The positive news is the best football player in the country is back in pads and with his teammates. The more relevant news? It likely means nothing, at least at the moment.
In its media notes sent out yesterday evening, Georgia confirmed that “[t]ailback Todd Gurley… practiced on Monday.” That’s news as, officially, the erstwhile Heisman front-runner has been “indefinitely suspended from competition by the UGA Athletic Association during an ongoing investigation into an alleged violation of NCAA rules.”
Unofficially, he was suspended late last week for accepting an undetermined amount of money in exchange for his autograph on various pieces of paraphernalia. At least one report suggested Gurley could be sidelined for the remainder of the 2014 season, which would effectively end his collegiate career as the junior was, even before the NCAA issue, widely expected to take the early cannonball into the NFL draft pool next year.
Regardless of what the reports leading into this week may mean or their respective veracity, the fact that Gurley is practicing essentially means next to nothing.
The former UGA wide receiver referenced in the tweet above was suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season after admitting to selling a game-used jersey for $1,000 to someone who met the NCAA definition of an agent. It’s believed that Gurley’s situation involves some type of memorabilia dealer or autograph collector, although it’s the dollar amount that would likely determine the length of Gurley’s suspension. Provided, of course, there aren’t additional details that have yet to come to light that could potentially add to the, ahem, “gravity” of the situation.
It’s equally unclear how long UGA’s probe into the situation will last. Once that probe is completed, though, the university will forward its findings to the NCAA; at that point, the neutered entity can either accept whatever self-imposed sanctions the school proffers or it could go on a fact-finding mission of its own.
Thus, the Gurley situation could very well be cleared up as early as this week… or it could drag on deeper into this month and even spill into November. Or fall somewhere in between.
For what it’s worth, the university is very much aware of the interest in Gurley’s status. And is telling everyone to slow down and be patient.
As an aside, and on a completely unrelated note, it’ll be absolutely spectacular when, not if, the NCAA rightly burns to the ground. And every former student-athlete takes a leak on the ashes to put out the last flickering ember.