Despite latest arrest, Georgia insists it doesn’t have discipline problem

Note: There will be a “Ten at 10″ this week but it has been moved to Wednesday . . .

ATHENS — After having one of their better years in a while in regard to off-field problems for players, trouble is starting to stack up a little for Georgia.

Branden Smith’s arrest for marijuana possession in South Alabama Sunday night represented the second arrest of UGA football player this year — cornerback Sanders Commings was arrested for a domestic violence incident in January — and third if one counts tight end Orson Charles’ arrest for DUI last week (Charles declared for the NFL draft and not an official member of the team).

And that’s just players who have run into trouble from the law. Head coach Mark Richt dismissed three players from the team in January for stealing from a teammate.

But Richt doesn’t believe there is a lack of discipline in the program and contends that the Bulldogs are stricter than most programs when it comes to keeping players in line.

“When guys do make mistakes, two things are very important: How we handle it and how he handles it,” Richt said. “Are we going to discipline our players the way they ought to be disciplined according to what they’ve done? I think we do that. I think we do that more strictly than most people do. If you look at other people’s policies, ours is much tougher than just about anybody other’s pocliy I’ve seen. So because some of our guys end up with a game suspension or whatever it may be, a kid at another school may do the very same thing and their policy doesn’t say that it has to be that way. I mean, I don’t care what they do. All I’m saying is I think it’s important how you handle it.”

Unlike many programs, UGA’s punishments are written down in black and white in the Student-Athlete Handbook. For instance, in the case of Smith’s arrest for marijuana possession, that falls under UGA’s codes for “alcohol and drug-related misconduct.” That means an automatic suspension from 10 percent of competition dates (in this case one game), future drug-testing, education and counseling and additional discipline as determined by what’s called the “Comprehensive Action Plan Committee.”

Said Richt: “Our goal when our guys make mistakes is to find out the truth about it and then discipline it properly. The second thing that is important is how they respond to it. If they learn from their mistakes and become better people because of it, then that’s a positive thing in that guy’s life. If he’s not truthful about it and acts like he didn’t do anything wrong and his behavior isn’t going to change in any way shape or form, then he’s probably not going to be at Georgia very long. That’s just kind of the way things go. To think every single guy is not ever going to make a mistake and be perfect, I don’t think is realistic. It’s certainly what we search for. Is it frustrating? Yes, it is.”

Adding to Richt’s frustration was the timing of the Smith’s incident. Just last week, Athletic Director Greg McGarity assembled every UGA student-athlete at the Georgia Center for Continuing Educaton to talk about the importance of good behavior during the upcoming spring break (which began this week). The football team followed that up with a separate meeting of their own. So it’s not like the issue wasn’t addressed.

“Oh yeah, we always do,” Richt said. “We ought to video those [meetings] just to make sure everybody knows we do that.”

Ultimately, it comes down to the character of the players the coaches recruit to campus. I asked McGarity how much he held coaches responsible for their players’ behavior.

“Accountability is a foregone conclusion,” McGarity said. “You hold coaches accountable in every sport for their entire program. That’s just part of the deal, just like I’m accountable for every employee. I’m accountable for 250 full-time staff members. So we’re all accountable to someone and that language is currently in [Richt's] contract right now.”

– Chip Towers, The UGA Blog

262 comments Add your comment

The Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it

March 13th, 2012
10:05 am

Thank you Dawgs, for extending Richt’s contract. Bama, Aub, UT, SC, and all the other schools who cherry pick your talent rich state while Richt is fishing love you for doing this.

And a big thank for extending Grantham. You’ve actually recruited well in defense the last couple of years, but having a coordinator who averages 39 pts to ranked teams will help the rest of us as well.

Bryan G.

March 13th, 2012
10:08 am

It’s disappointing to see the lack of judgment from a guy who knows that he plays the most important position for UGA – a position where we simply COULD NOT afford any more attrition.

Is it that UGA is recruiting the wrong types of players or is it that we are not scaring them straight?

BigTimeTechFan

March 13th, 2012
10:12 am

How loud was the laughter in the press room when he made that statement.

