By TIM TUCKER and CHIP TOWERS
ATHENS –Georgia will bench offensive coordinator Mike Bobo from off-campus recruiting for a month as a result of a secondary NCAA violation.
The violation: escorting a recruit and his mother into the NCAA Tennis Championships on the UGA campus last spring without having them pay the $8 admission fee.
UGA athletic director Greg McGarity self-reported the incident to SEC commissioner Mike Slive in a letter last week.
According to the letter, the violation occurred when an assistant coach –- not named in the letter but identified by UGA as Bobo – and a recruiting intern were touring campus with an unnamed prospect who was in town on an unoffiicial visit.
“A member of the ticket office staff reported this incident to the compliance office,” McGarity wrote. “… The family has been notified and subsequently submitted restitution in the amount of $20.”
In addition, according to the letter, Georgia will prohibit the coach – Bobo — from recruiting off campus for 30 days and will prohibit any on- or off-campus contact with the prospect for 30 days. The dates of those self-imposed penalties were not specified.
“To prevent similar violations of this nature in the future,” McGarity wrote, “the compliance staff met with the coaching staff as well as the ticket office and event management staff regarding the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124 and reiterated that prospective student-athletes may not receive complimentary admission to NCAA Championships or other postseason contests.”
If the NCAA agrees that the incident constitutes a Level II violation – the lowest level — no further action is expected.
Cornerback/wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell’s transition back to a significant offensive role continues.
“I would say his reps on offense will increase and his reps on defense will probably decrease,” coach Mark Richt said.
Mitchell performed well at receiver in practice Tuesday but was “obviously a little rusty,” Bobo said. “He hadn’t worked at receiver hardly any — maybe 15 minutes — since we opened camp. But he’s a talented kid, and we’re going to give his ability a chance to make some plays in the game.”
Dogs in the NFL
Richt began his weekly news conference by citing the recent successes of some former UGA players in the NFL. He noted that former Bulldogs accounted for 10.5 sacks this past week (“I thought that was pretty cool”), that the Bears’ Tim Jennings leads the NFL in interceptions and that the Bengals’ A.J. Green is second in the league in receiving yards.
Richt also raved about Blair Walsh, who struggled through a shaky senior season at Georgia but is 7-for-7 on field goals for the Vikings and the first rookie in NFL history to kick a 50-yarder in each of his first three games.
“So they got him straightened out,” Richt said with a smile.
Welch before LeMay
It was something of a surprise in last week’s rout of Vanderbilt that walk-on Parker Welch was the second quarterback into the game for Georgia, ahead of scholarship player Christian LeMay.
“Coach Bobo is basically allowing [them] to compete on a weekly basis to see who earns the right to get in the game first if we get into that type of situation,” Richt said. “Parker has been doing well. Parker has been in the system a little longer, and he’s very diligent in the way he prepares as well. Coach Bobo felt like he earned the right to go in first.”
Georgia won’t use Hutson Mason in a mop-up role because the plan is to redshirt him, barring a significant injury to Aaron Murray.
Defensive end Abry Jones missed a second consecutive practice with the sprained left ankle suffered against Vanderbilt. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham indicated that Jones is expected to play Saturday against Tennessee, saying he’ll “be fine” and “knows the game plan of what we’re going to do.”