Gurley to sit next two games after recent findings

Photo by Rob Saye

The NCAA announced Wednesday that Georgia running back Todd Gurley would be suspended two more games. Gurley has already missed a pair of games due to suspension and his return to eligibility is now set for the No. 11 Bulldogs’ Nov. 15 home game against No. 3 Auburn.

The University of Georgia first sidelined Gurley on Oct. 9 after a “memorabilia-related” NCAA violation was brought to the attention of the school. UGA suspended Gurley indefinitely just days before their trip to Missouri to take on the Tigers and self-reported to the NCAA to begin the comprehensive process of getting the star running back reinstated. Bryan Allen, a memorabilia dealer from Rome, was the man that confirmed with Georgia’s compliance office earlier that week that he paid Gurley $400 to sign 80 items on campus in Athens this past spring. Allen claimed to have a photo and video of Gurley signing the items, but neither the photo nor the video showed money being exchanged.

Georgia could’ve tried to hide the incident altogether, but the school did the right thing. It handed over the violation, but immediately went to the defense of Gurley, who cooperated fully within the process.

The NCAA’s rules require schools to im- mediately declare a player ineligible if they discover a violation has been committed. UGA complied and sent in the information to the NCAA. After that, the process of reinstating Gurley as the NCAA investigated has been nonstop as questions loomed over the Bulldogs’ remaining season.

Details continued to unfold the past three weeks during the investigation and it was announced Wednesday that Gurley in fact accepted more than $3,000 in cash from multiple individuals for autographed memorabilia and other items over the past two years. With the truth revealed, the NCAA released this statement explaining the punishment, which equals 30 percent of the team’s competition: “Todd Gurley, University of Georgia football student-athlete, must sit a total of four games, or 30 percent of the season, for accepting more than $3,000 in cash from multiple individuals for autographed memorabilia and other items over two years. Gurley, who acknowledged violating NCAA rules, must repay a portion of the money received to a charity of his choice and complete 40 hours of community service as additional conditions for his reinstatement. Gurley will be eligible to play on Nov. 15.”

Georgia issued its own statement Wednesday when the official suspension was announced that it plans to appeal the NCAA’s ruling immediately. The NCAA membership committee that oversees the reinstatement process will review the appeal this week but it looks doubtful that it will get Gurley on the field any sooner than the Auburn game. The committee can reduce or remove the conditions the staff has imposed, but cannot increase the punishment so at this point, the Bulldogs will be without Gurley for Saturday’s game against Florida in Jacksonville and the following week’s game at Kentucky at the most.


Gurley has been a major factor in the Bulldogs’ recent success since arriving on campus in 2012, but his teammates have been carrying the load and helping Gurley get through this tough situation. Accepting money from a broker was an act that Gurley knew was against the rules and the truth is he ultimately put his own pockets in front of the team. Luckily, the Bulldogs have rallied together and the University itself has handled the situation with honesty and integrity. Gurley messed up, but his teammates and the UGA community has been there to support him. This unfortunate situation has not affected the energy and level of play the team carries into each Saturday. Georgia has handled the adversity masterfully so far and as a result, the play of Nick Chubb and the Georgia Bulldogs has defined this stretch of the season, not just the absence of Gurley.

A 34-0 victory over Missouri was followed with a 45-32 road win over Arkansas and now the team is coming off a bye week in control of its own destiny in the SEC East.


College athletes getting paid is not a new argument and anytime a situation like the one with Gurley hits the news, it becomes a trend- ing topic across the country all over again. It is understandable why Gurley broke the rules to make money. There are a lot of people that be- lieve student-athletes should be able to profit off their own name. Walk into the campus bookstore and you will see merchandise with Gurley all over it. It is evident of the type of im- pact a star player can have on a college campus.

Hypothetically, a memorabilia broker would go up to a guy like Gurley and explain to them that he deserves to be making some money, as everyone is making money off of them. They point to how much money the NCAA makes each year and it is easy to convince someone that they deserve some and that they were not doing anything wrong and it was fair. Making money for signing a picture of yourself is something we all know is violation, but if I was looking down of a stack of pictures of myself that were going to be sold I might have a different perspective on taking some of the profit. A broker is going to make the money off the autograph anyways so if he wants to share some with me it only seems fair. Right? College athletes are asked for autographs all the time and at the time, Gurley probably did not feel like he was committing something that requires such a stiff punishment.

Gurley didn’t break the law. He signed autographs that were sold by a legitimate memorabilia dealer and got a piece of the profit. Despite no legal boundaries being crossed, the NCAA rules state Gurley must repay a portion of the money he received to a charity of his choice and complete 40 hours of community service as additional conditions for his reinstatement. Missing four games is a heavy punishment and while the rules are still in place, it is never going to be worth it to break them.

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