It’s not any easier being Green: still more thoughts.

If you haven’t read Mark Schlabach’s piece on the Green saga, stop and do so right now.  It goes a long way towards filling in the gaps about how the NCAA wound up on Georgia’s doorstep in the first place, why it took the organization the time it did to reach a decision about the suspension and why the unusual language about agent involvement appeared as it did in the NCAA’s announcement.

Based on that and a few other things I saw on the intertubes yesterday, here are some follow ups:

  1. It’s not the honesty with the investigation that matters as much as the honesty behind the original decision to sell the jersey. Quite frankly, it strains credulity to believe, as Hawkins insists, that neither party was aware that memorabilia sales are a no-no under current NCAA rules.  Both sides have been in the arena and I have a very hard time believing that neither has received compliance training on the matter (particularly in A.J.’s case, seeing as he’s a member of the program that played a fundamental role in the rule being instituted in the first place).
  2. Georgia is going to have a tough time on appeal. I don’t see much for the school to hang its hat on, other than the obvious misrepresentations made by Hawkins to Green.  But it’s still hard to avoid A.J.’s willing participation in the transaction.  Is there something in the background that may have colored his judgment, as evidently was the case with Dareus?  The school had better hope so.
  3. Chris Hawkins is the perfect nightmare. If you’re Mark Richt, Nick Saban, Urban Meyer or the coach at any other high-profile program, this story is going to keep you up at night.  Hawkins isn’t an agent in the formal sense, nor is he employed by one.  He’s a free-lancer trying to make a play by building relationships with players and agents in the hopes of brokering contacts.  He’s not somebody you can ask the NFL to regulate and if you’re a college coach, you’ll never see his like coming at your players until it’s too late.
  4. If Hawkins is the perfect nightmare, college football presents the perfect storm for him. There’s no outlet for young football players to get paid for plying their trade; they have no choice but to go to college for at least three years in the hopes of some day signing a professional contract.  Meanwhile, they observe the money flow to schools.  I’m not saying this to excuse A.J. Green, but it’s also not hard to see how a sense of entitlement can build up as you watch the school make money from your name while denying you the very same opportunity.  As I said yesterday, I believe in the NCAA’s goal of preserving some sense of amateurism in the sport.  And for a host of reasons, I don’t think it’s practical (or likely legal) to pay some or all college football players and stop there.  But the schools have a responsibility that I think is being woefully neglected, and that is to find the pressure points and devise ways to ease the sore spots.  Whether that’s better education, formalizing a process by which players can sign with agents/financial advisors while still playing college ball or more radical steps like convincing the NFL to fund a developmental league that would pay players (yeah, right) I don’t know, but the schools had better start coming up with something.  I’m afraid that what we’re seeing right now is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
  5. I wouldn’t want to be North Carolina’s athletic director today. That one’s pretty much obvious on its face, isn’t it?

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UPDATE: If you want to hear how A.J.’s Pied Piper came on to him, check out these Hawkins quotes from Joe Schad’s Twitter feed -

Hawkins: “Why can the NCAA and Universities can sell these kids jerseys and one that is given to the kid he can’t sell if he chooses to? …

Hawkins: ” I bet a scholarship costs $150,000 but the NCAA and Universities make millions off you….”

Hawkins: “Why is it a problem if I want to buy his jersey from him when he’s the one who performed for it?”

Sure, he didn’t know it was a rule violation.  Sure.

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45 Comments

Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, The NCAA

45 responses to “It’s not any easier being Green: still more thoughts.

  1. Cynical in Athens

    Chris Hawkins is a smarter, adult version of Tony Cole.

  2. Dooms Day Dawg

    In order for this agent/want-to-be agent mess to go away, NCAA has only 1 option left: Harsh punishment. If a player is found guilty of receiving benefits from an agent (cash or otherwise), said player forfeits his amature status and his scholarship is terminated. The player must repay the remaining balance of the scholarship. The agent is not allowed to sign a player leaving college for 1 full calendar year.

    • The NCAA has no power to enforce such a rule on the agent. Once the kid leaves school, the NCAA has zero power over the kid.

      As for harsh punishment: you mean harsher than Dez Bryant last year? They took away his whole season, so he just said “screw you guys, I’m going pro.”

      You try to get harsher, you’ll have kids start to seriously consider 3 years in the Canadian Football League.

      Do we really want the CFL to start draining away all the college football talent?

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Yeah, I’m not feeling the CFL draining the talent away from colleges anytime soon. CFL has an 18 game schedule and the contracts commensurate with that schedule are somewhat prohibitive with regards to the NFL signing free agents and acquisition. If it is the CFL as the NFL farm team that you are implying …….seems a bit of a stretch for me?

    • Paul

      I understand the sentiment regarding the player…but I don’t understand how the NCAA could regulate who an agent signs for a year. Isn’t that the current problem?

