Dumb rules are no excuse for Todd Gurley

Georgia running back Todd Gurley should be considered leading Heisman candidate. (Brant Sanderlin, AJC)

Georgia running back Todd Gurley should be considered leading Heisman candidate. (Brant Sanderlin, AJC)

If Todd Gurley believed he was invincible and could get away with anything, he was wrong.  (Brant Sanderlin, AJC)

(Updated: 5:45 p.m.)

I understand this is going to be a difficult question for those who bleed red-and-black. But seriously: Did you really believe that Todd Gurley did this only once? Did you really think that one day he acted impulsively, took $400 from some memorabilia cretin named Bryan Allen to sign 80 items, and never did it again?

Logic indicated otherwise, and evidence supported logic.

Gurley is gone for four games, not the two already served. He didn’t receive $400 for signatures. He received more than $3,000. The NCAA hit him with a four-game suspension, or the equivalent of 30 percent of the season, and the truth is it could have been far more than that. According to the NCAA’s statement, Gurley received “more than $3,000 in cash from multiple individuals to sign memorabilia and other items over two years.”

Not one time. Not one day. Not one dealer. Multiple times. Multiple dealers. Over two years.

There’s your reality. If you truly believed this was some isolated impulsive action, you were being naive.

Georgia is appealing the decision. Good luck with that.

The NCAA had the option to suspend Gurley for the season. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported three weeks ago that Gurley was in danger of not playing another game this year after a source indicated the player’s involvement with memorabilia dealers was “significant.”

But the NCAA, citing Georgia’s cooperation as part of the reason — and no doubt realizing that public sentiment is running against them on this issue — limited the suspension to four games, mandated he repay a portion of the money received to a charity of his choice and also is requiring that he complete 40 hours of community service as conditions for his reinstatement. It’s believed the community service element of the disciplinary action is to compensate for the money Gurley can’t pay back.

He will miss Saturday’s game against Florida, as well as the following week’s game at Kentucky. Then he will return for the Auburn game Nov. 15 at Sanford Stadium.

Scream at the NCAA if you want. But remember who broke the rules here.

I’ve said this from Day 1: The NCAA needs to overhaul its rulebook but that doesn’t justify breaking rules. This is no different from driving through a 25 mph speed zone at 45. “But your honor, the speed limit is too slow,” is not a defense.

The NCAA is in the process of going through significant change. Student-athletes are seeking, and likely will receive, increased scholarship values. Rules prohibiting them from profiting off their name and likeness in the market place also are expected to be loosened. Current NCAA rules are antiquated, given the landscape of college athletics, and school presidents are finally, begrudgingly admitting that.

But that doesn’t excuse what Gurley did. He broke a rule. More than once.

He knew what he was doing. He understood that he could be suspended. He understood that he was jeopardizing his Heisman Trophy chances (almost certainly now dead).

Gurley should have known that he was jeopardizing his team’s season and betraying everybody he played for and with. He committed a series of foolish decisions at the ages of 19 and 20. Granted, that doesn’t put him in exclusive company. But student athletes are told multiple times a year about NCAA rules and are warned about the potential repercussions if they break them.

He probably thought he was invincible. He certainly believed he deserved to profit off his name, and you’ll get no argument here. But he’ll be a multimillionaire when he enters the NFL draft in the spring. He couldn’t have waited a little longer?

The NCAA said in its statement that it considered suspending Gurley for more than four games “because the violations occurred over multiple years with multiple individuals and the student received extensive rules education about the prohibition of receiving payment for autographs. However, the university’s due diligence in its investigation and the student’s full disclosure of his involvement in the violations were factors in not imposing a more severe withholding condition.”

This is not on the NCAA. This is on Gurley.

Dumb and hypocritical rules are still rules, at least until they’re changed. Gurley will have to live with this. He almost certainly will need to apologize to his teammates and coaches for the position he has put them in.

Georgia has won two games without him. There’s no reason to think the Bulldogs can’t beat Florida and Kentucky. But Gurley has caused damage to himself, the team, the football program, the university and its large and passionate fan base.

