The SEC announced today the suspension of two University of Georgia football players and one Vanderbilt Commodores player. The two Georgia players were nose tackle Kwame Geathers and safety Shawn Williams.
The SEC stated the following in relations to the Geathers suspension:
“Geathers’ action was in violation of NCAA Football Rule 2-32-1-a for fighting. By NCAA Football Rule 9-5-1-b, the penalty for violation of the rule in the second half includes suspension for the first half of the team’s next scheduled game.”
In the Geathers situation, as you can see in this video, Kwame was responding to a Vanderbilt player who tries to take his knee out well after Kwame had slowed down.The AJC quoted Geathers father about the suspension and he stated:
“and if you watch it you see this kid speed up while everybody else is slowing down and he’s locked in on my son’s leg. If you look closely you can see the guy give a thumbs up to the sideline and the coach telling him ‘good job.’ I was, like, ‘Wow!’ I could be sitting here today telling you how my son’s surgery went.”
Geathers career could have easily been ended on that play.
While it is understandable why Geathers reacted in such a way, why did the referees not throw a flag on the Vanderbilt center until after Geathers reacted?
The Shawn Willaims situation is even more baffling. Williams received two personal fouls during the game and his team were penalized a total of 30 yards. The SEC released the following statement on the Williams suspension:
“Williams’ suspension is the result of a flagrant personal foul which occurred at the 2:08 mark in the third quarter. The action is in violation of Rule 9-1-4 of the NCAA Football Rule Book, which reads, “No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder.””
This suspension should move UGA fans to indignation.
Remember the Auburn game last season? Former Tigers player, Nick Fairley, received three personal foul penalties during the game. The most notable one became a YouTube sensation. Video surfaced over the internet of Fairley, after Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had released the ball, lowering his head and sphering Murray in the back. Fairley's head was up and he had seen Murray release the ball and yet decided to take the cheap shot anyway.
What was Nick Fairley’s punishment? Nothing. Auburn was getting ready to play Alabama in the Iron Bowl and a loss would knock an SEC team out of a chance to win the National Championship.
How about the Brandon Spikes eye gouging in 2009 versus the Georgia Bulldogs? Once again the SEC did not suspend Spikes. Could it have something to do with the Gators record at the time?
For the last several years, UGA has received much stiffer penalties from the NCAA and SEC than other teams with similar violations. Consider the AJ Green suspension last season. Green sold a jersey at fair market value and was suspended four games.
At the same time, the NCAA only suspended Alabama football player Marcell Dareus two games for making two separate trips to Miami funded by an Agent. The value of Dareus’ offense was almost twice that of Green.
The difference has been that the UGA administration has lacked the boldness to stand up to these groups.
Georgia athletic director, Greg McGarity, needs to prove he is the man for this job. He needs to call SEC commissioner Mike Slive on the phone and let him know that if the suspensions are not lifted he is going to start an inner-campaign to have Georgia pull out of the SEC.
Remember, the SEC needs UGA much more than UGA needs the SEC.
Georgia has the type of fan base that they could pull out of the SEC and not lose a dime. By starting their own football television network they would make up any monies lost from the removal. There is a reason that, despite a 6-7 season, the Bulldogs had the second highest profits in all of college football.
I do not think it will come to the place where Georgia would have to withdraw from the SEC. However, they need to convince the SEC that they are tired of being treated less fair than other schools.
The punishments were extreme and unnecessary. It is time for McGarity to prove that he is not going to allow the Bulldogs to be the whipping boys any longer.