Lo and behold, former Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford isn’t the only Yellow Jacket that’s, shall we say, “dissatisfied” with the NCAA’s decision to vacate their 2009 ACC title and fine the program $100,000 following a super-secret investigation.
Namely, coach Paul Johnson, who was reportedly fuming when the announcement came of the NCAA’s findings. And, apparently, he hasn’t cooled down since.
Johnson, entering his fourth season as coach at GT, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the NCAA’s decision to enforce sanctions on the program is not only meaningless to on-the-field results, but was unwarranted to begin with.
“I’m proud of what those guys did on the field — they won it on the field,” Johnson said. “The NCAA can’t take away the memories or what happened on the field. Let’s say somebody took something illegal. I’m still not convinced that happened, but let’s say it did. Well, you’re punishing 115 guys who didn’t do anything but work their butt off.”
And, in the grand scheme of things, Johnson feels the punishment far outweighed the crime.
Which, for the record, the NCAA declared to be preferential treatment and failure to cooperate with the investigation.
“I’ve been in this business a long time. You see all the things that are going on in college sports today, and you get slammed for this? I mean, come on now. I feel for Dan and [Tech president G.P. “Bud”] Peterson. I’ve known Dan since I got here. Dan Radakovich isn’t going to cheat or cover up anything. Did you get bad information or maybe make a bad decision? You can debate that. But I certainly wasn’t privy to any information we had.
“We thought we were cooperating,” then [Johnson] pointed to a black book on his desk and added, “I guess if they say that book right there is red and you don’t agree, then you’re not cooperating.”
“They [NCAA] tried to say that he [the assistant coach] was directing players to agents,” Johnson added. “He even asked me if I was directing players to agents. I told him, ‘Dude, I don’t even know what you’re talking about.’”
So, would Johnson say the NCAA is a little misguided?
“If you went out and you did something to gain a competitive advantage, if you knew you cheated or you paid somebody, it might be easier to swallow,” Johnson said. “But when you don’t feel like you’ve done anything wrong, it’s tough to take.”