Georgia running back Todd Gurley was suspended indefinitely as an NCAA investigation has been opened. The NCAA is investigating Gurley’s alleged accepting of money for his autograph, although the amount he accepted seems to be in question. The person who reportedly turned over information incriminating Gurley also seems awfully shady as well. Whatever may be the case regarding how the information was reported or discovered, there is a pretty simple reaction to all of this.
If Gurley broke a rule, the NCAA should not be criticized for enforcing its rules. It can, however, be criticized for having a ridiculous rule.
Let’s be clear about this story. The NCAA rules prohibiting players from accepting compensation for their likeness or autograph etc. is a silly one that was established in a different era of the collegiate athletics world. They should be amended or discarded, and perhaps one day they will. Few would argue the rule should be maintained. Sometimes there are gray areas with the interpretation of the NCAA rules, which has been a struggle. But the bottom line is, the rules may be silly but they are still in place and should be enforced as outlined by the NCAA. Players should be aware of many of the rules, but will not always know every single line in the rule book. It is probably safe to assume the majority of players know they are not allowed to accept money for anything, and high-profile players are probably the most informed of these rules.
If Todd Gurley violated an NCAA rule as it is written, then he deserves to sit out whatever the mandated suspension time is under the NCAA rules. When it comes to this rule, it is pretty straightforward. Get caught accepting money, you are going to miss some playing time.
Players should be able to accept compensation for their likeness. I have never wavered from that standpoint and hope that one day becomes the case. However, until that day comes, players should be held accountable for their involvement in any violations of the rules.
The NCAA investigation is currently ongoing. While the investigation is ongoing Georgia will be handcuffed to sitting him out until the investigation is completed. Once it is completed Georgia will have to hope the time served will satisfy any NCAA punishment that could be to come.