So much of the college football "landscape," when viewed as a landscape should be - in a broad, generally unspecific manner - is purported to be a wasteland of dirty boosters, mercenary five-star recruits commanding top dollar and coaches employing the business practices of a La Cosa Nostra underboss to preserve their fragile empires of success.
We're not arguing that perception - our most beloved sport is surely soaked with in the grease of a Louisiana kickback brunch. But among every Kingfish are a few bumbling do-gooders in the cast, and the latest tale of Mark Richt's alleged altruism deserves to give college football's bad name five minutes of "Andy Griffith" quality wholesomeness.
Bear witness to Georgia's latest self-reported "recruiting violations" (sans Nissan 350z), courtesy of the AJC, and try and crank your outrage meter past "meh:"
Richt accidentally sent two text messages from his Blackberry to the father of football prospect Jordan Jenkins of Harris County on May 26th (text messages to prospects or their family members are impermissible per NCAA rules until one day after a prospect has signed a national letter of intent with the school).
SCANDAL. It's always the least likely, isn't it? An internal combustion of stress, outside pressures and the dirty fringe a modern coach must sit on to bring in big time talent. Woe, the cautionary tale...
In the first instance, Richt received a text from Ron Jenkins asking for camp dates. Since Richt did not have the number programmed in his phone, the text was identified as "unknown." Richt intended to forward the text to a recruiting assistant for identification but accidentally replied to Mr. Jenkins, which was a violation NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199.
Oh. Well... We suppose there's certainly such a thing as user error. Harmless enough on its own.
Richt immediately reported the inadvertent violation to compliance director Eric Baumgartner, who subsequently asked if Mr. Jenkins had replied. In an attempt to forward Mr. Jenkins’ response to Baumgartner, Richt accidently replied to Mr. Jenkins again, hence he had to report another text violation.
JANE! STOP THIS CRAZY THING. Can't a program as well-funded as Georgia's invest in the right kind of resources to better assist its coaching staff?
The moral of this story? That the NCAA's classification of "violations" is, much like the perception of college football, confusingly broad and lacking reasonable definition. And, that in the moments that Georgia self-reported such nonsense and the NCAA ruled on it, 250 billable-hourly lawyers got their wings.