Posted on: September 8, 2010 4:49 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 5:02 pm
 

UGA's A.J. Green will receive 4 game suspension

Posted by Chip Patterson

We figured that Georgia would hear an official word from the NCAA as soon as today regarding wide receiver A.J. Green's eligibility.  They did, and unfortunately it means that the star will miss even more playing time.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday afternoon that the NCAA's ruling was for junior wide receiver A.J. Green to miss four games before being eligible to play again.

According to the facts of the case submitted by Georgia, Green sold his Independence Bowl game jersey to an individual who meets the NCAA definition of an agent.  Green has repaid the $1,000 he received for the jersey to charity.

Georgia plans to appeal in hopes of having Green’s suspension reduced. He sat out last week’s season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette and also must sit out the next three games if the NCAA ruling stands.


Head coach Mark Richt told reporters on Tuesday that he figured the ruling would come by the end of the week.  Green has been practicing regularly with the team, though his status on the depth chart was listed as "TBD."  A report earlier today included new details that Green had cooperated with investigators and the sale of a jersey was involved.  It is unknown whether Georgia was surprised at all by the ruling, the news of an appeal is not surprising and is almost routine at this point.

READ MORE: Dennis Dodd breaks down the NCAA's rules regarding the importance of monetary figures in suspensions.  A must-read for better understanding of the punishments.

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Posted on: September 8, 2010 3:26 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 3:28 pm
 

Vince Young's mom: leave Reggie Bush alone

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Dallas Morning News caught up with Vince Young's mother recently, and despite (refuted) reports that Reggie Bush is set to lose his 2005 Heisman Trophy, neither she nor her son are interested in Young receiving the award ex post facto:

"We're not interested in having no honor and no glory out of somebody else they are trying to tear down, no," Felicia Young said. "They did not give Vincent the Heisman when he was there, even though I know that my son, he was the one who should have had the Heisman, but God didn't see it that way. He gave it to Reggie Bush."

"I know that my son is not thinking about the Heisman because God blessed him with even more than just that piece of wood," Felicia Young said. "He blessed him with the National Championship."

"Leave (Reggie Bush) alone because his stats and his ability and everything that he did as a human being in playing football he did wonderful.

"I say to Reggie Bush today 'you keep your head up.' "

This is a wise stance for the Young family to take. Whether Young deserved the award or not, awarding it to Young five years after the fact on account of shady off-field business is the absolute wrong way to go about it. The ceremony happened, it's done, and reversing the decision would be just as unseemly as whatever Bush did to provide for his family.

Further, taking away Heisman Trophies is a road the Heisman Trust probably doesn't want to go down. After all, the probability that none of the previously named Heisman winners received improper gifts is, frankly, disturbingly slim. And the last thing the most hallowed trophy in collegiate athletics needs is a history littered with revocations.

Posted on: September 8, 2010 2:25 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2010 2:30 pm
 

Pryor and Harris have off-field friendship

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Saturday, Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor and Miami's Jacory Harris will be dueling on the field as opponents in what is arguably the biggest game of the weekend.  But off the field, they will likely go back to being friends.

Miami's Harris revealed to the Sun-Sentinel on Wednesday that the two have been friends ever since Hurricanes DT Marcus Fortson introduced Pryor to Harris over the phone.  Fortson and Pryor were teammates in the high school Army All-American game in 2008.  “Off the field, [Pryor] reminds me somewhat of Jacory Harris — outgoing, likes to have fun,” Forston said.

Harris told the reporter that although the two have never hung out, they "have always kept in contact" since their freshman year, talking and texting regularly.

What are the conversations about?

“Anything but football,” Harris noted. “We talked one time about this game and that was in the spring. Since then we haven’t talked about this game. We talk about regular things that friends, boys talk about.”

Of their conversation in the spring, Harris said, “We were just excited to play each other, go out there and represent for our schools and just have a good game.”


It is not surprising the two are able to find so much in common.  Both juniors stand at least 6-4 (Pryor is listed at 6-6), they both are threats to throw deep as well as burn a defense on the ground, and they both had to split time in-season before being given the keys to the offense.  Odd enough, last week both quarterbacks threw for 3 touchdowns, put up at least 200 yards, and their teams' scored 45 points.

But the friendship between the two Heisman hopefuls will have to be suspended momentarily on the field.  Because if either team expects to be in contention for the National Championship, they cannot afford an early season loss.  

