UGA reports 5 violations after ceremony flap

The presence of two former Georgia football players at Ray Drew’s announcement ceremony might have been a violation of NCAA recruiting rules.

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity reported five possible violations in a letter to Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive dated March 4, 2011. The Athens Banner-Herald obtained a copy of the letter in an open records request.

“We’re going to let the letter stand for itself and have no further comment at this time,” McGarity said Wednesday.

Former Georgia players David Pollack and Randall Godfrey spoke during the Jan. 28 press conference at Thomas County Central High School when Drew, a five-star defensive end recruit, announced his intention to sign with the Bulldogs. Pollack and Godfrey were not named in the letter, but were photographed at the event. Drew eventually signed with Georgia.

“Specifically, on Jan. 28, 2011, the two former football letter winners attended and spoke on the PSA’s (prospective student-athlete’s) college announcement ceremony at his high school,” McGarity said in the letter. “UGA became aware of the issue shortly after the decision was announced and articles of the decision with pictures of the announcement were posted on the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s website. Immediately after viewing the article, UGA began to investigate the potential violation.”

The possible violations listed in the letter are:

‚ñ∫ General rule regarding unauthorized off-campus recruitment.

‚ñ∫ General exceptions about unavoidable and incidental contact.

‚ñ∫ Restrictions on athletic representatives visiting prospective student-athlete’s institutions.

‚ñ∫ Off-campus contacts or evaluations.

‚ñ∫ Comments before signing.

In the letter, McGarity said that Drew, who has an interest in broadcast journalism, and his broadcasting teacher arranged for Pollack and Godfrey to attend his announcement in Thomas County Central’s radio-television media center without the university’s knowledge.

“The PSA and his teacher stated that when Mr. Drew decided to make a public announcement of his college choice, they wanted the announcement to take place ‘on a grand scale’ and decided to invite students, faculty, media and people the PSA considered to be friends and community leaders to the school’s media center,” McGarity said in the letter.

The letter said that neither Pollack nor Godfrey has a formal connection to the university beyond being former lettermen, but they made statements promoting Georgia’s football program. The NCAA defines any individual who promotes the institution’s athletics as a representative of that institution’s athletics interests.

McGarity said in the letter that he believes this is an isolated incident and did not self-impose any sanctions, but he will step up efforts to educate former lettermen about NCAA contact rules.

“The violation showed a gap in our education efforts for our former letter winners who are not ticket holders or members of the UGA booster group,” McGarity said in the letter. “To rectify this, UGA will send a letter and booster brochure to all former letter winners, especially football, detailing permissible/non-permissible activities and interactions between PSAs and former letter winners. Further, a letter will be sent to both former letter winners to not participate in these activities again and to check with the UGA Compliance office about any possible PSA interactions.”

‚ñ∫ Read the letter sent by McGarity.

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