He should have thought about that before taking the money.

Digital Jukebox
— MyAJC: Mark Richt deserves credit for holding Georgia together
— AJC: NCAA mum but Muschamp expects Gurley to play vs. Florida
— AJC: Will Arthur Blank make move with Mike Smith (and reader poll)?
— MyAJC: Georgia Tech takes advantage of Pitt’s fumble-fest
— AJC: Short takes: Georgia Tech 56 (points), Pittsburgh 6 (lost fumbles)
— AJC: LIVE: Tech’s defense must improve vs. Pitt
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons lose, Jackets pull upset, Dogs in prayer circle
— AJC: Will a fresh perspective elude Braves?
— MyAJC: Todd Gurley’s return would raise Georgia’s ceiling again
— AJC: Why did NCAA say yes to Mo’ne Davis but no to Todd Gurley?
— MyAJC: Why playoff picture looks good for SEC (and Georgia)
— MyAJC: Here’s good news: Falcons are leaving country
— MyAJC: Georgia Tech continues to stomp on hope
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Dogs win, Falcons lose, Jameis enabled
— AJC: Georgia dealing with reality, FSU avoiding it
— MyAJC: Does NCAA care that public sentiment favors Gurley, athletes?
— MyAJC: Georgia’s response heard loud and clear
— MyAJC: NCAA needs to realize amateurism is dead
— AJC: Minus Gurley, Dogs must overcome flaws
— AJC: With Gurley suspended, is Georgia done?
— MyAJC: If Gurley broke rules, that’s on him
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: No Gurley, no Dogs, no kidding
— AJC: Blank stands by Smith, Dimitroff. What say you?
— MyAJC: Arthur Blank won’t give Falcons’ mandates, speculate on future
— AJC: Falcons have turned this week into a must-win game
— MyAJC: Georgia Tech’s season may be turning into something special
— AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s win over Miami, starting with … defense?
— AJC: Tech has a chance to take charge in ACC Coastal
— AJC: Braves should have left Gonzalez decision to new GM

Reader Comments 0

806 comments
SomewhereinGA
SomewhereinGA

A-Damn-men...been preaching this to anyone who would listen....unfortunately not many will.

Whiznot
Whiznot

The rule sucks. Selective enforcement sucks. The NCAA sucks. Gurley doesn't suck.

reckingball
reckingball

"he'll be a multimillionare when he enters the NFL draft this spring",..........and that is supposed to be a 100% certified certainty?

What if he is injured and never plays again, may God forbid. And what does he do for just ordinary day to day living money until then? Can he get a job working anywhere, without the NCAA saying that he got the job because he is Todd Gurley, who is a football player for UGA?

Is he being penalized for being an athlete under the rule of the NCAA?

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

@reckingball I know what you mean.  I remember there used to be a house in Athens where college girls could earn a living laying on their backs ... so they could afford to pay their tuition.  Then they went and closed the house down, just as if the NCAA came in with rules and stuff.  It was all just to show how important they were, with no reason to stop prostitution that had gone on at UGA since before the Civil War!  Shame on them.  Boy and girl "athletes" need the right to earn a comfortable living illegally, unlike all the other students that have to slave at Chili's or the Varsity, actually study for exams AND pay off their tuition.  The world just aint right!

OH-IO
OH-IO

jarvis 1975,


I see you have reached your intellectual limitation. 

ljax
ljax

Gurley got off easy. He should be suspended for the rest of the season because he has been selling his autograph for over 2 years.  He broke the rules and he knew what the rules were and he ignored them.  The NCAA should have suspended Manzel for a lot more than a half of football.  He got off easy also.  

BooBooBear
BooBooBear

 The NCAA gave George W. Bush University (aka SMU) the death penalty for getting ringers to compete in college sports.  If there ever was an excuse for the NCAA to be a real overseer of corruption, it would be now.  Girley is just the tip of the Div. 1 iceberg.  All Div. 1 universities should be given the death penalty, until the NFL has established a pay-for-play "minor league" that poor examples of scholastic humanity (like all who get into beds with boosters and alumni associations) can find a job with, to support momma and poppa and all their illegitimate babies.  Then, if the riff-raff tries to go down into lesser levels of NCAA sports divisions, kill them too.  I mean 10-20 year sentences.

