Why I radicalized.

Once upon a time, I was an amateurism romantic, like some of y’all still are.  If you want to know what changed for me, just read Seth Emerson’s excellent piece on Green and Gurley ($$).

A.J. Green sitting at the head of a small table, fielding questions about a bank statement. A check deposit of $1,000, where did that come from? An investigator for the NCAA wanted to know. Green admitting that it was for selling his Georgia jersey from the Independence Bowl.

Todd Gurley, wearing street clothes, watching his Georgia teammates practice, while he prepared for his own interview with the NCAA, where he would explain how he sold autographs for more than $3,200 in cash. A few days after his teammates flashed three fingers — Gurley wore No. 3 — to honor their teammate, suspended for violating NCAA rules that few agreed with anyway, and are now on their way out.

It all seems so quaint, looking back now. Or is quaint the wrong word? Georgia fans may choose others: Maddening. Outrageous. Unlucky.

Looking back, I think I’ll settle for “wrong”.  What made it especially so was how small the stakes were in each case — a $1000 for Green’s jersey; $3000 for Gurley’s autograph.

“I think when everybody was going through that, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player at the time who faulted those guys,” said Hutson Mason, a quarterback on both the 2010 and 2014 Georgia teams. “Even though it’s against the rules, and some would say ‘it’s a selfish decision’, if that’s someone’s opinion, whatever that’s fine. But I don’t think people can relate to that temptation. Because people don’t come from the socio-economic upbringing, or at the time when you’re a college kid and you’re broke and someone puts an offer of $3,000 or $5,000 in your face, it’s a lot harder to turn that down.”

What made me white hot about the callousness of it all was how feckless McGarity was in the Gurley situation.

… But Gurley’s suspension also may have cost the team an SEC East title: The Bulldogs won their first two games without him, at Missouri and Arkansas, but three days after the NCAA affirmed Gurley’s suspension was two more games — when many thought he would play against Florida — the Bulldogs looked demoralized when they were shellacked by the Gators.

“The psychological impact more than anything affected us,” Mason said. “The hardest part, from a player’s standpoint, was we were going from ‘are we going to have him or are we not going to have him? Are we going to get him back on Thursday?’ It was constantly wondering whether Todd was part of the gameplan.”

There were even hypothetical scenarios within the gameplan, according to Mason. Coaches were in the dark as much as anybody on what was going on.

Yes, there were certain extenuating circumstances at the time and McGarity never was particularly aggressive about defending the program to the NCAA and the SEC, but he had no problem throwing Gurley under the bus, despite what fans, teammates and coaches wanted, because he was an avid defender of the status quo when it came to player compensation.  When you’re willing to let amateurism rule over what’s best for your own program — and, yes, I get “rules are the rules” bullshit rationalizing, but that hardly stopped other programs from exploring gray areas when it suited their needs — there’s something seriously wrong with the way college athletics are structured.

That’s when I stopped caring about amateurism.  Alston isn’t going to get those suspended games back for me or Georgia, but at least it’s going to force the NCAA and the McGaritys of the college sports world to be a little less hypocritical.  I’ll take my victories where I can get them, cheap or otherwise.  Fuck ’em, in other words.

34 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

34 responses to “Why I radicalized.

  1. RangerRuss

    😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 81Dog

    I remember thinking at the time “I wish he hadn’t done that, but if I was in his shoes at that age, I would have totally done the same thing, so I can’t be mad at him.” I would bet AJ and TG suffered a million dollars worth of embarrassment.

    Meanwhile, Cam Newton got auctioned off to the highest bidder, didn’t miss a snap, and was a smug asshole about it to boot.

    Thanks, Mcgarity. You aren’t missed. Maybe the most overhyped, disappointing hire.at UGA in my lifetime.

    Liked by 16 people

  3. timberridgedawg

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

    Emerson concurs.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. mwodieseldawg

    That is when it changed for me too Senator. Any AD should fight for his players tooth and nail. Especially these guys that had never even had a whiff of trouble and played at their highest ability for the team. I’m not one to bash McGarity but he really deserved an ass whipping for the way he hung A.J. , Todd, and their teammates and coaches out to dry.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Tony BarnFart

      I’m really not wanting to be political about it, cause i frankly hate much of this stuff in the current climate, but here goes: to sit there as the proverbial old white guy who makes probably over a half million dollars at the time and yet never touches a ball, while also growing up knowing nothing of what Todd Gurley grew up with. That galls this right of center guy.