RedandBlackDAWG

March 13th, 2012
10:12 am

Another topic, made to increase readership, as all of the negative commentators on this blog can have a field day with this one Chip. With so much other news that could have an article written up on UGA, for instance recruiting news and the such, you chose to write articles, you know will lead to a lot of web hits, most of which will be from negative people.

flo-ri-duh

March 13th, 2012
10:13 am

Dope smoking DBs have a serious problem covering receivers and maybe that’s why Smith has trouble in coverage. Evidently there is a discipline problem when you get 5 players either kicked off the team or suspended in a period of 2 months. The players should be drug tested EVERY week until the season starts if that is what it takes to get this under control. They also had a problem with Crowell last year. Hopefully, the new recruits are dope free. This is a mess and Richt needs to get it under control.

georgedawg

March 13th, 2012
10:18 am

Tide Roll You’re hard to believe. Thanks for caring about Georgia football so much. You are obviously a very intelligent person so your insights are very valuable to us.

Just Sayin'

March 13th, 2012
10:22 am

Under Coach Saban’s tenure at Alabama 6 players have been arrested from the football team. During the same time frame, 35 football players, and one AD, have been arrested from UGA.

Yet they continually complain about oversigning when half a football team has been dismissed from UGA since 2008.

I will take the ove-rsigning nonsensical charge any day over a crime ridden program.

Judge Dawg

March 13th, 2012
10:22 am

What about the disciplline problem on the Tech basketball team? How about writing how bad it is that Tech’s sanctions were affirmed by the NCAA?

Big Earl

March 13th, 2012
10:25 am

Did he say ONE game suspension? I thought it would be 2.

Are any of you getting a stupid State Farm add on toolbar at the bottom of AJC? Can’t disable it either. Stinks!!!!

The Tide is rolling and nothing can stop it

March 13th, 2012
10:29 am

Seriously, as much as I like to poke at Dawgs concerning their football program vs. their expectations, this is not a football problem. You’ve got AD’s getting DUIs, doctors giving out illegal prescriptions, entire school systems caught cheating… Everyday on the news is something new about a city/government official acqused of wrong doing. The football program is just the tip of a criminal state iceberg.

Big Crimson 75

March 13th, 2012
10:30 am

What do you expect?
When you had an AD that had a chance to make History in the SEC – instead He chose a different “path” entirely.
These off field problems @ UGA are as much Evan’s fault as Richt’s.
Players looked up to the guy & the next thing you know — BOOM — red panties &
blow!

Branden Smith

March 13th, 2012
10:31 am

Hey Judge Dawg, can you get me and Crowell off the hook? We’re too stoned to go to court. With someone to take our drug tests for us how are we getting caught? Contact buzz for our designated cup pee-ers?

Football Guy

March 13th, 2012
10:35 am

Enter your comments here

Trey Mehrebutts, UGA Alumnite

March 13th, 2012
10:36 am

They don’t have a disciplein problem and they don’t have a problem beating good teams. That’s the story and Richt’s sticking to it. Keeping Grantham around also speaks volumes about the type program and image projected. Some say he’s tough. Others might say he is undisciplined like his players. Richt dresses up and talks pretty but he’s an empty suit.

evil empire

March 13th, 2012
10:38 am

the running joke that is uga athletics continues….every time i see a fat redneck climb out of his raggedy chevy lumina adorned with “G” stickers…well, i just have to smile…the species is alive and well…IDIOTS…

Moobs Johnson

March 13th, 2012
10:39 am

For Richt it wasn’t a problem at FSU either. Amazing how a man of his character allows undisciplined behavior on and off the field.

CharlestonDAWG

March 13th, 2012
10:41 am

Saban had 10 football players get arrested during his first 18 months as the head coach at Bammer

Trey Mehrebutts, UGA Alumnite

March 13th, 2012
10:41 am

I am proud to be an alumnite of Georgia and we get some of the best education there is and still have a SEC football. But I don’t like the players being arrested every weeks and lsitening to Coach Richt put a spin on it to make it sound like boys will be boys and we love them and have a little talk with them and put them back in the game. Felons will be felons is more like it and if they can tote the ball they will be between the hedges on game day. Richt is a hippocrite.

ugab

March 13th, 2012
10:44 am

Oh well.Uga’s policy is tougher than other schools… Why??? MR is on vacation..MR does not care about the players.. He is enjoying that new contract… 4 bad years, not fired!!! One good season with an easy schedule=Contract… Oh Well.

ugab

March 13th, 2012
10:44 am

Oh well.Uga’s policy is tougher than other schools… Why??? MR is on vacation..MR does not care about the players.. He is enjoying that new contract… 4 bad years, not fired!!! One good season with an easy schedule=Contract… Oh Well.

