Sprints Investigates Georgia as the College World Series Begins // 06.27.11

COLLEGE WORLD SERIES

The basics
South Carolina vs. Florida, Game 1: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN / ESPN3. We'll be tweeting and open threading, so join us.

Potential huge blow for South Carolina in the College World Series finale
Christian Walker, probably the best offensive player in the Gamecocks' line-up, could be out. (He's supposed to be examined again today.) This is pretty close to the worst single-player injury news that South Carolina could get.

AT LEAST THEY DIDN'T SELL JERSEYS / GEORGIA ELIGIBILITY INVESTIGATION

An NCAA investigation story that started in Columbus -- no, Georgia
This is a story that gets better and better for Georgia fans as it goes on. And by better and better, I sarcastically mean worse and worse.

Columbus police interviews conducted during an investigation of the Parks and Recreation Department reveal that director Tony Adams and top lieutenant Herman Porter may have jeopardized the amateur status of two University of Georgia athletes who played on the Georgia Blazers, their city-funded, Nike-sponsored AAU basketball team.

The players in question are Jarvis Jones -- a football player with the potential to be starting outside linebacker for the Dawgs this year -- and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a basketball player.

Kentavious, who was at his father’s house in Atlanta, spoke on the phone with police officers. When they tried to set up an appointment to speak in person, he hung up the phone.

I'm sure that was because he was cooking something and it caught on fire at that exact moment. Yeah, that's a plausible excuse.

But the kicker quote -- from Manny Arora, Porter's attorney -- is perhaps the best.

"We’re on misdemeanor probation for a little while and we just want to get it over with and move on."

Definitely nothing to see here.

As Year2 pointed out during the A.J. Green kerfuffle, there are guidelines for this sort of thing. For anything above $500 in impermissible benefits -- and this is admittedly putting the cart way before the horse -- the penalty is repayment and suspension for 30 percent of your team's games. That would again be four games for a football player.

If the $280 and change is all there is for Caldwell-Pope -- and the L-E's story makes it seem with a vague reference to his cell phone number that there might be more -- that would be 10 percent of his team's games. With a basketball player, you're probably looking at three games.

UGA is looking into it
The AJC has a bit more on the Athens side of a potential investigation.

Reached Sunday, athletic association spokesman Claude Felton told the AJC, "We are aware of it and will do our due diligence in looking into the matter."

I'm sure that makes everyone feel better. (HT: SBN Atlanta StoryStream)

The Mayor is ready to give Columbus to Alabama
His rant is unforgettable, and the conclusions once he gets done with his Columbus-hatred are worth reading as well.

The potential consequences are as ominous as they are obvious. Mark Fox’s two best Bulldogs now are L.A. Clippers, and the Hoop Hounds’ hopes for avoiding a slide back to the pack after last year’s NCAA Tournament trip hinged in no small way upon the arrival of Caldwell-Pope upon the scene. ...

More worrisome still are the reports regarding Jarvis Jones, who is said to have received $828.40 in improper benefits in the form of flights between Atlanta and Los Angeles. Not only was the price tag heftier, but I previously identified Jones as a versatile rising star in the Georgia linebacker corps.

Just say "eligibility issues cropping up in the summer," and any Georgia fan is likely to have an unpleasant flashback. Whether Jones is as important to the Dawgs as A.J. Green was last year -- well, he's not.

But, still, a team that has at least a puncher's chance at the SEC East (not giving anything away before we've previewed them) needs as much of its likely starting roster as it can get. At least the damage seems largely confined to Jones.

OTHER NEWS

No hard feelings
VHT running back Corey Grant is transferring from Alabama to Auburn, but don't read anything into it.

"I don't leave Alabama with any hard feelings. I just felt like I would be a better fit at Auburn."

I'm sure the fans in Tuscaloosa feel the same way.

Russell Wilson decision coming soon
July 1 soon.

Gamecock Man on why the South Carolina-Navy game is huge
At least for Gamecock fans' morale.

After all, Navy is the author of the most infamous defeat in the history of Gamecocks football, and -- considering the number of morale-crushing defeats we've suffered over the years -- that's really saying something. Late in the 1984 season, Carolina sat at 9-0. Just off a momentous upset over a highly ranked Florida St. team, Carolina was ranked second in the country and had a chance to play for a national title if it could win out.

You can probably tell where this is headed. South Carolina lost to an unranked and should-have-been outmanned Navy. It did defeat Clemson to clinch the program's only 10-win season. Given that this is seen as the Gamecocks' best chance in a long time to get it's second 10-win season, you can see why this might be a source of concern for the Columbia faithful. And if there's a team that doesn't need constant reminder of its terrible luck, it would be South Carolina.

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