Georgia running back Todd Gurley has been suspended indefinitely by the university for an alleged violation of NCAA rules. Gurley was suspended by the athletic department, and not by the NCAA. The school provided no details, but coach Mark Richt gave a statement on the university website.
"I¹m obviously very disappointed," said UGA head football coach Mark Richt. "The important thing for our team is to turn all our attention toward preparation for Missouri."
Gurley is a Heisman candidate this year and was widely considered one of the best running backs in the country. He has averaged 8.2 yards per carry this season and has 8 touchdowns.
There are rumors this is linked to an NCAA investigation that focused on Gurley signing autographs over the summer.
Source says ongoing investigation is into if Gurley received money for autographs or allowing likeness to be used. http://t.co/CAXPFNjiL0— Seth Emerson (@SethEmerson) October 9, 2014
SI.com has learned that a person confirmed to Georgia’s compliance office this week that he paid Gurley $400 to sign 80 items on campus in Athens, Ga., one day this past spring. The person claimed to have a photo and video of Gurley signing the items, but neither the photo nor the video showed money changing hands. NCAA rules require schools to immediately declare a player ineligible if they discover a violation has been committed. Schools may then apply for the player’s reinstatement. Reached by text message on Thursday afternoon, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity declined comment.
Memorabilia Collectors turned Tipster
Certainly we'll have further thoughts on this in the coming hours and days. The closest parallel to the Gurley allegations of which I am aware is the situation involving Johnny Manziel in the summer of 2013, in which Manziel signed some items, there were pictures of him signing some items, but no visual evidence that he accepted any payment for the items.
But wait you ask, how do we know there's no visual evidence of Todd Gurley accepting money for autographs? Answer: because the guy who claims to have paid Gurley $400 for his John Hancock admitted as much to SB Nation's Spencer Hall two weeks ago.
After verifying a.) the tipster's identity, and b.) that this person has sold Gurley-autographed gear on eBay under the name provided, we let it drop, because the purpose of this website is not to enforce the NCAA's insane bylaws. On the contrary, we're all for players making money, and are thus editorially supportive of those bylaws' erosion. So we let it drop.
That was September 30.
When the NCAA honchos decides penalties for impermissible benefits, they don't just pull suspensions out of their rear ends. There is a clearly defined scale depending on how large the money inflow was:
$100 - $300: repay the amount and miss at least 10% of your team's games
$300 - $500: repay the amount and miss at least 20% of your team's games
$500 and up: repay the amount and miss at least 30% of your team's games
Georgia is 13th in the country in rushing but 70% of their rushing yards come from players who are either suspended or injured #Mizzou— Mihir Bhagat (@MihirBhagat) October 9, 2014
#UGA's RBs: Todd Gurley - suspended Nick Chubb- broken thumb Sony Michel - out Keith Marshall - out A.J. Turman - out Brendan Douglas - in— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) October 9, 2014
Chubb has carried the ball 31 times this year (Gurley has 94 carries) and has rushed for 7.2 yards per carry. Five-star freshman running back Sony Michel, is out with injury and currently unavailable, as is Keith Marshall.
ATTENTION: Official Dawg Sports statement on Todd Gurley's suspension. pic.twitter.com/ojAJ1LgdYO— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) October 9, 2014