      • PhillyDawg

        While the NCAA can’t do much, the NFL can. They need to step up and support their future employees by punishing these trash agents.

      • Dooms Day Dawg

        I understand that the agent portion needs some outside assistance. However, I believe that 42 states have laws and regulations on the books regarding agents. The majority of the schools having issues with agents are state funded schools. It seems that the universities and states could come together to formulate a solid plan of action regarding agents running wild. Just a thought, but it does need work. With that said, I do believe any player accepting benefits should be tossed. This mess is out of hand. And by hook or crook, CMR MUST put an end to the garbage currently surrounding UGA football.

  3. AthensHomerDawg

    I’m not sure which schools could afford paying football players right now. Seems like I recall only a handful of colleges were making a profit. Football supports a lot of programs. Will the basketball players get a check….and will those be prorated as to performance? I’m always nervous with the “must do something” scenarios. I agree more with this post than the blanket “this is an exploitation of the athlete” argument. I have seen more studies that link professional success to athletics based upon social economic status than I have anything else. If you look at today’s professional athletes, very few of them grew up in economical successful families. If you factor out the athletic families (Sims, Mannings, etc.) the number of successful professional athletes from economically successful families drops to next to nothing. This trend goes back all the way to the early 1900’s. Back then it was the Italian, Irish, and Jewish athletes dominating college and the early professional sports. These were the immigrants and poor of the time. If you polled most kids in a poor neighborhood (regardless of race), they would rank the path to wealth in the following order; Sports, Lottery, and then an education. Given that background it will be a challenge to develop some method to ease those sore spots.

    • Why do you consistently make flawed analogies or bring up historical facts that, while true, have no bearing on this case.

      The very well known fact that poorer socio-economic classes tend to dominate pro sports has NOTHING to do with this.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        “Does this mean we are not friends anymore?”
        I had to go back and check my posts and see what I might have posted to have upset you. I don’t think anyone has ever replied as frequently to my posts as you. Should I be flattered or creeped out The socioeconomic position was but a part of my last post. I wanted to infer that a lot of the problems have a cultural foundation. Not easily fixed by rules or rewards. That being said I think your problems with my posts have less to do with my analogies and more to do with my responses to your replies. So as to not further annoy you I shall simply wish you a good day and great weekend. Go Dawgs!

    • First Timer

      I have to disagree with you here. Most professional athletes DO come from economically successful families. If you get a chance, read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”. He does an intricate study on what it takes to be successful and one of the key factors is your parents usually must have the resources to get children training above and beyond that of their peers. The perfect example is golf. It takes a lot of money just to buy the clubs, not to mention constant lessons, greens fees, new clubs as they grow, etc. Its hard to get better when you don’t have the opportunity to practice and hone your skills.

      There’s always exceptions to the rule (read: NBA).

      It’s a side point to this whole AJ Green fiasco, but I just thought I’d throw in my 2 cents.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        When you say most that is a large number. How many golfers and tennis players are there? I would think football and basketball numbers would pale them in comparison. I haven’t read Outliers but will look for it. You might try “Shaker Heights” a real eye opener.

  4. jferg

    Senator,
    Is there anything that a college athelete “can sell”? Can they have a yard sale or hock an iPod on craigslist? I just wonder where the line is.

  5. Mr. Tu

    It is unfathomable that Green did not know that he could not sell his jersey. Given that claim, I would like to know what Richt takes to inform the team of what we consider to be the obvious. Either we failed miserably in educating them (which I doubt) or they simply have no repect for the coach/program, or have no fear of the consequences. A pefect example of the lack of respect/fear is Washaun driving his car after allegedly being told specifically not to by Richt

    • … or have no fear of the consequences.

      That’s what being young and dumb is all about. In that respect, the players are hardly different from anyone else in their age group.

      • No One Knows You're a Dawg

        Well, 20 years old isn’t that young. I agree with Tu. It’s disturbing we have players who decide to go against the orders of our coaching staff-especially regarding off-the-field behavior. In Washaun’s case, a special effort was made to tell him not to drive. This was done after several other arrests, media attention and an internal review by the coaching staff. To go and drive anyway is just very disrespectful of the staff.

        Of course that begs the question of what to do. Make an example of them? Suspend them? Boot them off the team? But I (and the coaches) want to win and UGA has a much better chance of that with those two guys playing. So it leaves a coach stuck, at least with regard to the most talented players.

        Maybe part of the answer, at least with the talented players, is to talk to them about the potential negative impact on their draft position due to such behavior. Both AJ and Washaun have NFL talent. Both will be asked about these incidents in their NFL evaluations. In Ealey’s case, I suspect there will be some very pointed questions about why he thought it was OK to disobey his coaches. And if I had to guess, it will probably end up hurting his draft position and thereby cost him some money. Maybe, just maybe, an appeal to their naked self-interest can keep them on the straight and narrow.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          Who was the Florida kid that tested positive at the combine for marijuana? Gee, if there is ever a time to back off the ganja it might be at the combine.

