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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

From Columbus, some more insight on the Jarvis Jones situation

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity provided an update Monday night on the Jarvis Jones investigation, saying the school had been doing its due diligence and was hoping to have a report to turn into the SEC (and perhaps NCAA) by the end of this week.

How much jeopardy Jones is in remains an open question. And even if UGA's internal investigation satisfies itself and the SEC, the NCAA may have additional questions.

So for a bit of background and insight, I now bring in Chris White, a reporter for the Ledger-Enquirer. Chris has been the lead preps writer at the Ledger-Enquirer for several years now. In addition to those duties, he covers other miscellaneous events in Columbus, including a lot of games hosted or put on in conjunction with the parks and rec department. It was through working at those events that he dealt with former parks and rec director Tony Adams, and wrote several stories on Jones while he was at USC and when he returned to Columbus during breaks.

Emerson: Chris, for those who aren't quite sure on all the details, what is the essence of what happened here with Jarvis Jones, and why could his eligibility be in jeopardy? And briefly describe how all this came to light.

White: Jones is facing the possibility that he received improper benefits, which would be a violation of NCAA rules. In short, he was given plane tickets to travel to and from Los Angeles that were paid for out of an account set up – illegally – to run a parks and rec-sponsored AAU basketball team Jones was a part of. Blurring the issue a bit is who was running the team and oversaw that account, a former parks and rec director who was also a longtime father figure to Jones. The issue came up when Ledger-Enquirer reporter and now metro editor Chuck Williams began covering an audit of the parks department. After investigations, former parks and rec director Tony Adams and East Marietta Basketball director William Fox pleading guilty to felony conspiracy to defraud charges and former parks and rec employee Herman Porter pleading guilty to misdemeanor theft charges.

Emerson: There is no dispute, presumably, that Jones was the recipient of the plane tickets. That leads to two key questions: Did Jones have enough of a pre-existing relationship with the man, whom you describe as a father-figure? And even if he is a father figure and satisfies the NCAA's definition of a pre-existing relationship, did the money come explicitly from him, or from a more general account, almost a slush fund?

White: The relationship between Jones and Adams, the former parks and rec director, goes back to at least Jones’ middle school years, as far as I know. Jones’ legal guardian was a 10-year employee of the parks and rec department when all of this became news, and so of course Adams was her supervisor and knew both of them. I haven’t been able to get a clear answer as to how Adams’ relationship with Jones began and whether it started as more of a personal mentor or strictly as a coach. But this late in the game it’s almsot a moot point arguing which came first or where the line is drawn. From my experience – and I used to deal with Adams regularly and talk to Jones whenever he was home on break – the two were very close. Wherever Adams went, I could find Jones hanging around. If I was trying to reach Jones for a story, I’d call Adams and two minutes later hear back from Jones. And seeing them interact it was clear, at least to me, that their relationship was deeper than the average coach-player relationship and more along the lines of a father-son relationship.

The issue with the source of the money definitely complicates things even further. The account was set up with an unauthorized city tax ID and in the name of the Georgia Blazers AAU program, and the outcome of the case shows it was used illegally as it funneled money away from the city and was used for some non-Blazers purposes.

So on one hand, the money for the flights came from an account set up and maintained illegally, and an athlete received benefits from an AAU coach and program, which the NCAA has cracked down on before. But on the other hand, could it be possible Jones simply assumed the plane tickets were simply the sort of favor or gift that many other athletes get from their parents, relatives or mentors and paid for legally? It seems impossible to guess all the motives of everyone involved, especially when the line between coach and father figure are so blurred.

Emerson: So let’s move on from that “known” issue and on to this: When we spoke to Georgia A.D. Greg McGarity on Monday night, he talked about being “hopeful that there wouldn’t be anything else there” other than what the Ledger-Enquirer reported, and the police report included. That’s sort of an obvious allusion to last year, when A.J. Green was eventually cleared on the original reason the NCAA wanted to interview him, but suspended once the NCAA investigation found something else. Now obviously I know you’re not privy to UGA’s inquiry into the Jones case or the police report, and you also wouldn’t want to speculate. But based on what you know, does it seem like the plane tickets would be the main/only point of jeopardy for Jones?

White: This is definitely not the only concern for Jones in terms of an NCAA investigation, and police records from the parks and rec investigation show there were withdrawals made from this account by Adams that may be tied to Jones.

From my notes on the massive amount of police reports we received from the parks and rec investigation– and I only made it through about a quarter of the files – and our coverage, there are definitely some serious concerns that have yet to even be addressed.

In fact, we’ll have a story in Wednesday’s paper detailing a couple new bits of information in the police report.

Emerson: Thanks Chris. We’ll look out for the story.

To the readers, (Seth speaking here again), here are my finishing thoughts: The key question remains whether Jones will be able to show that he received the money from someone he had a pre-existing or long-term relationship with. As Chris mentioned above, it would seem that Jones and UGA can argue that, and a relationship going back to middle school normally fits the NCAA's test.

But the source of the money could be where it gets dicey. If it wasn't Adams personally paying Jones out of his own account, and rather from a larger fund, as the police records show, there could be concerns.

But we once again have to add this qualifier: In NCAA cases, it's hazardous to make predictions, as a lot of people should have learned from the A.J. Green case last year.


tenacelvr said...