“I don’t look at it as a challenge between me and him,” Harris said. “It is a game between two teams and not individuals. We just want to go out there and have a good showdown between the two teams, and then that is what we will settle from there.” (Photo credit: AP/Naples News)

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Posted on: September 8, 2010 11:43 am
Edited on: September 8, 2010 11:48 am
 

Source: UGA's Green sold game jersey

Posted by Chip Patterson

Head coach Mark Richt and the University of Georgia have stayed fairly quiet regarding the eligibility of star wide receiver A.J. Green.  He has been practicing with the team and participating in activities, but his official status on the depth chart is "TBD."  On Tuesday, Richt said he hoped to hear an official word from the NCAA by the end of the week.  

The nature of his investigation was rumored to be agent-related, but Green has repeatedly denied attending an alleged agent-sponsored party in South Florida.  A report from ESPN.com on Wednesday seems to confirm that the issue does not deal with agents, but instead with the sale of game-worn jersey.
A person familiar with the NCAA investigation told ESPN.com that Green did not sell his jersey on e-Bay and received less than $1,000 for it. The source said Green has been forthcoming and honest with NCAA investigators, but added there were "some twists and turns" involved with the case.
There is little precedent for such a case, as there were not any rules regarding the sale of memorabilia until 2003.  Interestingly enough, it was a case of Georgia football players selling 2002 SEC Championship rings which prompted the institution of such rules.  

If Green were cleared, he would be able to make an impact immediately for the Bulldogs, changing the face of the offense against division rival South Carolina on Saturday.  Reports say that Georgia could hear official word from the NCAA regarding Green's status as soon as Wednesday, but the suspension (if any) is yet to be determined.


Posted on: September 8, 2010 10:36 am
Edited on: September 8, 2010 11:10 am
 

Report: UNC assistant frequently called agent

Posted by Chip Patterson

As the NCAA continues it's investigation into the North Carolina football program, college football fans are left to stand on the outside only hearing rumors and murmurs of possible allegations and "insider" information.

That is until a local paper steps in with some good old fashioned investigative reporting.  The News & Observer released a report late Tuesday night that detailed the extensive communication between former assistant coach John Blake and sports agent Gary Whichard.  Blake's connections with Whichard have been the center of scrutiny since news broke of the NCAA's investigation of North Carolina in July.

The university announced Blake's resignation on Sunday evening.  According to the release, Blake stepped down "in the best interest" of the program.  Blake has hired legal representation, suggesting that his involvement in the investigation will not end with his resignation.   

The report details 61 calls from Blake's university-issued cell phone to Whichard in the 61 days between November 5 and January 4.  That date in January happens to be the day that six North Carolina juniors announced they would return for their senior season rather than enter the NFL draft.  Of those six players (Marvin Austin, Greg Little, Deunta Williams, Kendric Burney, Bruce Carter, and Quan Sturdivant), only Carter and Sturdivant were cleared to play in the season opener against LSU.

As for the response from the university?
Asked if it is ever acceptable to have that level of communication between a coach and an agent, UNC chancellor Holden Thorp said in an e-mail: “Whether the level of contact is acceptable or unacceptable depends on what they talked about, and I have no idea what they were discussing. Clearly, Mr. Wichard and Coach Blake have a very close relationship. All things being equal, it’s probably better not to have a close personal relationship with a sports agent if you’re an NCAA coach.”Obviously, with the nature of the investigations in Chapel Hill covering both agent-related issues as well as possible academic improprieties, it is difficult to distinguish which of the allegations are tied to which players.  But with a possible subpoena for Marvin Austin coming from the North Carolina Secretary of State's office, it is hard not to think that this could get messy.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall already announced her investigation into possible violations of the Uniform Athlete Agent Act.  North Carolina is one of 42 states that govern contact between amateurs and agents.  The laws prohibit agents from offering gifts before a contract is signed, and the punishment can be civil or criminal.     

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Posted on: September 8, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: September 8, 2010 10:04 am
 

Bryce Brown's father planning to sue UT, Dooley?

Posted by Chip Patterson

Bryce Brown was once one of the most prized recruits in the nation, a running back with explosive speed and power from an athletically impressive family.  But ever since he signed with Tennessee back in the spring of 2009, he has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

After head coach Derek Dooley denied Brown a release from his scholarship with Tennessee, his father began considering legal action.  In an interview with Arthur Brown on Knoxville radio station WNML, the running back's father is planning to hire an attorney and potentially sue Tennessee and coach Derek Dooley for keeping his son from being able to be placed on scholarship at Kansas State.

