Georgia Todd Gurley celebrates the win over Vanderbilt at Sanford Stadium on Oct. 4, 2014. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

‘Gurley’ bill given final passage by Senate

Next time, don’t even think about it: Anyone who tries to pay a Georgia running back for his autograph could face jail time and a $25,000 fine under a bill given final passage Tuesday by the Senate.

House Bill 3 now heads to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.

The attempted crackdown comes after NCAA officials suspended Georgia running back Todd Gurley four games for accepting money from memorabilia dealers — a debacle that cost the Bulldogs’ star running back most of his season last year.

The bill would stiffen penalties for anyone who enters into a contract with a student-athlete if that person or company knew the transaction would jeopardize that athlete’s scholarship, eligibility or amateur standing. That includes jail time or a fine.

The state currently only makes it a misdemeanor if someone pays an athlete to attend a specific school or if an athlete is rewarded financially for performing well.

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