Mark Richt Broke NCAA Rules By Being Decent

Mark Richt, head football coach of the University of Georgia Bulldogs, inadvertantly broke NCAA rules by paying coaches and other employees extra money out of his own pocket.

Mark Richt, head football coach of the University of Georgia Bulldogs, inadvertantly broke NCAA rules by paying coaches and other employees extra money out of his own pocket.

ESPN’s Georgia Bulldogs Football blog (“Report: Georgia hit with minor violations“):

Believing members of his football staff weren’t being compensated satisfactorily, Georgia coach Mark Richt unknowingly violated NCAA rules by paying them out of his own pocket.

Richt’s payments to several staffers were among a series of secondary NCAA violations uncovered by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a standard open records report released Tuesday.

According to the AJC report, Richt’s actions broke NCAA rules on supplemental pay. But discipline was limited to letters of admonishment from the school to Richt and those he made payments to, as well as additional rules education, the report said.


Georgia’s investigation into the matter determined that Richt made several impermissible payments:

• To former recruiting assistant Charlie Cantor, $10,842 over an 11-month period through March 2011.

• To former linebackers coach John Jancek, $10,000 in 2009 after the previous university administration declined to give Jancek a raise when he turned down a coaching opportunity elsewhere.

• To director of player development John Eason, $6,150 in 2010 when his new administrative position called for a salary reduction after he stepped down from an assistant coaching position on Richt’s staff.

Richt also paid a total of $15,227 when the school — citing “difficult economic conditions being experienced by the University” — refused bowl bonuses to 10 non-coach staff members: director of sports medicine Ron Courson, video coordinator Joe Tereshinski, strength coaches Keith Gray and Clay Walker, football operations manager Josh Brooks, high school liaison Ray Lamb and four administrative assistants.

He also paid a five-year longevity bonus of $15,337.50 due to tight ends coach Dave Johnson when he took a job at West Virginia in 2008 just short of his fifth anniversary coaching at UGA and $6,000 to fired defensive ends coach Jon Fabris in 2010 when Fabris was unable to find a job after his UGA severance package expired.

According to the AJC report, Georgia did not consider any of the payments to violate NCAA rules at the time because they were made with knowledge of the athletics administration.

I’m gratified that the NCAA has displayed the good judgment to treat these as technical violations rather than some nefarious scheme to gain a competitive advantage. But it’s a shame that a little human kindness on the part of a highly compensated head coach, rectifying obvious inequities, is against the rules. Then again, since the whole college football system relies on the services of unpaid “student athletes,” it’s not surprising.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. David says:

    For once the NCAA actually does the right thing. I agree the whole college athletics thing is messed up beyond (please insert whatever word you want here). I have no idea how to fix it, nor would I want the job to do that. But in this case, there was a rule violation, but it wasn’t intentional, provided no competitive advantage that they could find, so just a letter and a refresher course on how not to break the rules.

    Good result.

  2. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Remember boys and girls, it is a sin to do good on the sabbath. How anyone can think that this guy did something decent is beyond me, however. After all, his act of pseudo-benevolence cost each of these people the opportunity to prove that they are not users and parasites by finding someone’s back to stab so that they could get those benefits on their own,

    Oh wait, James! I’m sorry, I was thinking Doug when I wrote that last part. Never Mind!