Colonial Dawg

March 13th, 2012
10:44 am

Big Earl, over to the right there is a “hide” button so that you can at least hide the State Farm ad.

GTBob

March 13th, 2012
10:46 am

I seriously wonder what would have to happen to make him think it is a problem. How many incidents by different players need to happen before you realize that something isn’t right?

beanster

March 13th, 2012
10:46 am

18 comments so far and two of them are actually Dawg fans. Obsessed much rival fans? Don’t your teams have blogs? (Bama fans needn’t respond…we know the internet has yet to make it there)

Fill Fulmer

March 13th, 2012
10:46 am

Can we please change the name to the Richt Cup now. Richt, doing less with more for over a decade,

jerry

March 13th, 2012
10:48 am

Yeah, that ad bar sucks.

Trey Mehrebutts, UGA Alumnite

March 13th, 2012
10:49 am

A lot of the coeds when I was at UGA were farm girls out on their own for the first time and they would come to the games and eat jerky and drink beer and sometimes get sick and throw up and we had the best time watching them and rooting for the Dawgs. We’d bark and crawl around in the stands and that was when the players weren’t probates and hardly any of them had convictions. Now, you go to a game and the girls are drunk by the 2nd quarter and you never know if there’s going to be a running back eligible to play and now it looks that way with the DBs to. I am proud to be a UGA alumnite just the same.

George Stein

March 13th, 2012
10:50 am

Young guys are getting in trouble? Who could have imagined! The only crime here that should be concerning is the DUI, because you put other people at risk. But seriously, who cares if a 20 year old is smoking weed on spring break.

Typical Bama Fan

March 13th, 2012
10:52 am

Georgia is a joke. Their football program is a joke. The entire state is a joke full of redneck morons. ADs getting DUIs, illegal drugs handed out like candy, entire schools systems cheating. etc….

Oh, where do I live? In rural Georgia.

RxDawg

March 13th, 2012
10:54 am

I don’t see a problem either. Except that any minor mishaps are on the world wide news. A college kid got caught with a bag of weed. Dish out his 1 or 2 game suspension, give a stern talking to (mostly about how he’s letting down his fellow teamates) and move on. When we have football players beating up people downtown, or breaking and entering with armed robery then I’ll start saying we have a discipline problem. Now all we have is a party problem. Eh, don’t sweat the small stuff.

“our starting 2 corners just got suspended, what did you expect richt to do? Guys this wasn’t just the right move, this was the only move.”

As for Mitchell moving to DB? That statement on another blog pretty much sums it up.

Trey Mehrebutts, UGA Alumnite

March 13th, 2012
10:57 am

They named me Trey because I was the third Mehrebutts to go to Georgia and I did it without a scholarship because daddy used to give a lot of money and get some of the best seats in the stadium and it also got me into school but I had to study agricultore because that’s where the opening was when I was a freshman. I will always remember going to the games on Saturdays and leaving afterwards and all the trash on campus to where you couldn’t recognize where you were until the tractors come through and push it all into a pile and pickit up later. That’s why I am glad to see Coach Richt is accountable now for actions surrounding his football program and I think we are in for better days ahead. Plus, Coach grantham is back and that means we will be mean and respected for our defensive and our choking signs to the players on the other side.

Trey Mehrebutts, UGA Alumnite

March 13th, 2012
11:01 am

Mehrebutts is an old UGA family name and we had pictures made of all the Mehrebutts under the UGA arch. That arch has a pole in the middle of it which makes it a unusual arch but we would always just stand in front of that pole for the pictures. Sometimes it would look like we had a pole growing out of the top of our head. That’s why we started wearing game caps. Go Dawgs!

