Tech, Georgia football players get sacked

From Wire Reports

ATHENS ? Nine Georgia football players were declared ineligible Wednesday by the NCAA for selling their 2002 Southeastern Conference championship rings.

The group included senior receiver Michael Johnson and cornerbacks Kenny Bailey and Bruce Thornton, junior receiver Fred Gibson and four sophomores ? defensive tackle Darrius Swain, linebacker Tony Taylor, cornerback Tim Jennings and walk-on Trey Young.

Jennings was one of five players suspended for at least two games by coach Mark Richt last month after they were arrested for marijuana possession.

Freshman nose tackle Kedric Golston, who had already been cited by the university for selling his ring, was also declared ineligible after it was discovered his Sugar Bowl jersey and SEC Championship and Sugar Bowl rings were sold on the Internet auction site eBay for $3,500, the Athens Banner-Herald reported Thursday.

The school will appeal the NCAA's ruling.

NCAA regulations do not prohibit athletes from selling rings as long as they receive no more than fair-market value. The university, which is working to recover the rings, did not say how much money the players received for the rings.

The players will be required to make restitution for the money they received from the sale of their rings.

After paying back the money they got for the rings, the players could regain their NCAA eligibility. But they would probably still face penalties handed down by Richt.

One unidentified individual, who is not a Bulldog booster, bought the rings from the players for various amounts, university compliance director Amy Chisholm said.

"It was very disappointing," Richt said. "I think as a football program and as an athletic program we have to do a better job of educating our student-athletes on the worth of achievement awards, which far transcend monetary value."