Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans, on the phone from Los Angeles, said today that he was disappointed with the findings of the NCAA concerning the Bulldog’s basketball team.
“We are glad we have received the final findings of the NCAA,” said Evans opening the teleconference. “We are concerned about the extent of the penalties.”
The reduction in scholarships was a bit of a shock to Georgia’s administration. Evans used the word “excessive” numerous times during the call to express his view of the NCAA’s ruling.
“We think that the extent of the penalties is excessive,” he said. Evans notified current Georgia Head Basketball Coach Dennis Felton, and told him of the NCAA’s findings.
“He is well aware of today’s rulings and that we are going to appeal. Dennis is ready to move forward. He feels that the appeal is appropriate. We want to get this behind us,” said Evans.
But the appeal process could stretch until the start of the basketball season in November.
Georgia has 15 days to notify the NCAA of their decision to appeal. Then Georgia will prepare a report and send it to the NCAA Infractions Committee. Then, the NCAA will get 30 days to reply to Georgia’s report. Evans and his staff will then get 14 days to form a rebuttal to the NCAA. Georgia will then have an in-person meeting with the NCAA. University President Michael Adams and Evans must attend that meeting.
Adams and former Athletic Director Vince Dooley pulled the 2003 team from the NCAA Tournament.
“We stand by what we did as an institution,” Evans said of Dooley and Adams’ initial reaction to remove the Bulldogs from the 2003 NCAA Tournament. “We felt the action that we took was appropriate. (The NCAA) recognized that we took a bold step at the time.”
But the bold step only helped the program so much. Georgia was still punished severely by the governing body. The Bulldogs, who are in the midst of a rebuilding year on the court, don’t get any further post-season bans, but the result of the findings is that the program will lose one scholarship player for a four year time period. The Athletics Department is also on a five year repeat offender list.
“We knew that was a possibility,” said Evans of being considered a repeat offender.
Georgia must also return revenues from the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Evans said he did not know the amount that must be refunded due to SEC revenue sharing. “What we will do is look at the revenue we received and wait and hear from (the NCAA) on what we have to return.”
“The relief for us is that we know were we stand,” said Evans. “Now we can move forward. We needed to move forward with our basketball program. I do know, based on the appeal process that we are not going to get further sanctions.”
“It’s not good for our institution to be on probation; no one wants to be on probation,” said Evans, who took over the position of Athletic Director only weeks ago. “I knew this would be on my plate. We acknowledged it was a major violation. We knew there could be further penalties. We just think that it’s excessive.”