Georgia coach does not expect Gurley to play this week
ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia star tailback Todd Gurley’s alleged rules violations were discussed on Thursday in a meeting between top school officials and NCAA eligibility staff.
Following the meeting in Indianapolis, University of Georgia president Jere Morehead said in a statement "There is no new news at this time and no further comment is necessary."
Coach Mark Richt said early Thursday on his Twitter feed he expects Gurley’s indefinite suspension to continue for No. 10 Georgia’s game at Arkansas on Saturday.
Aware there has been much speculation about Gurley’s availability this week, Richt used social media to "try to clear up Todd’s status."
Added Richt: "We will let you know if his status changes. Not anticipating it to change this week."
Richt’s update came one week after Gurley’s suspension was announced as Georgia began investigating allegations of rules violations.
The school has not released details of the investigation. Richt has said it involves autographs and memorabilia. Gurley’s suspension apparently will continue until the NCAA either accepts Georgia’s self-imposed suspension or announces a longer suspension and possibly additional penalties.
Morehead said he and athletic director Greg McGarity met with NCAA eligibility staff in Indianapolis "regarding the ongoing matter involving Todd Gurley."
Morehead, McGarity and other Georgia officials were in Indianapolis to meet with the NCAA’s infractions committee about swimming coach Jack Bauerle. Bauerle was suspended indefinitely in April after the NCAA found two major rules violations resulting from his involvement in star Chase Kalisz’s academic eligibility.
Gurley was regarded as a leading Heisman Trophy candidate before he was held out of last week’s 34-0 win at Missouri. He has continued to practice with the team.
Georgia also is expected to be without injured tailbacks Keith Marshall (sprained ankle, sprained knee) and Sony Michel (shoulder). Richt said Wednesday Marshall is "doubtful for this game, at best." Richt said he hopes Michel can return for the Nov. 1 game against Florida.
Freshman Nick Chubb started against Missouri and ran for 143 yards with a touchdown on 38 carries, the most for any Georgia player since 2001.
"I think Chubb’s performance gave everybody confidence that he could carry the load and then some," Richt said.
Brendan Douglas played behind Chubb and had 13 carries for 65 yards, including a touchdown run.
Georgia moved J.J. Green from strong safety to tailback this week. Richt said he thinks Green "could help us in a pinch." Green was the team’s second-leading rusher in 2013.
Richt has prepared all week to be without Gurley.
"You prepare like he won’t be there, and if he is it’s a bonus," Richt said, adding Gurley’s suspension hasn’t been a distraction.
"You just focus on the game and focus on the game plan," Richt said. "Our guys are just practicing away. They’re giving good effort and they’re doing a good job."
Quarterback Hutson Mason said players were motivated against Missouri to prove Georgia is not a one-man team.
"We had a chip on our shoulder as far as we don’t have Todd and everyone thinks that the world is falling apart," Mason said.
Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) played perhaps its most complete game of the season against Missouri but ultimately could see its SEC championship hopes damaged if Gurley does not return for important games in November against Florida, Kentucky and Auburn.
Despite missing the Missouri game, Gurley leads the SEC with 773 yards rushing. He had 1,385 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns in 2013.
Gurley opened this season with 198 yards rushing and three touchdowns in a win over Clemson. He added 208 yards rushing with two touchdowns against Tennessee and 163 yards with two touchdowns in his last game against Vanderbilt.