The difference between ignorance and inadvertance

The other day I posted a story about Houston Nutt’s staff violating a recently passed NCAA rule prohibiting contact with high school juniors.  In Ole Miss’ case, that involved sending written scholarship offers, signed by Nutt, to seven high school juniors.  Nutt was fairly blasé about the transgression.

“I think the NCAA knows where our heart was and where our mind was on this thing, and I feel good about what was said,” Nutt said.

Nutt attributed the violation to a mistake, saying the offers were inadvertent and not a way to gain an advantage.

“I’m on the rules committee, and I understand where we’re going with secondary violations and I agree 100 percent,” Nutt said. “The coaches that are trying to get an advantage by doing secondary violations, they’re going to be punished. There’s no question about it, and that’s the way it should be.

“… That was not the intent of what we’re trying to do. It was very inadvertent. It’s a brand new rule. This rule just started.”

In its report, the school said its football staff “misunderstood the legislation and failed to remove seven junior prospects from their ‘scholarship offer’ mailing, mistakenly believing the letters would be permissible if sent to the prospect’s coach.”

Interestingly, it turns out that Mark Richt was guilty of a similar secondary violation.  But compare the story and the outcome to Nutt’s:

Richt had contact with Curry prior Sept. 1 of his senior year, which is against NCAA Bylaws 13.1.3.1 and 13.1.3.1.2.

In a letter from Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity to the SEC, McGarity called the violation “inadvertent.”

He wrote “Coach Richt was on a call with another prospective student-athlete (PSA) when he missed a call from a senior PSA’s mother (Mr. Sterling Bailey from East Hall High School in Georgia). The mother’s cell phone had a 678 area code. While he was checking the voicemail left by Ms. Bailey, Coach Richt missed another call from the 678 area code. After he listened to Ms. Bailey’s message, Coach Richt hit the send button for what he thought was Ms. Bailey. When a male’s voice answered the phone, Coach Richt was surprised and asked if it was Sterling, thinking he was calling Ms. Bailey and the PSA answered; however the person answering the phone told him he had the wrong number. When Coach Richt asked who it was, the individual said it was C.J. Curry.”

Richt ended the call and self-reported the violation to Georgia’s compliance office. Georgia’s coaching staff was also prohibited having any written or phone communication with Curry for 30 days.

So Richt knew at the time a problem had occurred, immediately ended contact and reported the error.  All of which earned him a week’s suspension from contacting not just Curry, but any of Georgia’s recruits.  Nutt and staff were merely prohibited from corresponding with the seven recruits for sixty days, presumably due to their ignorance.

At some point Georgia’s staff is going to realize that in dealing with the NCAA, the smart move is to be stupid.

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27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, The NCAA

27 responses to “The difference between ignorance and inadvertance

  1. ZDawg

    Ignorance is bliss, accidents are punishable. Welcome to the NCAA. Richt should of just claimed ignorance on the rule, not the phone number. However this sort of deceit would be very out of character for him. I guess we’ll leave the gaming of the system to the pros. Move on, nothing to see here.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Sorry, but reporting the accidental contact was a bonehead move on CMR’s part. If he says nothing and the contact ever gets reported he can still say it was an accident and since he and the kid did not actually have a conversation he thought it was too trivial to take up the important time of the high and mighty NCAA.

  2. Brad

    We claim ignorance to ACC-PD and they drop the hammer on us. We come clean with the NCAA and they drop the hammer on us. We should keep in mind which of those two organizations actually has the power of the law.

  3. Middle fingers extended in all directions. The NCAA should be abolished.

  4. gastr1

    Unbelievable. Really unbelievable.

  5. Kevin

    Richt and co. won’t change because of this, but I’ll tell you what – other schools will take notice what happens if you follow the rules and say, “well what’s the point”.

  6. crapsandwich

    I think I will try Nutt’s line….the FBI new where my heart was….the next time I rob a bank

    • Cousin Eddie

      “next time” Did you inadvertantly admit to a crime? Well it’s just the FBI not the NCAA, so you should be OK.

  7. Will Trane

    Everything UGA does gets highligted, written about, blown-out of proportion, condemned, and a heavy hand of punishment. Frankly, someone at the NCAA and the SEC does not like us. Perhaps the time has come to “rat-out the out of state recruiters in the state of Georgia” to not only the SEC, the NCAA, but to the public at large.

    • Joe

      It has been this way for Georgia and U of Maryland for 30+ years. Meanwhile Clemson and UT, among others, get away with murder.

  8. JBJ

    This has got to go on at every school to some extent. It is madness to put these ridiculous restrictions out there that people can’t help but accidentally violate.

  9. Hogbody Spradlin

    A wrong number got Richt a week’s suspension from the NCAA? Are you serious? ARE YOU SERIOUS?

  10. I have often said that it appears to me that the NCAA, the SEC Refs. & ESPN all have a problem with Mark Richt & the Dawg’s football program. Am I wrong? McGarity needs to step up & see if he can find out what the problem is or what it stems from.

  11. 69Dawg

    Don’t blame the SEC or the NCAA blame us. In the immortal words of POGO “we have met the enemy and they are us”. We self-reported the minor violations and I presume from the article we self-imposed the penalty. We don’t have enough problems we have to self-inflict wounds on our program just cause we are too stupid to do what the rest of the SEC is doing and make the NCAA catch us and then plead ignorance of the rules.

