where to attend college and play football, I would want him to have such a coach that leads his staff and team by a great example of human kindness and squaring the things that he feels is just and fair. Go Coach Richt and the Dawgs and congratulations on a great season.

Bulldawgman49

December 20th, 2011
7:36 am

Wow LOL The NCAA needs to loosen up a little , I understand there has to be structure in football but if you can’t walk down a hall way at a school and run into a footballl player and not say hello that is crazy. But it is what it is , Maybe they can look at the rule book and do away with some just maybe .

Burdell

December 20th, 2011
7:38 am

All of these secondary violations are getting silly…how many man-hours are wasted trying to enforce and self-regulate these “rules”? Even as a Tech fan I find these recent “transgressions” in Athens VERY secondary in nature. Give me a break, NCAA.

Gotta love the face that Richt paid some of his assistants out of his own pocket when the Atthletic Association wouldn’t pony up.

GO JACKETS! Beat the Utes!

Win. P.

December 20th, 2011
7:38 am

@ Dogs Smell, there is a difference between Richt and these “other” SEC coaches. These other coaches deserve their sanctions.

legionaire

December 20th, 2011
7:39 am

What a load of manure for the NCAA to waste time and $ investigating a coach’s desire to help out his employees who need it. They should set up a fund to help lower paid staff of all the schools from the billions they rake in from TV etc.

tell me again

December 20th, 2011
7:44 am

When you look at some of these ncaa by laws the one word that comes to mind is ANAL. Tell the truth – which one of us would not want a boss that compensates us when the higher ups get cheap? If that is an ncaa violation, I can live with it.

tell me again

December 20th, 2011
7:47 am

The difference between UGA and say Auburn is that Richt compensates his coaches. At Auburn they pay the players lol

Putting up the BS flag!

December 20th, 2011
7:47 am

Let’s see CMR writes checks out of his PERSONAL account and it’s a violation? Oh brother! I suppose he cannot give anyone associated with UGA a Christmas present now! STUPID NCAA rules!

btgt69

December 20th, 2011
7:49 am

rules are rules,, no such thing as secondary violations,,, they are all wrong,,, the uga corruption history from Butts, Dooley, Harrick , Kemp continues

Once again who cares?

December 20th, 2011
7:49 am

The NCAA is a joke and everyone knows it. I bet they paid that Lawyer a ton of money to investigate these petty incidents. Probably a lot more money than Richt paid to his coaches. The NCAA is a JOKE!

John Galt

December 20th, 2011
7:51 am

These are the most admirable “violations” that I have ever heard of. I’m sure Coach Richt would prefer that this had not become public, but it shows great insight into the man.

Glad he’s ours- who would you prefer for your son to play for? No one. What an asset to UGA.

Once again Richt in Trouble..

December 20th, 2011
7:53 am

Mark Richt is once again being investigated by the NCAA because he donated $200,000 to a local church he attends. It was discovered that the Pastor’s dog had once had intercourse with Russ. This constitutes a Secondary Violation Rule. 3.1 Section 4. Thou shall not provide compensation for the pleasure of the mascot.