RedandBlackDAWG

March 13th, 2012
11:02 am

Go to MSNBC.com and read the days without an arrest in college football, and you will see that it is 25 pages long or more, and very few entries about UGA. As I predicted, this column would turn into a bunch of negative bloggers bad mouthing UGA, as do most of the articles written for web site publication by the AJC. So much immaturity by supposedly so many mature individuals. It is a shame.

elistoned

March 13th, 2012
11:03 am

Evidence suggest that “The Dawgs” have a drug problem.How can you explain so many going to the NFL ?

George Stein

March 13th, 2012
11:05 am

It’s a non-issue, RedandBlack. Young guys get in trouble and the sun rises in the east. Even this Tech fan sees that.

GTBob

March 13th, 2012
11:06 am

I don’t see a problem either. Except that any minor mishaps are on the world wide news.

So it’s not a problem that two players are off the team, another is suspended for the first two games and another will be suspended for at least one game? It’s not even spring practice yet and 4 players are already out. Combine that with the past few years of similar numbers and most would conclude that is a problem.

LA Dawg

March 13th, 2012
11:06 am

Dear Tide is rolling,
nice grammar and spelling. Your third grade reading level provided by your Mobile County high school education comes shining through. What a typical Bama block head. Thanks for the laughs.

Big Crimson 75

March 13th, 2012
11:07 am

According to Gary Patterson — TCU head Coach — the South has an advantage over the rest of the Country, including Texas, b/c of the “gene” pool down here!!
I’m only the messenger!!! — cbssports.com
Way to go Jimmy “the Greek”, Coach Patterson.

beanster

March 13th, 2012
11:07 am

@ elistoned — Because half of the NFL smokes pot on a regular basis.

LA Dawg

March 13th, 2012
11:10 am

Tide is rolling,
the word accused is not spelled “acqused” although you obviously think it is. You are a barrel of laughs.

greg

March 13th, 2012
11:15 am

I think they should drug test every player in the SEC!! Chances are 50% would pass!!!

beanster

March 13th, 2012
11:15 am

BC — if that’s true, why does Bama have to recruit more than half its roster from the state of Georgia? Nevermind, I know. There’s a gene pool in Georgia. Florida, and Texas — in Mississippi and Alabama, it’s more of a puddle.

DYNAMICBIGBOY

March 13th, 2012
11:17 am

In case you didn’t know Orson Charles has left the program. Secondly Sanders Commings has not been convicted of anything. The people there the night of the incident have a totally different recollection of what happenned. UGA is much stricter than most SEC schools. It this had happenned at UF we would not have been talking about it because it most likely would be covered up. Hey Trey, I am sure you never drank or smoked while you were in collecge, oh sorry, you weren’t smart enough to get in, we understand.

Big Crimson 75

March 13th, 2012
11:18 am

beanster — half it’s roster???

HALF OF IT’S ROSTER?????

9% of Alabama’s Players from 2011 were from GA. 9.2% to be exact.

Hope you got that LA DAWG — there’s your GA public system working in conjunction with the Alabama’s.

Dick Gizinia

March 13th, 2012
11:18 am

Charleston
Saban had 10 football players get arrested during his first 18 months as the head coach at Bammer

Most of them weren’t his players, he’s recruited much better student atheletes since then

Big Crimson 75

March 13th, 2012
11:19 am

9.2% = half the roster!

PRICELESS!!

Now that is a barrel of laughs.

beanster

March 13th, 2012
11:20 am

HALF OF IT IS ROSTER?

Whose public education system are you ripping?

LA Dawg

March 13th, 2012
11:23 am

Calm down, Big Crimson. Momma’s almost got your biscuits on the table. Clean those nails good and dig in. And keep your mitts of little sister’s pretty knee. You and the Tide nation are pure comedy.

1eyedJack

March 13th, 2012
11:25 am

Trey butts, I’m sure it will be a proud day when you graduate from the special needs class and get off that little yellow bus for the last time before you start your new job bagging groceries.

DYNAMICBIGBOY

March 13th, 2012
11:25 am

How come UGA players ALWAYS make the front page of sports for any infraction but TECH players are shooting gunss out of the car and it’s burired in the sports section?

Delbert D.

March 13th, 2012
11:29 am

Bad news is news. That’s why the AJC writes articles about it.