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A. J. Green Out for Four Games

The Georgia Bulldogs got some bad news today: it appears that star receiver A.J. Green is out for both our upcoming game and a few more. Green apparently sold his Independence Bowl jersey for a cool $1000 to an agent. That seems like a small crime for such a stiff penalty to me. At the same time you can see how the NCAA might interpret the act as a clear intent to profit off amateur status, but, still--I would imagine the NCAA has given weaker punishments for worse before. The NCAA's official ruling is as follows:

University of Georgia football student-athlete A.J. Green must miss four games as a condition of becoming eligible to play again, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff.

The university declared the student-athlete ineligible for violations of NCAA agent benefits rules. According to the facts of the case submitted by Georgia, the student-athlete sold his Independence Bowl game jersey to an individual who meets the NCAA definition of an agent. Green has repaid the $1,000 value of benefits to charity.

During the reinstatement process, the NCAA staff reviews each case on its own merits based on the specific facts. Staff decisions are made based on a number of factors including guidelines established by the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, the student-athlete¹s responsibility for the violation, as well as any mitigating factors presented by the university.

The university can appeal the decision to the Division I NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, an independent committee comprised of representatives from NCAA member colleges, universities and athletic conferences. This committee can reduce or remove the condition, but it cannot increase the staff-imposed conditions. If appealed, the student-athlete remains ineligible until the conclusion of the appeals process.

What I get from that is that (1) Green's involvement with an agent and the fact that he very clearly acted of his own volition really hurt him and that (2) the NCAA marches to its own drum and is proud of it. (2) is the main thing that comes out to me.

At any rate, Carolina definitely benefits from this. I don't think that Green is the key figure in this game, which I think will be won in the trenches. However, Green is clearly a weapon Aaron Murray could use to help him out if we're able to force the game out of Georgia's RB's hands. Green's absence will give Ellis Johnson a bit more of a carte blanche to play the run and to blitz Murray when he throws. This is all to say that if Georgia can run the ball, they'll still likely win, barring a phenomenal offensive performance from our guys. It's also to say, though, that if Georgia can't run, their doom is likely all the more sealed.