The day before he kicks off yet another spring practice at Georgia, Mark Richt has yet another off-field incident with which to deal.
The Macon Telegraph‘s Seth Emerson reported overnight that four Bulldog football players were arrested on at least two counts each of theft by deception. Wide receiver Uriah LeMay led the quartet with four counts, followed by defensive back Tray Matthews (three) and defensive lineman John Taylor (no relation) and defensive end James DeLoach with two apiece.
To make matters worse, the alleged victim in this case is the UGA athletic department, the police chief confirmed to the Telegraph. As far as the particular crimes that led to the off-field issues, Emerson wrote that “[t]he players are charged with what amounts to double-dipping: Each allegedly took normal stipend checks from UGA and deposited them via a mobile app, and then also cashed them somewhere else.”
Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald tweeted that it was the university that reported the case to the police. Because stipends were involved, Weiszer said, there was a fear that NCAA compliance issues could arise if it was left unreported.
Weiszer is also reporting that LeMay had taken a stipend check that was discarded by a roommate, also an UGA athlete, and cashed it.
There were a total of 11 checks involved, with the total value coming out to $786.50.
“I’m aware of the situation and it will be handled in an appropriate way,” Richt said in a statement.
All four players were released on a $1,500 bond per charge.
Matthews is by far the most notable name in the group. Despite being limited by a hamstring issue for the early part of the season, Matthews started six games at safety as a true freshman in 2013.
Taylor played in 10 games last season while DeLoach has played in 18 the past two seasons. LeMay took a redshirt in 2013.