    • Scott W.

      It is not unfathomable that AJ was blissfully ignorant of the consequences of selling his jersey. As you point out Ealey wasn’t exactly up to date on how to use a drivers license. It may simply be that CMR’s personality may project that he can be taken advantage of.

  6. Kevin

    Here’s the real interesting quote from Hawkins — “I collect jerseys”

    Shouldn’t the NCAA be looking into his ‘jersey collection’ and figuring out when each was bought?

    • Exactly how would the NCAA go about doing that?

      • Kevin

        I thought the comments section was a place where I could make wild accusations and request impossible demands of people/things… was I wrong?

        I thought this was the tree, the trust tree.

        I’m not really sure but if I worked for the NCAA and I heard him say that, my eyebrows would raise ever so slightly.

  7. 69Dawg

    The NCAA is going to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The NFL is making a ton of money and they save a lot by not having to have a farm system like MLB but there is a new kid in town USF and like the USFL earlier they just want to make money. Let’s say AJ Green was ruled ineligible like Dez Byrant he could just go play in the USF for a year and then go to the NFL.

    What may happen is that college football will go back to the good old days where the players are not good enough to be pros. Then we can see if the coaches can make 3 million a year coaching slow white boys.

  8. ChicagoDawg

    Senator — This is not directed at you personally, but if I have to read one more time about the honesty, integrity and clouded judgment as a mitigating factor for Marcel Dareus one more time I think my head will explode. I have already weighed in on the fact that I call bull shit on the “honesty” and “he self reported” narratives. He is the equivalent of the convenience store robber who turns himself in after seeing his crime caught on tape on the evening news. This deal about his mother dying as the source of clouded judgment and therefore that is mitigating is complete and utter BS. A few years back, my mother died unexpectedly. Now, I do realize that we all grieve differently, etc., However, at no time during the grieving process did it strike me as reasonable to be “shanghaied” (to quote Nick Saban) into getting on a plane and flying to South Beach for a weekend party. Give me a freakin’ break. Oh, and he flew to South Beach twice, presumably for double the pleasure.

    This is getting to the point where it is beyond insulting. The NCAA is completely arbitrary and lacking in logical consistency, so they and the pundits should just spare us the rationalizations for punishment discrepancies as the charade demeans us all.

  9. PA Dawg

    The bottom line is AJ knew he wasn’t supposed to sell the jersey. Do I think it’s right that the university can profit from his jersey sales? Absolutely not; but those are the rules. We all have rules we have to live by and probably a lot of them we don’t agree with and can’t change. But that is life….and we have rules to live by or pay the consequences. I’ll be the first to say I wish AJ was out on the field; but he broke the rules and should be punished.

    Let’s go win the next 3 games without him and put the fear into the rest of the teams on our schedule when he returns!!! GO DAWGS!!!!

  10. NCAA Marketing Rights

    Nothing colored Dareus’ judgment…….

    Bama got wind of Marcel’s involvement and provided Marcel as a snitch for the NCAA in return for a lighter sentence.

    That’s why he only got 2 games.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      If that’s true, and it sure “feels” true, then it is just another indication that Nick Saban is far, far ahead of everybody at every level.

    • ChicagoDawg

      Precisely! He is the Henry Hill of the 2010 CFB season, and good for him I guess. But honesty, integrity and being forthright are not the words I would use to describe his actions in this whole affair.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        CDawg….this is college football we are talkin here, how long has it been since honesty, integrity and being forthright, were part of the lexicon?

        Even “Rudy” turns out to be mostly bullshit.

        • ChicagoDawg

          No doubt! But if you read all of stories relating to this whole affair or listen to the talking heads, you are asked to believe that Marcel Dareus is a profile in courage. Give me a break.

          • NCAA Marketing Rights

            The NCAA spun the Dareus reduction as him being so forthright and honest. When has the NCAA EVER cared about truthfulness when it comes to a reduced sentence. They care about who sings.

            Bama got ahead of the game and became the 2010 version of Phil Fulmer.

  11. Dog in Fla

    After reading about Chris Hawkins, I’m glad the NCAA can’t increase the number of games suspended as a result of the appeal.

    If A.J. takes nothing else from this, at least he will learn that not good things happen to him whenever he is around cornerbacks that go by the name of Chris Hawkins:

    “Georgia responded quickly. Tavarres King got loose behind the secondary and hauled in a 46-yard pass from Cox. One play later, the senior quarterback threw it up for grabs in the end zone and Green reached over cornerback Chris Hawkins to snatch the ball before tumbling into Sanford Stadium’s famous hedge.

    But with the crowd going nuts, Georgia was flagged for its second excessive celebration penalty of the game.” http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2009-10-03/scott-scores-twice-lsu-beats-georgia-20-13#ixzz0z94FphzV