But WNML reported that Arthur Brown received a registered letter on Tuesday from UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek upholding the decision and is looking for another option to gain a release for his son, which would allow Kansas State to put Bryce Brown on scholarship right away as he sits out a mandated year for transferring.

"Bryce has done nothing wrong," Arthur Brown told the radio station. "I don’t understand."

"If he used that criteria, he should have released Bryce. I think that’s bogus. I’m disappointed in UT’s stance."

That criteria which Brown is referring to is Dooley's criteria for granting release in different transfer cases.  

“As with the other players who have asked for a release, I went through the same process with the same criteria with Bryce,” Dooley told the Knoxville News Sentinel last month. “These are the three key factors - what their personal investment into the program was, did they have their heart into it and did they give it a good, fair shot. No. 2, the harm that their departure creates for the organization. No. 3, how they handle it as a professional.

“I’ve done that with every one of these guys -- with Aaron (Douglas), with Todd Campbell, with Nick Stephens, Nick Lamaison and now Bryce. So now my decision, based on those three factors with Bryce, is not to release him.”

Of course, trouble has followed Brown since he arrived on campus in Knoxville.  First there were the questions about his eligibility before his freshman season.  Then after showing bursts of potential but little production in 2009, Brown disappeared from Tennessee in the spring semester without consulting with new head coach Derek Dooley.  His lack of effort to give the Volunteers a chance makes it no surprise that the university is not jumping at the opportunity to release him from his scholarship.


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Posted on: September 7, 2010 8:07 pm
 

"Player of the Week" award bloat runs rampant

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Generally speaking, conference awards for "player of the week" are a good thing; bringing some extra recognition to the top individual performances from each weekend is certainly in the best interest of the conference, its teams, and their players. Certainly, we can all agree on that.

And yet, the recent proliferation of these awards is a little unsettling. Sure, there's not a ton of value in a conference handing out one award each week to the quarterback who threw the most touchdowns and calling it "offensive player of the week," but the exclusivity of it--one side of the ball, one award, maybe two if both guys are deserving--at least gives the designation a little heft. That's why we were a little disappointed to see so many weekly awards handed out over the past couple days.

For example, the ACC gave the designation to eight different players this week. EIGHT! That includes--deep breath--an offensive back (UNC quarterback T.J. Yates), three co-offensive linemen (FSU's Zebrie Sanders, Georgia Tech's Sean Bedford, and Virginia's Oday Aboushi), a defensive lineman (Maryland's Joe Vellano), a defensive back (Maryland's Kenny Tate), a specialist (Clemson punter Dawson Zimmerman), and a rookie (Miami running back Lamar Miller). Now, as a line play geek, honoring offensive linemen is something near and dear to my heart, so I hesitate to call for an end to such ridiculous practices as this. But... come on. Further, shouldn't the ACC really just honor offensive lines as a whole? They function as units far more than individual blockers, after all, and each of the linemen would have been made to look a lot worse if they weren't on the same page as the linemates next to them.

The ACC's avalanche of awards makes the Big XII's decision to announce co-winners in each of the traditional three categories positively reasonable by comparison, and we barely batted an eye at "MAC West Defensive Player of the Week" when the division elected not to give the award to two other people at the same time.

Look, it's fine to bring recognition to top performers, and we won't stoop to singling out any of these players as specifically being undeserving of the awards given to them. It's just that the more of these that get given out, the closer they come to being glorified participation ribbons, and where's the glory in that?

Posted on: September 7, 2010 6:12 pm
 

Heisman Trust denies Bush story, issues statement

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the statement just released by the Heisman Trust in response to the day's earlier reports (emphasis ours):

The status of the USC / Bush matter remains unchanged. Any reports to the contrary are inaccurate. Please refer to July 2010 statement below.

The Heisman Trophy Trust, is a 501(c)(3) charitable trust, which each year contributes significant monies to the underserved of our country.

The Trust will be considering the issues raised in the USC/Reggie Bush matter, and after reaching a decision will publish it, but due to the complex issues involved and the Trust’s desire to reach an appropriate decision, no definitive timetable has been established. Until the matter has been fully considered and a decision is reached, the Trust has no further comment."

William J. Dockery
President
Heisman Trophy Trust

That, of course, stands in direct contrast to Yahoo! Sports' report that the Trust had, in fact, decided to rescind Bush's trophy. How that would work, logistically, is unclear without knowing what (if any) the contractual obligations are between a Heisman recipient and the Trust. If Bush is the rightful owner, after all, what would the Trust actually have to do to get the trophy back?

But fortunately for Bush, that question's still in the realm of the hypothetical--for now.

 
 
 
 
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