      Liked by 5 people

  5. timphd

    If the NCAA were smart … actually, let’s just stop right there and move on.
    That is the best line in Seth’s story.

    I totally agree with Green and Gurley being the end of my support for “amateurism”. I was an old romantic too, but the total tone deafness of the NCAA finally turned me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Do you think McGarity would have done that to Kirby?

    If either situation would have happened with Kirby at the reins (especially the Green scenario), there is no way any more questions get asked after AJ proved he wasn’t at the party. We may have suspended Todd. Of course, I’ve never seen the video, but if it’s apparent it was Todd, it would have been difficult to fight (of course, Kirby could have sent some Rome alumni to visit that cretin to say, “Nice memorabilia shop you have here. It would be a shame if something happened to it”). At least, McGarity wouldn’t have sent out that mealy-mouthed press release to say I’m was just doing my job and if we lose at Arkansas today, blame Todd.

    The Green situation turned me on NLI. Once he proved he wasn’t at that party per the TMZ report and a Bama rat, there was nothing left to investigate.

    All roads point back to Il Duce. He wanted the job that went to Emmert in 2010. What better way to demonstrate his commitment to the NCAA’s rules than to throw his star player under the bus.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Do you think McGarity would have done that to Kirby?

      Absolutely.

      Whatever you might make of a Richt vs. Smart comparison, there is no way any head coach isn’t going to fight and fight hard about losing his star player.

      You can’t judge a 2010 situation by 2021 standards. Back then, the fan base bought the whole romanticism thing, and, to make it worse, it was strongly flavored with the attitude that somehow UGA was more pure than your average football program. Smart wouldn’t have been any more successful in beating that back than Richt was.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you misunderstand my point of view. I believe Richt fought like hell to keep AJ eligible (I hope this may be something we learn in his upcoming book – I have a feeling CMR is not going to be kind to the president of the Gator Bowl). What I’m saying is McGarity was never invested in Richt for whatever reason. He knew his neck was in the noose if Kirby didn’t work out. Once it was established that AJ wasn’t in Miami, the NCAA investigator would have been told this conversation is over. If either of these scenarios happens in 2016, there’s no way the liquor barons allow McGarity to let this happen .

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        • mddawg

          Not that anyone asked me, but I think you’re both right, it’s just a matter of how you frame the scenario.

          If it happens in 2010, the result is the same regardless of who the head coach is. I’m sure a lot of fans fell into the “rules are rules” camp, but we were also naive enough to believe tha the NCAA would rule a certain way. Instead, it seems that they almost went out of their way to screw AJ Green.

          If it had happned in the past couple of years while McGarity was still AD, I think it plays out a little differently. As you mentioned, the pressure from boosters would be different, plus public opinion has shifted on this issue, and we hopefully would’ve learned our lesson after being burned by the NCAA the previous time(s).

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think if McGarity had hired Kirby in 2010 under the pressure he was put under to hire him rather conduct a search, there is no way McGarity allows the NCAA to keep asking questions once it was established that AJ Green wasn’t in Miami (the subject of the investigation). Maybe it still happens because Michael Adams wanted to prove he was willing to hurt his own school. Who knows? But one thing is clear … McGarity was never invested in the success of CMR like he was with Kirby.

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      • Greg

        concur……CMR gets a bad rap too times. He would fight, but do it behind closed doors and not air any grievances imo.

        Like

    • CB

      I don’t think any money actually exchanged hands on camera in the Gurley video.

      Like

  7. akascuba

    Senator,
    I never agreed more with anything you have ever posted here.

    AJ Green was allowed to walk into that meeting without a school provided lawyer. He was under no obligation to provide the bank records. Our cheap ass AD did nothing to protect him. At least that is the story I read. I’m sure you would know the real story.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. mddawg

    I think it was those two instances, coupled with how the NCAA handled Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel. Then there’s the glaring hypocrisy of the ongoing “arms race” around facilities, coaching salaries, and TV deals. The rich keep getting richer, all the while saying the world will end if they pay the players, or even allow the players to make any money on their own via NIL.

    One big “eureka!” moment I had on this issue came in an exchange with you Senator on this blog. It was probably a couple of years ago now. You made it clear that it wasn’t just a question of whether or not the players should be compensated (because clearly the scholarship is compensation). Rather, it was a question of whether the compensation was being wrongly capped by the NCAA. For whatever reason, that point has just never clicked into place for me until then. It was definitely an eye-opening moment.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Ran A

      Just posted an article about Manzel, Newton was the worse kept secret on the planet and you don’t sell $30,000 worth of autographs (Manzel) without people knowing about it. I always laugh when the Auburn folk cause Georgia of cheating. But will say, if anybody knows how to cheat, its the Tigers. It goes at least back to Pat Dye.

