On Thursday, the University of Georgia announced that it was suspending star running back (and Heisman Trophy candidate) Todd Gurley. Gurley’s suspension was for alleged violations of NCAA rules.
Allegedly, Gurley was accepting money for signatures on Georgia memorabilia. According to Sports Illustrated, he was paid $400 for putting his signature on 80 items. In fact, he apparently had different prices for different items.
If Rovell is right, then he had clearly planned this out, even though the consequences for selling your signatures — or memorabilia — are well-known.
Georgia initiated an investigation, with its compliance department, into the allegations; and notified the NCAA of said allegations. Shortly after initiating the investigation, the program suspended Gurley.
While it remains to be seen how long Gurley’s suspension will last, Georgia’s actions have guaranteed that any potential penalty the program faces will be light. The NCAA has shown in the past that schools that comply with its investigations, and follow its instructions, face easier punishment than the schools that don’t.
Georgia has chosen the path that will benefit the program long-term, instead of focusing on the near term and letting Gurley play. Sure this may cause the program to struggle for the rest of the season, and cripple (if not end) Gurley’s Heisman hopes, but it is a decision that will prevent any scholarship reductions to the program. Keeping all of its scholarships is going to be huge for Georgia, if the program wants to continue contending in the SEC East in the future.