Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Source: A.J. Green sold game jersey
By Mark Schlabach ESPN.com
Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is being held out of the No. 19 Bulldogs' games until the NCAA determines whether he broke its rules by selling a game-worn jersey, a person familiar with the investigation told ESPN.com.
Georgia officials are hoping the NCAA makes a ruling on Green's eligibility as soon as Wednesday.
ESPN.com's Chris Low and Edward Aschoff write about all things SEC football in the conference blog.
Green, a junior from Summerville, S.C., did not play in the Bulldogs' 55-7 rout of Louisiana-Lafayette in their opener. His status for Saturday's SEC opener at No. 25 South Carolina (noon ET; ESPN2, ESPN3.com) also remains in question.
A person familiar with the NCAA investigation told ESPN.com that Green did not sell his jersey on eBay and received less than $1,000 for it. The source said Green has been forthcoming and honest with NCAA investigators, but added there were "some twists and turns" involved with the case.
Green, a preseason All-SEC selection, also is linked to the NCAA's ongoing investigation into alleged improper contact with agents by players at Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina. But a person familiar with the investigation told ESPN.com that Green has adamantly denied attending the agent-sponsored party in Miami or ever traveling to South Florida.
Green has been practicing with the Bulldogs but isn't listed as a starter for Saturday's game. The depth chart was released by Georgia officials on Tuesday.
Bulldogs coach Mark Richt told reporters he hoped to learn Green's fate sometime this week.
"I'd be highly disappointed if we don't hear something this week," Richt said on Tuesday. "I would think we will."
Oddly enough, a previous NCAA case involving Georgia players selling their 2002 SEC championship rings led to the NCAA instituting rules that prohibit players from selling memorabilia. In 2003, nine Georgia players sold their rings to a jewelry broker, but the NCAA ruled it could not take disciplinary action against them because its rules were unclear about players selling such items.
Shortly thereafter, the NCAA instituted rules that prohibit players from selling memorabilia.
Green is considered one of the nation's best receivers after finishing the 2009 season with 53 catches for 808 yards and six touchdowns. He was ranked the No. 4 prospect available for the 2011 NFL draft by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
Mark Schlabach covers college football for ESPN.com.