The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets held a press conference Thursday afternoon in response to the NCAA's decision to hit the football program with a vacation of the 2009 ACC title and a four-year probation, along with some basketball stuff. Basketball stuff!
President Bud Peterson was the first behind the microphone, reading a statement very similar to the one posted on Tech's website earlier in the day. Peterson emphasized that Tech's decision to "certify the eligibility" of the former football player who received $312 worth of improper benefits. Later, Peterson said that if they had to do it all over again, they probably would have declared the player ineligible, knowing what they know now.
(Also later, Dan Radakovich confirmed former Tech QB Calvin Booker is the alleged agent's runner who's now barred from campus. He described the decision as "erring on the side of caution.")
Peterson said Tech established an investigative committee in December 2010 after receiving the NCAA's notice, listing its members, which included various professors and non-football personnel. That committee deemed the player eligible. He admits the school could've been more aggressive in its investigation, but "given the information" that it had at the time, he says it "acted in good faith."
He outlined a restructuring of Tech's compliance system before turning the attention over to athletic director Radakovich, who later said that the exit of two compliance officers in the past several months had nothing to do with the investigation.
Radakovich said he should've contacted the NCAA in advance of speaking with football coach Paul Johnson about the investigation, denying the school ever tried to interfere with the course of events. He said Johnson would've needed to know about the investigation in case the player asked him why the school's compliance department was looking into the matter, and that Johnson would've been unprepared for that conversation.
(Johnson earned a $200,000 contract bonus for winning the 2009 ACC title -- that won't be affected by the NCAA's findings.)
He said Tech legal counsel met with NCAA reps, stating the allegedly ineligible player's impermissible benefits had come from a family member. Multiple times, Radakovich said the school disagrees with the NCAA's decision and thinks the violations were secondary, but says it is moving forward.
"This is not a good day for Georgia Tech," Radakovich said, apologizing to football players for the vacation of the 2009 ACC title and the institution as a whole.
Virtually nothing was said about the four-year probation the school faces. That vacated 2009 ACC championship seems to be the hardest-felt punishment the NCAA handed down.