Georgia’s A.J. Green suspended for four games
ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia star receiver A.J. Green was suspended by the NCAA for four games on Wednesday for selling a jersey for $1,000 to someone who qualifies as an agent.
Green sold his jersey from last season’s Independence Bowl. The junior, who sat out the season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, must miss three more games before regaining his eligibility, according to the ruling from the NCAA.
No. 22 Georgia plays at No. 24 South Carolina on Saturday.
The ruling comes after much speculation that Green was involved in the NCAA’s probe into improper benefits given by agents to athletes at several schools, including North Carolina.
Part of the probe was a party at Miami Beach. Green insisted he didn’t attend the party, but Wednesday’s announcement showed the NCAA was looking at other benefits received by the player.
Georgia says Green has repaid the $1,000 to a charity.
Green issued an apology to Georgia coaches, his teammates and fans “for the mistake in judgment” in a statement released by the school.
“I very much regret all that has taken place and the distraction that’s been caused,” Green said. “I’ve learned a valuable lesson and hope others can learn from my mistake. I can only focus my attention now on practicing and looking ahead to getting back with my teammates as quickly as possible.”
The 6-foot-4 Green is rated as one of the top receivers in the nation. He is projected as a possible top-five pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
Green had 53 catches for 808 yards and six touchdowns in 2009 despite missing all or part of five games due to injuries.
The loss of Green is a blow to Georgia’s hopes in the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division before the crucial game at South Carolina.
“Certainly I’m disappointed with the outcome,” coach Mark Richt said. “However, we have games to play and that’s where our focus needs to be in the coming days and weeks. Other players will have to step forward and I’m confident they will do that.”
Receiver Tavarres King, who was charged with underaged possession of alcohol this summer, served a one-game suspension against Louisiana-Lafayette and returns this week.