  12. the Coondawg

    So who needs to have a “come to Jesus” with the NCAA? McGarity? This is waaay outta control.

  13. Bulldog Joe

    Smart on Ole Miss’ part. Stupid on Georgia’s part.

    Everyone knows you play by how the rules are interpreted, not on the letter of the rules.

    Everyone except Georgia.

    For this reason, Georgia deserves what they get.

  14. Go Dawgs!

    This garbage is on McGarity’s head. McGarity is the one that needs to take the NCAA to task for their uneven, completely arbitrary enforcement of the rules, and all he or anyone else in the UGAAA want to do is just avoid eye contact, bow, and tremble and cooperate fully with the NCAA’s investigations.

    You’re right, Senator. Next time Richt dials a wrong number, tell him to keep his mouth shut. It’s not worth getting a sledgehammer to the forehead over. I am not saying we need to start cheating like some of the other powers in our conference, but why sh0uld we continue ratting ourselves out when nobody else is?

    • the Coondawg

      I don’t mind them self reporting. I believe in having a squeaky clean program. What I have issues with is the way the NCAA is handing out punishment. Someone at UGA needs to go to the NCAA home office and square this crap away! This is insane. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a year like 2010 where punishment was so random.

      • X-Dawg

        It doesn’t appear to be random. UGA get punished to the max for everything. Everyone else either gets away with it or gets their penalty reduced.

      • Puffdawg

        THIS. While reading the comments above I couldn’t help but notice the majority of the comments advocated us cutting corners or blaming UGA/CMR for being honest and straightforward. Is that really who we want to be guys? Men of questionable character and integrity?

        …”but why sh0uld we continue ratting ourselves out when nobody else is?”

        Because we are Georgia. We are better than that. If Tennessee jumps off a bridge (or turns their head while their player put an off duty cop in ICU), should we? If Florida jumps off a bridge (or suspends a player for threatening the life of his GF only to reinstate him for major rival game after 3 losses), should we? If Alabama/LSU/Ole Miss jump off a bridge (or promise players’ mommas they will take care of their son for four years only to dump them when the next best thing comes along), should we?

        • ALDawg

          Sounds like we should join the Big 10…
          F the moral high ground. I’d much rather be a winner than a legend or a leader. I really dislike the excuses and these sorts of hyperbolic BS rationalizations. If we are in a league where the standard is oversigning and the people winning are oversigning, then I believe it comes with the territory. The players see it happen and read the stories, but it doesn’t seem to stop them from signing. These players aren’t retarded. On the other hand, can you name the last 5 UGA stars to stay through their entire scholarship? Similarly, there seems to be a clear pattern of how to respond to the NCAA in a manner that results in less punishment. We don’t follow it. Trying to hold ourselves to standards that consistently bite us in the ass and hinder our competitiveness just seems foolish to me.

  15. David

    How much of this stems from Richt sending the entire bench on the field to celebrate in Jacksonville. I’ve always felt that was the root of a lot of our disdain from the NCAA/SEC.

  16. uglydawg

    It goes back long before that. I really think it stems from anger at Georgia beating the (then) pet of the media/NCAA world ND in the Sugar Bowl.
    Also, it hurts when the largest newspaper in the region, with the largest college football sports section, is (was) edited by a huge GT booster.
    Jan Kemp was a boon to the news media in this state. They still seek to reward her by continuing the beating of all things GA Football. UGA has long been the whipping boy of these institutions (NCAA and media). A lot of it also stems out of Big 10 jealosy of all things Southern. As Lewis Grizzard said…(and I paraphrase) “It’s more than just football. It’s our way of life against their way of life.” Both are superior in the South!
    Go back and look at the times Georgia has gotten screwed by SEC refs. Look at how the media has hounded UGA into knuckling under again and again. Remember how they hounded VD into dismissing Pulp Wood Jones from the team? When have you seen other schools flunk out or dismiss top atheletes? If UM could have seen the future, would he have lost Cam N.?Back to the refs…Remember the no-fumble against GT at the goal line? Those were SEC refs. The phantom time-out called by Florida in the pouring rain that nullified the two point conversion thrown by Eric Zier…The penalty for “jumping” when ASU attempted a field goal (not SEC refs) The excessive celebration penalty last year against AJG (I think) that replays showed only the pissed off look on the ref’s face because Georgia had scored..I could go on and on. YEAH every school can point to things like this, but UGA has really gotten some bad calls over the years. The SEC is the most despised football conference by the media writers, talking heads and pollsters up North. It’s obvious why…they’re in jealous denial. For some reason, Georgia is the SEC team they hate the most. ( I do insist that Todd Blackledge is the fairest, most objective and most gentlemanly of all the big-time commentators and announcers. Todd tells it like it is and if he has any predjudices or favorites or least favorites, it doesn’t show).Maybe because of the dubious local coverage I alluded to above. Maybe that’s the root of all of this. I know it’s a mistake to have graduates of or even prior students who attended schools in a conference to be wearing stripes and throwing flags on the football fields of that conference. What do you expect? I’ll quit rambling now..UGLYDAWG