      Like

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Greg Mediocrity likely saw infractions, and/or helped brake ncaa rules, on a daily basis while employed at FU. The idea any a.d. is pure as the driven snow is funny.

    The hypocrisy is why I pull for the players to bleed those fat-cats and fat coffers dry.

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    • Russ

      Yeah, THAT was what really infuriated me. The blatant hypocrisy and McGoofity just rolling over and peeing on himself in front of the NCAA.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes. It was part the unjust treatment AJ and Gurley received, but more about how blatant the cheating was elsewhere with not just a lack of consequences, but sickening glorification. It was time to level the playing field by changing the rules. Amateurism had been looooonnnggg dead.

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  10. CB

    McGarity was a coward. His legacy is the way he handled Gurley and the joint press conference with Richt.

    Liked by 4 people

    • McGarity still hasn’t answered a single question about the events of October-November 2015. He released his statement on Sunday morning after the meeting with Richt, said a few words at the press conference, and then said he wouldn’t take questions because today was about Richt (in other words, he hid behind the guy he just fired, and Richt was nice enough to allow it). Another reason I believe Richt may be gracious but not kind to McGarity if he decides his book is going to be a tell-all.

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  11. charlottedawg

    Specific to Georgia and why my blood still boils is that mcgarity ran the exact same playbook with Gurley and the NCAA after seeing how poorly that worked out for AJ AND after seeing how the complete opposite approach worked for newton and auburn. This is a guy who is supposed to be an aggressive advocate for UGA athletics, that is literally his job. So he predictably gets the same results after doing the same thing as 4 years prior. Oh and to rub some salt in the wound, when handing down Gurleys suspension the NCAA in their statent literally thanks UGA for it’s cooperation while enforcing the most punitive punishment (4 game suspension) possible in its rule book for the infraction in question. So literally mcgarity cooperating resulted in UGA getting the worst possible outcome, AGAIN!!

    I was off the romanticism train well before the Gurley and Green fiascoes, mostly because I cynically saw amateurism for what it was: a hypocritical to the point of contradictory emotional BS campaign on the part of the NCAA to have its cake and eat it too. Amateurism has ALWAYS been about schools getting the benefits of a lucrative enterprise with an emotionally attached customer base (us the fans) while colluding amongst themselves to avoid paying as well as controlling the employees (“student athletes” which are students when the context is convenient but “athletes” aka employees when it’s not) upon which their revenue is derived. The NCAA has long been able to get away with behavior that no private employer would dream of being able to pull off. The statement from kavanaugh that really resonated was something to the effect of “schools will start having to play by the same rules as every other company and employer in our economy”.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. theorginaldawgabides

    When it comes to the Gurley situation, of course fuck McGarity. But fuck Jack Bauerle too. Who gives a shit about saving the swim coach’s ass?

    Like

    • In slight defense of McGarity (!) the Bauerle situation had the potential for larger ramifications for the athletic department.

      Like

      • Is it really true that McGarity offered up Gurley to protect the broader athletic department from the fallout from Baurle’s issues? If so and Gurley knew that, he’s a bigger man than I because I would have told McGarity I wouldn’t be applying for reinstatement. In hindsight, he probably should have opted out when it was apparent that we weren’t going to end up in Atlanta. His injury has probably affected his long-term earning potential, but we wouldn’t have been able to see this (still one of the most electric moments I’ve experienced in Sanford):

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  13. 69Dawg

    Ok let me explain the NCAA enforcement. Having worked for the IRS for 11 years I know that the NCAA uses the IRS enforcement tactic of “Selective Enforcement”. This is where you only go after high profile individuals in order to scare the sh*t out of the rest. It is all a matter of intimidation by publicity. See Willie Nelson et.al. Had TMC not made a deal out of the Miami thing the NCAA would have never even sniffed A.J. Once in they had to find something so they wouldn’t have egg on their faces. McGoofy should have stepped in and gone hard ball with the NCAA but as has been noted above he had no balls at all. The Cam at Auburn situation was an outlier. The father being a preacher made it a PR thing in reverse for the NCAA, that and Auburns usual F the NCAA attitude.

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  14. Info Info

    Indeed F THEM!

    Like

  15. SoCalDawg

    you damn right!

    Like