A person familiar with the investigation of the possible violations by Georgia running back Todd Gurley told the AJC on Friday that it’s a “significant” case of the sale of memorabilia and there is a possibility that Gurley may not be cleared to return to the field this season.
Unlike the case involving Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, the source says, there is evidence that wasn’t available in the Manziel case. Manziel got a half-game punishment last season to start the year.
Other sources familiar with the investigation say a determination of punishment should be made by early next week.
Georgia on Thursday suspended Gurley indefinitely following allegations the junior tailback and Heisman hopeful had violated NCAA rules regarding improper benefits for amateur athletes.
Gurley could face anywhere from a couple of games to the rest of the season, depending on the amount of money he may have made from the sale of any memorabilia.
Gurley is alleged to have received $400 to sign 80 pieces of memorabilia on the Georgia campus this past spring, according to several media reports.
Gurley, who was ruled inelligible to play by the university, did not travel with the team to Missouri, where the Bulldogs will face the Tigers Saturday at noon. Freshman running back Nick Chubb is expected to start for the Bulldogs.
The length of a suspension likely would hinge on the value of those benefits.
NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199.6 sets specific guidelines for such penalties:
1. Value of the benefit ranges from greater than $100 to $400 = withholding of 10 percent (of games) and repayment;
2. Value of the benefit ranges from greater than $400 to $700 = withholding of 20 percent (of games) and repayment;
3. Value of benefit ranges greater than $700 = withholding of 30 percent (of games) and repayment.
Barring other circumstances that might add to the penalty, the guidelines indicate a suspension would range from one to four games if a player receives benefits worth more than $100. But a “substantial” case might be cause for further penalty.
AJC staff writers Danny Robbins and Tim Tucker contributed to this report.