“It could be much sooner, and it could be later. It’s impossible to say,” Tolley said.
In August, the NCAA found Georgia guilty of committing academic fraud, providing recruiting inducements and providing extra benefits to players during the tenure of former coach Jim Harrick. The Infractions Committee put the Bulldogs on four years of probation, took away one scholarship from the men’s basketball team for each of the next three years and forced the team to forfeit 30 victories.
On Friday, in a Chicago Westin hotel, the school asked the NCAA to reduce the probation by one year and return one scholarship to the men’s basketball team. The probation affects all of Georgia’s sports, meaning any incident in the next four years would put the school in the “repeat offender” category and lead to more severe penalties. “We were very satisfied with the committee that heard the case,” Tolley said. “There as a lot of give and taken. We felt we were entitled to some reduction due to our amount of self-investigation and cooperation.”
Tolley, athletic director Damon Evans, school president Michael Adams and compliance director Amy Chisholm presented Georgia’s case to the NCAA Appeals Committee, which is chaired by Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips.
“I felt they gave us every opportunity to make our points, and we made them,” Tolley said. “It’s really a matter of philosophy at this point.”
Jim Harrick Sr. and Jim Harrick Jr. will appear before the Appeals Committee today. Harrick Jr. was at the center of Georgia’s investigation into the men’s basketball program, and the NCAA issued a seven-year “show-cause” order against him. That means any NCAA school that attempts to hire Harrick Jr. must appeal to the NCAA to do so. The Harricks will ask today that that order be lifted or lessened today.