SkokieDog
SkokieDog

Jeff, one point that you overlooked in this summary is that the signed memorabilia only has value because someone buys it. If fans are so truly upset by how student-athletes are exploited, they are able to help the youngsters avoid breaking the rules by the simple act of keeping their wallets shut when the merchandise is advertised for sale. That simple act would also make it much more difficult for the slimeballs who hock this stuff make any profits by encouraging student-athletes to break such rules, no matter how stupid the rules may appear to be. And thanks for pointing out that the NCAA, stupid as it appears to be, could easily have suspended Mr. Gurley for more than four games.

TaxedEnoughAlready
TaxedEnoughAlready

Gurley won't suffer just like AJ Green didn't suffer.  RICHT needs to be held accountable.  


Seriously - He can't communicate with his #1 player to prevent him from making exactly the same mistake his last #1 player made?  Hasn't won the SEC in 10 years, holds record for leaving timeouts on the clock before halftime.  Time for a change.



DublDawg
DublDawg

If Gurley only scored $3,000, he underachieved.  If all the facts were out there, they would probably show that he received even more money.

Since the article presents rhetorical questions, I'll provide one of my own.

Does anyone believe that the poor athletes did for free what Gurley was getting paid to do?

Do you believe that broke, streetwise hustlers from the hood will pass up the money when the other guy is getting paid?

 

There is a number of programs with AUTHENTICATED, non-personalized, autographed doodads sitting for sale right beside the authenticated stuff that Gurley was paid to sign.  The established fact that Gurley was paid and the surrounding facts create a strong inference of systematic payment that is enough for a reasonable person to commence an investigation of all the others.  The NCAA should investigate, if for no other reason to deter such conduct in the future.


One pivotal factor in the Gurley matter vis a vis the other athletes is that Gurley was the first to have a talker.  He talked to the compliance office, then others did, before the firestorm and public backlash commenced.  Those guys will wish for years that they did not say anything or cooperate.  The publicity of the backlash will cause others to study before they speak, and they are far less likely to talk about payment arrangements with the other athletes with authenticated doodads sitting for sale right beside the Gurley stuff.  In addition, it has now become more commonly known that third parties can be sued by universities for inducing athletes to break  rules and injure the program.  That is an additional deterrence against anyone else becoming the next Bryan Allen or Shane Smith. 


The other programs are not going to sit their athletes down and demand the truth.  Rather, they are going to proceed in a passive posture towards the athletes and a defensive posture against the NCAA and the public at large.  They are going to effectively say, "The burden is on you.  Prove it or it did not happen."  Therefore, it will be hard for the NCAA to accrete evidence of rule violations that will actually result in penalties.



JackHaynie
JackHaynie

Truer words were never written Jeff. It's all on Gurley.  Of course the lesson learned by the rest of college football will not be "don't break the rules".  It will be as long as you deny knowledge or involvement you can pretty much do what you want. 

hank89
hank89

Cam Newton lied no punishment, Johnny Football lied no punishment, Jameis Winston lied, raped, stole, missed one game for cursing.


Gurley told the truth and got 4 games.  Lesson of the day, lie.

POAD2014
POAD2014

@hank89 If you think Lying is the answer then please take the Airborne and CIB emblems down as your avatar. I would hope you have more HONOR than to suggest Gurley should be dishonest.  

keendaddy
keendaddy

Johnny,

even Stevie Wonder could see he's being facetious. Sooooo, you're okay with the other's getting away scot free, as long as the dirty dogs suffer? Get real already....

