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Georgia Tech, meet accountability

7/20/2011

I understand where former Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford is coming from, I really do.

And I sympathize with the Yellow Jackets' fans and players who "lost" their 2009 ACC title over what amounted to $312. The entire saga could have been handled better by both the NCAA and Georgia Tech.

But the bottom line is this: screw up, pay up.

How many times have we heard the coachspeak that football is a team sport? From the top down, Georgia Tech screwed up -- as a team. The administration went against the NCAA's wishes the moment athletic director Dan Radakovich informed coach Paul Johnson of the NCAA's intent to interview Morgan Burnett. The staff and administration took a major risk when they decided to play an athlete who was later deemed ineligible. And former receiver Demaryius Thomas, who accepted $312 worth of clothing, made the poor decision that started it all. Regardless of how small or questionable the initial transgression was, other mistakes followed, and what began as a secondary violation snowballed into one, long, 20-month investigation that ended with a major violation.

And even after all of that, Georgia Tech got off easy: No loss of scholarships or postseason ban, the two sanctions that hurt programs most on the field and in recruiting.

Yet instead of accepting the penalties and moving on, Georgia Tech has taken the Bedford approach -- win as a team, lose as individuals.