10/30 update: The NCAA has upheld Gurley’s suspension. He’ll be eligible to return on November 15, when Georgia takes on Auburn at home.
10/29 update: The NCAA has released their statement saying that Gurley will be suspended until the Nov 15 game against Auburn. They also included that because of Georgia’s due diligence in suspending Gurley, their punishment wasn’t as severe as it could’ve been. The UGA Athletic Department has already said that they’re going to immediately appeal this decision.
10/17 update: The UGA Athletic Department released a statement saying that Todd Gurley won’t play in the Arkansas game and did not travel with the team.
To say I was shocked when the news broke that Todd Gurley had been indefinitely suspended for possible violation of NCAA rules isn’t far from the truth. When news comes out of Athens that players have been causing trouble, Gurley’s name was never the first to pop into people’s minds, let alone my mind, until this past week. And it has taken the social media world by storm. Whether it be people who say that Gurley had it coming because what he knew what he was doing was wrong, to the people who support Gurley and want him back asap. I know I’m in the majority when I say I want Gurley back as soon as possible because the Georgia offense is 100x better with him on the field. Although, after the game this past Saturday, I do doubt that a little.
I also know, and this I’ve heard from many a friend, that they’re upset that Richt went ahead and suspended Gurley and nothing has been proven yet. Their argument was “what happened to being innocent before proven guilty?” I understand where these people are coming from because that’s how most places work, innocent until proven guilty. But in this case, I disagree with them and completely agree with Richt and the UGA Athletic Association. It’s better in the long-term, for them to go ahead and suspend Gurley and not let him play, because let’s be honest, it would be worse to have him play in games and then possibly have to forfeit them later. Let’s not even get started on what Bulldog Nation would do.
As a Georgia fan, I am bummed that Gurley got suspended, but I think at the end of the day, his suspension brings up quite a few questions that need to be answered, and hopefully will be, by the NCAA.
For example, pro sports is obviously a business, college athletics is a business, even college itself, is a business. Why are these businesses, more specifically the collegiate athletic business, allowed to make millions upon millions of dollars off of student athletes, yet the student athlete isn’t allowed to make money off themselves? It is their likeness after all. And I get that some people are of the idea that well, the student athletes are basically given a scholarship to play their respective sport, so they don’t need to be paid or given a stipend by the school. If that’s the case, then why do some athletes come out and say there are nights that they go to bed starving because they don’t have enough money to buy food?
This also brings up the topic of college sports also potentially becoming a union. Northwestern set the precedent earlier this year when the football players wanted to form a union. In theory, this is a great idea, however, if does this pass and the college athletic landscape is able to unionize, it will ultimately destroy the collegiate athletic industry as we know it. It’ll give the bigger schools the opportunity to get bigger and the smaller schools will suffer because their athletic departments don’t have the disposable income like many of the larger schools. Instead of unionizing, what if a compromise is made and money made off student athletes is put into a fund and after each athlete graduates or leaves school to go pro they’re able to receive their part of the money?
In closing, my hope is that Todd Gurley’s suspension will be another catalyst in helping the NCAA to review and possibly change rules that they have regarding autographs, scholarships, etc.. Because, at the end of the day, it shouldn’t be about the amount of money college athletic departments can make off their student athletes, it should be about their well-being and helping them succeed after they graduate.
Until next time,