No one is innocent. Everyone is guilty.
I've said before that in the long run, Todd Gurley is least affected by this. In the long run he'll be well compensated for his talents, as he should be. For now, he did something he knew was wrong and is being punished.
For everyone else the message is clear - if you play by the rules you're only hurting yourself.
UGAA thought they had a case for immediate reinstatement after two games. Then the NCAA asked for more information. We know UGA sent them what was requested over the weekend. Evidently, whatever that was changed the whole picture.
We learned this with AJ Green back in 2010. That fiasco started as a false report by an entertainment website that Green had been in on those summer trips down to Miami. Before the NCAA was even involved AJ had posted to social media a time stamped picture of him four wheeling on a farm. But the NCAA dug deeper and found the $1000.
Back to Gurley, he was one of many college athletes being pursued by these scumbags. He's one of many that have received money for signing their own name. But he's the one that owned up to his mistake...and plays under a program that plays by the book.
When I'm on I-85 and I'm surrounded by cars going ten to fifteen miles over the speed limit, it becomes easier to press the gas pedal a little harder. But when I'm the one that gets pulled over, well, I only have myself to blame.
|Tackled on Wednesday instead of Saturday.|
That was a little uncomfortable comparing myself (albeit in an awkward way) to Todd Gurley. But I hope you see my point. I don't blame Todd Gurley for doing what he did. I probably would've done the same thing if I were him. And I know I also would've owned up to it just as he did. He's no more a victim in this than I am the next time I'm pulled over for going 75 in a 65 zone. But he's not necessarily in the wrong either. At least the way I see it.
Now, what's next may get a little (more) awkward. The two parties in this that are wrong are the NCAA and UGA. First, the NCAA knows this rule is antiquated and flat out bullshit. They had a chance to slap a good guy on the wrist while also patting him on the back for owning up to the mistake. Instead they punished him further and made an example of him. Todd Gurley is their trophy they now have on display in Indy. The placard reads "Todd Gurley used his own likeness against our wishes and he is being punished for this foul deed!"
Next, UGA handled this in a way that makes me proud as an alum. They stood up for Gurley and did their best to get him back on the field where he belongs. And they did that within the framework of the "governing" institution's laws and protocol. They held their head high once the investigation was complete and were confident in the process and the outcome. And I truly believe they had reason to feel that way.
But if we've learned anything, the NCAA can't be trusted to do what's right. So the next time this happens I wouldn't blame Butts-Mehre for going in a different direction. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.