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.