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Could An AAU Basketball Slush Fund Bring Down Richt?

For years, Mark Richt has been known as the “good guy” of the SEC.  He’s respected by his peers.  He’s won a whole lot more than he’s lost.  He’s represented his school well.

But now he sits on a hot seat coming off the first losing season of his tenure.  It’s a win or else type of year for the Bulldogs’ coach.  And the actions of a pair of parks and recreation officials could lead to end of the coaches’ reign.

Here’s how:


* Tony Adams and Herman Porter work for the city of Columbus, Georgia’s Parks and Recreation Department. 

* A police investigation has found that they used an unauthorized bank account to pay for Jarvis Jones — a local football star who had also played on the local Georgia Blazers AAU club — to fly to Los Angeles after he signed with Southern California’s football team in February of 2009.

* The four flights back and forth between Atlanta and Los Angeles cost $828.40.

* AAU athletes can have their room, meals, and legitimate team-oriented travel costs covered, but they aren’t allowed such things as personal airline tickets.

* Jones — who has since transferred to Georgia and is expected to land a starting outside linebacker job — must now wait to see what the NCAA says about his eligibility.

* If, like Georgia receiver AJ Green last year, Jones is forced to sit for a few games — let’s say two — he will miss two of UGA’s most important games: Boise State and South Carolina.

* If Jones misses those games, there’s no reason to believe Georgia can’t replace him.  However, given the team’s psychological funk following the Green suspension, there’s also no reason to dismiss the possibility that UGA could once again get a case of the early-season blahs.

* If the Dawgs lose one or both of those early games, many fans will be woofing for Richt’s head.  And who knows how his team would respond to such a loud distraction as that?


That’s a lot of ifs to be sure. 

But given what UGA went through last year without Green — who was admittedly a much bigger impact player than Jones — it’s not too far-fetched to say that an illegal AAU basketball slush fund back in 2009 might make Richt’s 2011 campaign just a little bit tougher.

 


3 comments
Parker
Parker

There is the potential for there to have been a personal relationship. Jones's mother worked for the P&R for ten years. If there was any type of relationship, it is considered permissible (not recommended, but not punished either).

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

iRunThisState...

That's exactly what we're asking. And as we state at the end of the piece, at the very least, a suspension for Jones would make Richt's job tougher. Whether or not the ticket purchaser has anything to do with Georgia is irrelevant. If the NCAA suspends Jones, that could impact a team that's already getting down to about 75 scholarship players on the roster.

That was the point... that a pair of AAU basketball guys breaking rules could -- if things go badly -- hurt Richt's chances of survival.

And, yes, we fully expect some misguided people to completely misread that and convince themselves that we are somehow calling for Richt's head or suggesting that the NCAA will punish him. Even though we're doing no such thing.

Thanks for reading the site,
John

iRunThisState
iRunThisState

Ok, so you're asking if someone not affiliated with the school buying a kid a plane ticket to go to USC instead of UGA is going to cost UGA's coach his job? Somehow I doubt it. There's a huge difference between losing A.J. Green to start the season and losing an incoming transfer who's never played a down in Athens. Just the tiniest bit of a stretch, there.

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