Oct 5, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt during the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Georgia won in overtime 34 to 31. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

You can’t blame Mark Richt for Georgia’s discipline troubles. Ok, yes you can.


It’s become as regular as the swallows returning to Capistrano, or the Atlanta Braves bowing out of the playoffs early on….come spring, at least one (usually several) University of Georgia football players will do something stupid and get arrested and/or dismissed from the team.

Head starts in the Fulmer Cup standings are what the Bulldogs are becoming known for, and it’s starting to move from a running joke to an actual concern (for the record, I was concerned years ago).

This year’s subplot of four players–safety Tray Matthews, wide receiver Uriah LeMay and defensive linemen Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoac–being arrested on misdemeanor counts of theft by deception (duplicate cashing of stipend checks) is the latest in the long dark grey line of d’oh!

We won’t count Josh Harvey-Clemons this year, because his idiocy was kind of a holdover from 2013.

Check me if I’m wrong, but I think the only ones who were really deceived were the four mo-mos who thought the university would never notice checks being paid twice.

Once the arrests were made public, the howling began…go ahead, say it along with me, it’s become an unintentional punch line…

Mark Richt has lost control…”

Yes, the yearly war-dance was in full throttle before St. Patrick’s day hangovers could even begin – Richt must go. Richt imposes no discipline. Richt is too forgiving.

Heck, even ESPN’s top Dawg-hater, Kirk Herbstreit, chimed in:

 

 

To that I say, bulldog biscuits.

What those four criminal masterminds attempted to do had not one shred of connection to Mark Richt’s discipline standards or lack thereof. Enough guys have been kicked out of Athens for players to realize that consequences can be very severe.

You can’t blame Mark Richt for the ongoing discipline issues at UGA

OK…yes you can.

Well in a sense you can. The underlying problem isn’t with the punishments players can and do receive when violating team, school or NCAA policies. For the most part, those rules are enforced and (as we’ve seen) the punishments sometimes even come back to haunt Richt (Hello, Auburn).

I’ve stated the problem before, and it starts before the student-athlete ever even laces up his cleats and steps on the hallowed turf of Sanford Stadium.

Stop recruiting low character.

The NCAA is just going to tighten already ridiculous rules, the coaches are going to be blamed for something that ultimately isn’t their fault, and the fans (and other misguided pundits) just want to throw money at the problem by raising stipends or *winces* just flat-out paying players.

Stop the bleeding at the source, stop recruiting guys with questionable…umm…moral compasses.

But herein lies the bigger problem. If Richt doesn’t go after these recruits, regardless of their track records or background screening results, someone else will…and then Georgia pays the price by being blasted for letting someone get away.

Fall on a double-edged sword much, coach Richt?

Now obviously it’s not as simple as that, for nobody can see into the future and see what dastardly deeds a prospective recruit might decide to pull. But for some of these guys, the writing is on the wall…in neon…indelibly.

Bottom line, you can’t have it both way, fans. If you want a squeaky-clean program, some sacrifices will have to be made as to the talent that will be recruited. On the other hand, you aren’t going to win in the SEC and in the playoffs (that still sounds sooooo weird) without some of these guys.

There are some coaches, who shall remain nameless, who try to keep a lot of these issues under their HATS, or perhaps just use their power to convince the authorities to just ROLL with it, or even leave behind a mess at a former school like an URBAN assault vehicle.

At least Richt keeps it out in the open, for all the world to see and smell.

I love the smell of holding cells in the morning.

Tags: Georgia Bulldogs Mark Richt NCAA Football