Dave79
Dave79

Golden_White another Techie loser....omg....worry about the wreck at Tech.....sorry for the previous comment typo...should be athlete not athele

Dave79
Dave79

Yes Gurley broke the rules and he pays, but you'd think somebody would look at Emmert's record from UConn forward and while they are at it, check out all the other Presidents on the Executive Committee....NCAA Executive  Committee has only administrators not a single athele, AD or coach.....now you know why the NCAA wants to rule everything.....the NCAA Administrators don't want to give up the money or the power that goes with it.  It's time Gurley or someone else sues the NCAA for stopping their ability to earn a living like any other student can

Golden_White
Golden_White

If I am CMR, and I am as ethical as he is supposed to be, then here is what I would do.

Kick Todd Gurley off of the team. Take his scholarship from him. He can go home or finish the semester.

It makes no matter. He is finished at Georgia. He broke the rules. He knew the rules. The rules were

explained to him many times over. Todd Gurley found the M and the E in TEAM and placed himself

above the team. Yes Todd Gurley is that selfish.


1st, Todd Gurley will be a millionaire soon enough.  2nd, Nick Chubb is as good as Gurley right now,

and will be better by the time he is through at  Georgia. So the Bulldogs really won't miss him. 3rd and 

most importantly, every young man wearing the Bulldog uniform will see that they will not be allowed to 

get away with breaking the rules. The simple act of dismissing Todd Gurley from the team will wake everyone else up. 


I can not believe Georgia is petitioning to get Gurley reinstated earlier. This is forgive and forget. And

while that is what all of us should do, a transgressor has to suffer the consequences . A four game suspension and a partial reimbursement of money to a charity of his choosing, plus 40 hour of

community service is a slap on the wrist. So. While I forgive Todd his multiple transgressions, he still

has to go. I would watch from afar and hope and pray that he does well at the next level and yes, I

would still love him.



Savdon
Savdon

@Golden_White  Ah, we knew this was coming.  Those GSU boys from Bodunk,GA think they're kings now.  Reality returns next year when they make the trip to Athens.  It ain't NC State or North Avenue you're dealing with.

Dawgproud
Dawgproud

@Golden_White  Wow such hate from non Dawg fans. So if my daughter got proving guilty of chewng gum in class or selling her paintings on ebay, while on a Band scholarship, she should be kicked out of schoo[? Being stupid on a blog seems quite common with some of you. Here Is a bulletin for you. Some rules do not require the death penalty! Gurley gained no competitive advantage from his mistake.

Oh and Princess, we love the preacher man.

Princess_Leia
Princess_Leia

If the Preacher Man had one ounce of integrity, he would dump this bozo and send him home on the next bus.


Girly should be dismissed immediately.

OH-IO
OH-IO

NEWSFLASH:


Gurley is STILL suspended

CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith
CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith

Dumb rules?  WTF!  Rules are rules.

You know who's really 'dumb'?  Gurley.  He knew the rules and broke them.  Then he committed a worse crime in today's Amerika  - he was dumb enough to get caught.

Next year he can sell himself to the NFL.

GetontheGusBus
GetontheGusBus

Yep, that will bring a winner just pay the star athletes. See how that O line will block for that star player receiving money. Its an amateur sport. These guys get the best of everything on campus. All meals 24/7 now. If you haven't notice all the players wear is warm ups   providing by the school. That scholarship they get last a lifetime. Too bad they don't use it!!!!!!!! I wonder if Gurley is the UGA player with a combine SAT score of 570!!!!

loel
loel

I went to UGA many years ago, had to get a job to exist while a student. My dad had been killed in an accident, no money or source.   My human needs were immediate and could not wait until after college and then exist on a paycheck.  You people need to get it through you heads that the Idea that he will make millions later does not deal with the here and now.  You all sit there with full stomach, clothes and comfort and do not realize the immediate needs. That commodity know as "money" solves a lot of problems.  Its happening perhaps hundreds of times around the country as we speak.  IT IS A STUPID RULE AND THE RULE IS NOT A LAW.  IT MUST BE CHANGED, PERIOD.  Now get off Gurley's case.  

