Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs have had a bit of a rough offseason (as seemingly tends to happen every year). At least five of his players have been arrested, including four charged in March in an alleged theft by deception scheme and a lineman charged with felony aggravated assault.
Nevertheless, Richt doesn’t necessarily believe that his program is any dirtier than others — in fact, he implies, the reason that Bulldogs may seem to turn up in the police blotter more than other teams’ is that transgressions in Athens aren’t covered up.
“Just because we’ve got guys suspended isn’t evidence we have a discipline problem,” Richt said, via CBS’ Jeremy Fowler. “It’s evidence that we discipline our players. It’s evidence there’s accountability. … Sometimes when you make part of your discipline playing time, it becomes a very public thing. Some of your dirty laundry gets out there in public. I’m willing to take that risk if the process will help these guys grow into men. If we ignore stuff they do and act like it didn’t happen and sweep it under the rug, let them get away with it or whatever, what are we teaching? We are setting them up for failure down the road.”
Richt is … not exactly wrong on this one. There are almost certainly one or two dozen big football coaches who are de facto mayors of their college towns, and have the police chief on speed dial. Misdemeanors don’t show up in the newspapers, discipline gets doled out in-house under the ever-popular “violation of team rules” offense, and everything appears cleaner on the surface.
Though, as Fowler points out, Alabama and Texas A&M have also had a number of recent arrests in their programs, and it’s unclear why Nick Saban and Kevin Sumlin aren’t called out for it like Richt is.
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