Georgia senate passed a bill that could make sports dealers offenders of the law if they tempt college athletes’ eligibility in what was inspired by former Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley.
Todd Gurley was the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy in the first month of the season after the Georgia Bulldogs talented running back ran for 773 yards in the first five games and eight touchdowns.
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Gurley wouldn’t play for the next four games after he was under investigation for profiting off his likeness after signing some memorabilia for a dealer, which is a violation of NCAA rules. The dealer who pressured Gurley to sign the items snitched on the former Georgia back who is preparing for the 2015 NFL Draft and turned him into the NCAA who suspended him for four games.
The bill passed through the Senate on a 48-4 vote and is in the hands of Governor Nathan Deal who would sign the bill and make it illegal for dealers like the one who cost Gurley four games to threaten college athletes eligibility. The punishment would be a high and aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to Bill Hendrick of The AP, via The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Gurley isn’t without fault in this situation, however, because he knew the rules and he broke them knowing full well the consequences if he was caught. Georgia went 3-1 in the four games without him, dropping the rivalry game with Florida and ending their chances for a bid in the College Football Playoff.
“I made a dumb mistake,” Gurley said at Georgia’s Pro Day. “Something I did my freshman, sophomore year. I shouldn’t have done it. I knew the rules. I still broke them. I’m definitely ready to move on and get on with my life.”
I like this idea to punish the people who persuade the athletes like Gurley to break the rules, but I think it will be tough to completely eradicate the shady business they deal in. It is a great thought, but as long as college athletes aren’t compensated financially, the temptation will always be there for players like Gurley to profit off their likeness.
Gurley returned for Georgia after his suspension ended for the Auburn game but tore his ACL late in the fourth quarter after rushing for 138 yards on 29 carries. He declared for the NFL Draft and despite the ACL surgery preventing him from working out at the NFL Scouting Combine in February could be the first running back taken in the draft and a potential first round pick.
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