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Those of you who were paying attention know that UGA was destroyed by South Carolina on Saturday. While the final score was only 17-6, the game was never really that close. There are a lot of reasons that Georgia played so poorly -- I certainly blame Mike Bobo, but you probably knew that already -- but what has earned the most attention is the loss of A.J. Green to an NCAA suspension.
NCAA rules are complex and the most honest of mistakes can affect the eligibility of a prospective student-athlete's eligibility to attend the University of Georgia of affect the eligibility of a student-athlete to compete at the University of Georgia.
The above quote is from page 41 of the Georgia 2010 Football Fan Guide. And it's absolutely accurate. The NCAA suspended Green, UGA's star receiver, for 4 games because he sold a jersey "to an individual who meets the NCAA definition of an agent." How was Green to know that the man (Chris Hawkins) who identified himself as a collector was also an agent? Telepathy? ("Yo, man, if you're an agent you've got to tell me!") If the jersey was Green's to sell, and by all accounts that's true, why is he being punished for selling it to the person who wanted to buy it? Don't think I haven't noticed your Communist strategy, NCAA!
At least this tragedy has illuminated yet another of the NCAA's byzantine rules for the casual fan. Green should have known better: even if the NCAA says that you personally can sell your jersey, the NCAA also bans anyone from buying it. Also from the 2010 Fan Guide:
You are prohibited from providing the prospect or the prospect's relatives or legal guardian(s) with any benefit of any kind before, during or after his/her enrollment at the University of Georgia.
Ahem. That's kind of a catch-all statement, isn't it? As I read it, that means that I cannot buy Herschel Walker a Zaxby's Bourbon Chicken Sandwich Meal or help Champ Bailey's grocery-laden mother across a busy intersection. I assume that it also means that I can't buy the jersey off A.J. Green's back.
It's not Green who should be punished here. NCAA, if you must use strong-arm tactics to ensure that only UGA and Nike can profit by selling A.J. Green jerseys, at least try punishing the real troublemaker here: Facebook, the portal that connected the evil agent and his unlucky prey. Facebook: the Gateway to Evil!