Todd Gurley‘s time at Georgia may be over, but his impact on the Bulldogs and other football programs in the state could continue to linger. Maybe.
In mid-January of this year, state Rep. Barry Fleming (R) officially proposed a bill, the Atlanta NBC affiliate wrote on its website, “that would punish solicitors of student-athlete transactions with up to a $25,000 fine, a move to help hold accountable those who knowingly put athletes’ scholarships and eligibility on the line.” The proposal was referred to as the “Todd Gurley bill” as the UGA running back was arguably the Heisman front-runner when he was suspended for what turned out to be four games in mid-October for admitting to accepting money in exchange for his autographs.
In addition to the stiff financial penalty, anyone found to have committed this type of solicitation would face the possibility of jail time as well.
“The bill that I have proposed … would basically say that if you entice a scholarship athlete to do something that is improper — and you know that — well, then there can be some penalties against you for doing that,” Fleming said at the time of his proposal. “It’s very similar to the idea that we punish the person who not only buys alcohol underage, but also the guy that sells it to the underage person.”
Nearly two months to the day later, the Georgia House of Representatives passed the bill. That bill will now move on to the state Senate, although, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it has only a 33-percent chance of passing through that legislative body.
For those curious, here’s the official summary of the bill:
A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Part 14 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to other educational programs, so as to provide sanctions for persons that enter into or solicit a transaction with a student-athlete that would result in sanctions to the student-athlete; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
Gurley returned from his suspension for accepting impermissible benefits, only to tear an ACL in his first game back. The day after Christmas, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, Gurley announced he was foregoing his remaining eligibility and would be making himself available for the 2015 NFL draft.