this Nov. 2, 2013, file photo, Georgia running back
Todd Gurley (3) celebrates with fans following their
23-20 win over Florida after an NCAA football game in
Jacksonville, Fla. A year after Johnny Manziel was
suspended after an investigation by Texas A&M and
the NCAA into whether he was paid to sign memorabilia,
Gurley is reportedly being investigated for the same
— Georgia was hoping to get Todd Gurley back on the field.
the No. 9 Bulldogs will have to wait two more games.
announced Wednesday that Gurley, once a leading Heisman
Trophy contender, must sit out until Nov. 15 for accepting
more than $3,000 for autographed memorabilia and other items
over a two-year period.
already missed the Bulldogs' last two games, and the school
had petitioned for him to be reinstated in time for
Saturday's Cocktail Party rivalry against Florida.
NCAA ruled that Gurley must serve a four-game suspension —
about 30 percent of the regular season — and said it
"strongly considered" a harsher punishment given
the extent of the violations. The junior running back was
found to have taken cash from multiple individuals, even
though he received "extensive rules education about the
prohibition of receiving payment for autographs."
university's due diligence in its investigation and the
student's full disclosure of his involvement in the
violations were factors in not imposing a more severe
withholding condition," the NCAA said in a statement.
announced an immediate appeal, which will be heard this week
by an NCAA committee that can reduce or remove the sanctions
imposed by the staff but can't increase them.
this Oct. 11, 2014, file photo, a Georgia fan holds a
sign in support of Georgia running back Todd Gurley
who was suspended earlier this week, during the second
quarter of an NCAA college football game against
Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Georgia will file a request
with the NCAA for Gurley’s eligibility to be
reinstated. Gurley has been suspended for the last two
games while Georgia investigated allegations he broke
NCAA rules by receiving improper benefits.
practice, coach Mark Richt steadfastly refused to comment on
severity of the penalty. He said repeatedly that his team is
only going to focus on "things we can control."
rules are broken, you don't have control over the
discipline," Richt said. "That's a part of
suspension is upheld, Gurley would also miss a Nov. 8
contest at Kentucky. But he would be able to return for a
Southeastern Conference showdown in Athens against No. 4
Auburn on Nov. 15.
determining the appropriate reinstatement conditions, a 30
percent withholding condition is consistent with precedent
in similar cases," the NCAA said.
Georgia receiver A.J. Green received a four-game suspension
in 2010 after acknowledging he sold a bowl jersey for
said Gurley must also repay a portion of the money to a
charity of his choice and perform 40 hours of community
service. The organization did not specify how much of the
money he would have to repay or a deadline to comply with
the rest of his sanctions.
suspension raised questions about rules barring college
players from receiving money for their autograph or likeness
at a time when the major conferences are pushing to increase
Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he believes football and
basketball players should receive up to $5,000 per year for
expenses not covered by their scholarships, considering
they're "bringing in big money for all our
universities." But he's not sure about allowing players
to sell autographs and other memorabilia while still in
a team sport," Spurrier said. "I think it might
alienate team chemistry if some guys are getting a whole
bunch of money. The right guard will be like, 'Where's my
cut for blocking for you?' I think it ought to be sort of
even. Most guys in the position to sign autographs are smart
enough to say, 'See me after the bowl game. We'll do
business then.' That's the way we have to do it right
suspended in the midst of a stellar season. He has rushed
for 773 yards and eight touchdowns, returned a kickoff for a
100-yard TD, and even threw a 50-yard pass — Georgia's
longest completion of the season.
Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) have done just fine without Gurley.
Freshman Nick Chubb starred in a 34-0 rout of Missouri and a
45-32 victory at Arkansas, combining for 68 carries, 345
yards and three touchdowns.
school applied for his reinstatement last week, Gurley
released a statement saying he took "full
responsibility for the mistakes I made." His attorney,
William King of Birmingham, did not return messages seeking
he expects Gurley to return for the final three games of the
regular season, plus any playoff or bowl games. There were
reports suggesting Gurley would be better off at this point
dropping out of school and preparing for next year's NFL
draft, when he is widely expected to be one of the top
don't think there's any doubt Todd is going to finish with
honor and have a great finish to his career here at Georgia,
whenever it ends," Richt said.
continued to practice with the Bulldogs during his
suspension, though Chubb gets the bulk of the work with the
Florida coach Will Muschamp said the Gators (3-3, 2-3) would
continue preparing for Saturday's game the same way, even
though Gurley has been ruled out.
an outstanding football player, as good a player as there is
in college football, maybe one of the best who's ever played
in our league," Muschamp said. "But Nick is a good