Wed Sep 08 08:57am EDT
Somehow, at the same time that the NCAA's wide-ranging inquiries into agent-related activity all over the Southeast began springing leaks everywhere, no one seemed to have any good idea why it was talking to Georgia's star receiver, A.J. Green, especially after he insisted he was nowhere near the infamous South Beach party that brought on the heat in the first place. His case was still a mystery on Saturday, when he was suddenly pulled from the lineup before the Bulldogs' opening-day rout over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Finally Wednesday, almost two months after the NCAA first stepped foot onto Georgia's campus, we're starting to get a few answers from multiple local outlets, all of them reporting Green is still awaiting clearance for allegedly selling a game-worn jersey to a memorabilia dealer. ESPN's Mark Schlabach (a UGA alum) chronicles the horror:
Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is being held out of the No. 19 Bulldogs' games until the NCAA determines whether he broke its rules by selling a game-worn jersey, a person familiar with the investigation told ESPN.com.
Georgia officials are hoping the NCAA makes a ruling on Green's eligibility as soon as Wednesday. [...]
A person familiar with the NCAA investigation told ESPN.com that Green did not sell his jersey on eBay and received less than $1,000 for it. The source said Green has been forthcoming and honest with NCAA investigators, but added there were "some twists and turns" involved with the case.
Green isn't listed on the Bulldogs' initial depth chart for Saturday's trip to South Carolina, but UGASports.com writes that Green has paid back the money he made from the jersey (most likely to charity) and fully expects to be cleared in time to travel with the team.
Obviously, if Green did sell a jersey, that's a violation: The NCAA passed explicit guidelines forbidding players to peddle memorabilia after nine Georgia players were rebuked (though not officially sanctioned, because no adequate guidelines existed at the time) for selling their 2002 SEC Championship rings on eBay. And everyone knows that impressionable student-athletes are strictly forbidden from profiting off their name or likeness as athletes. A.J. Green can't be allowed to go around cashing in on his fame when other players are (as far as we know) playing by the rules.
At least, not without cutting Georgia a slice of the profits, he can't. That seems to work just fine for everyone else: A quick
This isn't selling tickets. In any other avenue of American life, Green would have a stake in that business, because he essentially created it with his popular talent. But that could be any No. 8 who plays for Georgia, right? Or any No. 2 for Ohio State, or any No. 22 for Alabama, right? There are still a lot of Terrence Edwards fans around, you know. Go team!
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.