UGA reports minor NCAA violation by Richt to SEC

Georgia football reported two minor NCAA violations to the SEC last month. So far neither has resulted in any penalties for the program.

In the first instance, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt on Dec. 5 reported a violation of an NCAA bylaw regarding electronic transmissions. In a letter to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, athletic director Greg McGarity explained that Richt on Dec. 5 inadvertently texted a “good luck” message to a recruiting prospect, which is impermissible. McGarity reported that Richt intended to send the message to the prospect privately via Twitter, which is permissible.

Since the violation was inadvertent and resulted in no recruiting advantage (because contact via Twitter is allowed), Georgia has asked the SEC to waive the prescribed penalties, which include no telephone contact with prospects for 14 days and no electronic transmissions with the involved prospect for 30 days.

In late November, a football-office staff member posted on the Georgia Football Facebook page a postcard-like image of stadium lights with a message that read, “LET THE PLAYOFFS BEGIN.” It included Georgia’s “power G” logo and the GHSA logo for the Georgia High School Association and was signed “Best of Luck, Mark Richt.” That was an apparent violation of an NCAA bylaw preventing schools from “endorsing or promoting an event involving prospects.” The UGA compliance office removed the post immediately upon being notified of its existence, and the football staff was educated on the rules.

Both violations are considered Level IV violations — the least severe in the NCAA’s four-tiered compliance system — and were reported to the SEC on Dec. 12. As of Thursday, Georgia had not received a response from the SEC.

“People need to understand that violations such as these mean the system’s working,” McGarity said. “The rulebook is so complex. But when our individuals realize they’ve made a mistake, we report it. You don’t want to be back-logged with minor issues, but it’s healthy when you have them because it means people are aware they’ve made a mistake. If you have no violations reported over a period of time that probably sends a red flag. Nobody’s perfect, and there are a lot of moving pieces.”

The letters to the SEC were among documents turned over to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in response to a recent open-records request.

Volleyball coaches rewarded: One of Georgia's better volleyball seasons in years has resulted in raises for third-year coach Lizzy Stemke and her top assistant.

The Lady Bulldogs were 22-10 and earned their first NCAA tournament bid in 10 years this past season. As a result, UGA rewarded Stemke with a $20,000 salary increase to $150,000 per year. Also, assistant coach Joshua Lauer was promoted to associate head coach Wednesday and received a $10,000 raise to $70,000.

“Lizzy’s doing a great job, and she and her staff deserved to be rewarded for getting us back to the (NCAA) tournament,” McGarity said.

It was the first time since 2002 that Georgia has broken through the 20-win barrier, and the 22 victories were the most since 1994.

Record-setting academics: The Bulldogs' 545 scholarship and walk-on athletes combined to record a cumulative GPA of 3.01 on a 4.0 scale for the fall semester. It was the first time they were over 3.0 as a group in the fall.

Women’s swimming and diving turned in the highest GPA as a team at 3.40, while tennis recorded the highest GPA on the men’s side at 3.18.