GREENSBORO — If there is a crackdown on fast cars and law-breaking within the Georgia football program, there is no way of knowing.
Coach Kirby Smart has remained silent on the situation since answering questions in March about a double-fatality accident that occurred in January. Since then, four football players have been arrested – not just ticketed – for reckless driving and speeding. The latest infraction occurred this week when senior wide receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint was taken to jail after he was clocked driving 90 in a 45-mph zone in his 2020 Dodge Charger.
Since mid-February, linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson, defensive lineman Jalen Carter and wide receiver De’Nylon Morrissette found themselves incarcerated on similar charges. Morrissette, a 19-year-old sophomore from Stone Mountain, also was charged with driving under the influence.
On Thursday, UGA President Jere Morehead and Athletic Director Josh Brooks found themselves having to answer questions about the negative trend.
“Well, you know, we obviously want our student-athletes to obey the law and to follow the rules and regulations, as we want all our students at the university to do,” Morehead said after chairing UGA’s end-of-year athletic board meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds on Lake Oconee. “But there are going to be growing pains with young people. So, I’m confident coach Smart will continue to address those issues as they arise.”
Brooks was asked if his department is addressing urgently the situation in light of multiple arrests in a three-month span.
“Just like you would as a parent, you want to look at every lever you can pull,” Brooks said. “There’s obviously disciplinary measures; there’s educational measures. We’re going to look to intensify all of those efforts. I don’t think it’s just one thing you do. There’s discipline, there’s education, and I think there’s no shortage of things we’re going to keep doing to rectify this problem.”
In March, Smart said that the Bulldogs vigorously educate players on the dangers of driving fast and recklessly. He also said that offenders are being disciplined.
However, as has been his policy, Smart never shares publicly what his disciplinary measures are. Morehead was asked if more of that should be in the light.
“I know that coach Smart is addressing it, but I leave it up to him to determine what he wants to say publicly or not say publicly,” Morehead said. “I trust his judgment in that regard.”
Brooks and Morehead have said before they are confident in the department’s policy and procedures and don’t believe any need to be modified.
Brooks, who is entering his third year as the Bulldogs’ athletic director, was awarded a six-year contract extension and $300,000-a-year raise Thursday at the board meeting. Brooks’ leadership through “trying times” was part of the reason for that, according to Morehead.
“I think he’s been very mature, steady, thoughtful,” Morehead said of Brooks. “We’ve had a great relationship through that process of discussing our response. You obviously never want to go through a situation of that nature but, when you go through it, you want to be working with someone who you have great confidence in making good decisions.”