It would seem that the two issues should be separate. As far as Jones was concerned, it was a long-time friend/mentor/tather-figure who was providing the funds. Therefore the provision of the funds/tickets was legal.

Where the person got the funds is a separate item. Unless Jones was part of the conspiracy to take funds illegally from the account, I don't see where he should be held accountable. It is not his responsibility to ascertain the ultimate source of the funds used to purchase the airline tickets just that the person providing the funds was not an agent, booster, etc.

jonathan said...

Since the benefits happened while at USC shouldn't they effect his eligibility there and not at UGA?

Bob said...

I love journalists, you kill a person with innuendo. The athlete had a father figure coach that gave him money to help him out. The coach/father figure was not an agent nor was he a booster of USC or UGA. The fact that he was a crook can't be attributed to the 18 year old kid. The source of the funds is not an issue. This is only an issue because the Columbus paper and the Auburn University crew in Columbus have tried yet again to deflect attention from the SCam Newton matter. Nice try guys and a great assist to the usual "journalists".

Seth Emerson said...


The issue is the fund that paid for Jones' plane tickets (and anything else). If it was purely controlled by Adams (the father figure), then that helps Jones' case. But if it's found that the fund was controlled by more people, then that muddies the water. (And this is assuming Adams and Jones are ruled to have a pre-existing relationship.)

Seth Emerson said...


Doesn't matter that it happened while he was at USC. The issue is Jones' eligibility overall, not UGA's actions.

BuLLdawg said...

Jarvis Jones brings as much baggage into this football program reeling from all the off-season transfers out and players kicked off the team - a total of 2 dozen who would have played against Boise State and South Carolina and now will not.

Southern California already had his neck issues. Then, we moved Richard Samuel to Tailback where he can join all the others to lead the nation this season in putting the ball on the carpet and up for grabs - something this offense has not been good at recovering the fumbles. So, we take away a player we had ready to play LB and today too we announce LB Brandon Burrows who is listed at # 2 LB with Richard Samuel now gone who was listed ahead of him on the Depth Chart, all of a sudden one week away from us starting practices next Thursday that well maybe he should have had surgery a year ago, not just Redshirted.

This microcosm view of this Jarvis Jones debacle is found pervasive on both sides of the football at every position. Mismanagement of the players.

I hardly think that Georgia can afford anything here in this discussion of a Southern California recruit with a broken neck clearly with a trail of money back to here before he signed with Southern California. We have suffered in these areas, and also on this very day, we have :

3 of the Dream Team still have not been accepted academically into Georgia, when of course all the other 23 of the Dream Team have been on campus for some time now - all Summer.

It's unnecessary to point out just how pervasive this is across both sides of the football, other than to - besides LB - maybe point out RB at Georgia and how we suffer there including Carlton Thomas's suspension hidden from all of us all Spring and all Summer until Mark Richt finally admitted the SUSPENSION of TB Carlton Thomas for Boise State just this week. Does anyone really think that a discussion of UGA football 2011 will not include all these details of all these dozen players who will not play vs Boise State a month from now, us scrambling to even figure out how to get in all the practices and no indoor practice facility in case it rains 1 afternoon when we try to get them in their positions, not jerk them around position to position at the last moment yet again this season, and try to acclimate them to the hot afternoon of our games.

Can't wait to hear all the excuses the posters to this blog come up with for all this mess.

And, make no mistake about it, although he was signed by Southern California, Mark Richt wanted Jarvis Jones to be here knowing quite a bit about the baggage he carried.

BuLLdawg said...

Now, we learn he has been getting illegal benefits too.

Oh, and he has some sugar daddy giving him monies from who cares where.


Anyone want to make a running list of who we would have had to play against Boise State and South Carolina who over the course of the last year, now, will not ?

No, I didn't think so.

Trust me, I know who they all are. All of them. All 25 :

Jarvis Jones
Kent Turene
Chris Mayes
Devin Bowman
Trinton Sturdivant
Carlton Thomas
Brent Benedict
AJ Harmon
Caleb King
Washaun Ealey
Deion Bonner
Nick Williams
Marcus Dowtin
Justin Houston
Zach Mettenberger
Montez Robinson
Jalen Fields
Jeremy Longo
Logan Gray
Jonathan Owens
Ben Harden
Chris Little
Tanner Strickland
Lonnie Outlaw
Dontavius Jackson

All of these guys could have played vs Boise State and South Carolina.

This does not even include all those who are, have been, or probably will be limited due to injuries surgeries and the like such as these 11 :

Brandon Burrows
Austin Long
Dallas Lee
Chris Burnette
John Bodin
Chris Young
Justin Anderson
Dexter Morant
TJ Strickling
Derek Owens
Derrick Lott

85 scholarships and I just named 25 not playing for Boise State we know of so far who could have and who would have played but in the last year are now gone in this GREAT EXODUS. And, 11 more so far who certainly have been limited.

Oh no. We don't have any problems so we can all just sit around here and discuss Jarvis Jones, now too. Wonderful. Other programs do not have all this going on.

jonathan said...

This may be buried, but wouldn't the situation be similar to Cam at auburn now where he may be declared ineligible for a morning and then reinstated since it happened in a prior school?