OH-IO
OH-IO

@loel


He cheated. He knew it, now we all know it.

joseph106
joseph106

I AGREE TG BROKE THE RULES.  BUT IF THE PLAYERS CAN'T MAKE MONEY OFF THERE NAME, THEY NEED TO MAKE A NEW RULE THAT COACHES, ADs. AND PRES OF THE SCHOOL CANNOT MAKE MONEY OFF THERE NAME, AS LONG AS THEY HAVE ANYONE IN SCHOOL PLAYING SPORTS.

CT_Jacket
CT_Jacket

I understand a lot of these kids need money beyond room and board. But allowing individuals to profit when their teammates go without isn't right either. It can also lead to unfair recruiting advantages over smaller market teams. I bet a UGA signed jersey brings more money than any northeast school signed jersey. I'd like to see something akin to the NFLPA so that all athletes get paid.

You can't do it just for football and basketball players either or else you'll have big Title IX problems.

RuePaulJohnson
RuePaulJohnson

@CT_Jacket

Why is it that no one ever asks the Title IX Athletes to sell their own tickets and get their own TV deals and generate their OWN MONEY, or at least a percentage of their own revenues?

KatieR620
KatieR620

So female gymnasts and swimmers can't get paid? This is America, this nonsense needs to stop. Your name and likeness is your own. Recruiting will never be fair. Life is not fair.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@KatieR620 

Female gymnasts do get paid - big money in fact. Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and others from the 2012 Olympic team have made millions from endorsements.  Of course, to do this they had to give up their "amateur status" as far as the NCAA is concerned.

RuePaulJohnson
RuePaulJohnson

@PaulinNH @KatieR620

Weak reply Paul, those Olympic caliber gymnasts never compete on the college level and usually go to college AFTER their International/Olympic careers are over.

Those chubby, pizza and beer guzzlin' College Gymnasts don't hold a candle to Olympic caliber gymnasts.


CT_Jacket
CT_Jacket

@RuePaulJohnson @CT_Jacket No group of male student athletes are required to sell their own tickets, get their own TV deals and generate their own money.  Yet, you expect women to do it.  That's the job of the athletic department.  The football and basketball players get their fame, and potential fortune, through their affiliation with institutions supported by tax dollars.  One class of individuals cannot be treated differently by the institution.

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

Yes it is ALL on Gurley.. the guy could have made Millions with the Heisman, BUT chose pennies !

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@Jazzpman Gurley will make millions...as long as he doesn't get hurt if he comes back this year...go dogs

Princess_Leia
Princess_Leia

Girly is just the latest in a long list of running backs recruited by Richt with a me-first attitude. These punks are just lowlifes who have no business representing the state's flagship university.


If Richt had one ounce of integrity, he would put Girly on the next bus home.

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@Princess_Leia I believe Todd Gurley was offered by every school in the country...you have no cred here...go dogs

Savdon
Savdon

@Princess_Leia Edited.  I shouldn't have said that.

CHDawg
CHDawg

Good points, Jeff.  However, Gurley admitted his mistakes and came clean. The NCAA threw the book at him.  Alabama fans pitched in and just gave Saban millions by paying down his mortgage. Perfectly legal. Gurley sells his own autograph to predators hawking athlete memorabilia for a few thousand, and he gets all of the blame and is gone for four games!  This reminds me of the slave who was beaten for looking at his master. The slave did break the master's rules. The problem is that the rules the master makes aren't fair.  These guys can't turn pro and they can't get paid. That would be fine, except that CFB brings in *billions* of dollars. It isn't about the money because the master makes all of the rules and he says it isn't about the money.  He gets all of the money. If we want to make college football an amateur sport again, why don't we slash the ticket prices and donate the TV money to charity. Coaches can work for teacher's pay. Ha Ha.  Gurley definitely should have known better, but I predict this is one more brick in the foundation of a future player's union. 

LuxLucisofVerum
LuxLucisofVerum

A four game suspension from the people who brought you the targeting rule: "Upon review, the ruling on the field is overturned - there was no targeting foul: No foul - just a 15 yard penalty and an automatic first down for the infraction that never happened" Play ball!