Breaking News - Todd Gurley Suspended Indefinitely
Football Nation has learned through a story on Sports Illustrated’s website and other media outlets, that Georgia tailback and leading Heisman Trophy candidate, Todd Gurley, was suspended indefinitely on Thursday because school athletic department compliance officials are investigating whether Gurley signed dozens of pieces of memorabilia in exchange for cash.
The story broke late in the afternoon on Thursday. The announcement was made as the Bulldogs prepare for an SEC showdown with Missouri on Saturday.
The sports publication 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 immediately to 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.
Through five games this season he has rushed for 773 yards, scored eight rushing touchdowns and averaged 8.2 yards a carry. "I'm obviously very disappointed," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said in a statement. "The important thing for our team is to turn all our attention toward preparation for Missouri."
This is an obvious blow to the Georgia Bulldogs in their quest to win the SEC this season and reach a possible spot in the new college football playoff format. Georgia has one loss in conference play this season. Gurley has been carrying the offensive load for the team in the wake of quarterback Andy Murray graduating and now in the NFL with Kansas City.
The report also states it is unclear how much time Gurley might miss due to the investigation. Last year Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was embroiled in a similar investigation after autograph brokers claimed to ESPN that Manziel was signing items for cash. None of the brokers would speak to the NCAA, and eventually Manziel -- who employed an attorney with experience dealing with the NCAA -- was suspended for the first half of the Aggies’ season-opening 52-31 win over Rice for what was deemed an inadvertent violation of NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52, which forbids athletes from permitting the use of their name for a commercial product. It was never proven that Manziel took money for autographs while playing for Texas A&M.