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Sprints Is Following the Damon Evans DUI Story ... Such As It Is // 07.02.10

Happy Independence Day Weekend
We'll have a post on the day, but for those who won't be reading -- have a great 4th of July and be safe.


Damon Evans' Very, Very, Very Bad Day
My initial take on the situation. 

At least he wasn't riding a motor scooter
That's about all the fun we're going to have with this one. Again, there's just not much funny about it. (Though one could also point out that nodding off in your mug shot is probably not the most convincing evidence for court, but we'll leave it at that.)

There are a couple of parts of this that are going to draw the most attention in the next few days: Evans refused a breathalyzer test, meaning we don't know exactly how drunk he was. (That shouldn't matter, but I'm being realistic here.) And, of course, everyone is going to want to know about the woman. Look her up on LinkedIn, because that's about all anyone's going to get.

A passenger in Evans' 2009 BMW, 28-year-old Courtney Fuhrmann, of Atlanta, was also arrested for disorderly conduct. Evans described her as "just a friend."

"I'm not talking to any reporters," Fuhrmann told the AJC Thursday from her Buckhead apartment. According to her LinkedIn page, Fuhrmann is an asset manager for an Atlanta real estate firm. She graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2005 with a degree in journalism.

Does his relationship with the woman matter to whether he should keep his job? It varies from person to person, I suppose. If it were me, I'd be very reluctant to support someone allegedly caught driving drunk with a woman not his wife in the car at my school. But Georgia is not my school. If the woman is more than a "friend," it might be a problem. And that's as far as I'll go down that line of speculation out of respect for Evans' family.

Evans' statement

I do feel like my actions have put a black cloud over our storied program – one of which I never thought in my years here at the University of Georgia, that I would bring such shame to this magnificent institution. I’ve got a lot of soul searching, a lot of thinking to do, and I’ve got to take a step back and pause and say, Damon, you’ve got to get back on track. You’ve got to set an example. You’ve got to be the leader that you talk about being. You’ve got to be the role model for the student-athletes that come through this institution that you say you are. Last night, I was not that.

And here are a few interesting bits from the Q&A:

Q: What was your relationship to the passenger in the vehicle?

"Just a friend." ...

Q: Does the woman who was arrested with you have any affiliation with the athletics department at Georgia?

"No. No." ...

The unasked follow-up -- and in fairness to the reporters in the room, it was probably unasked because it would have gone unanswered -- is "Who is she?" Not in the name sense, but how does he know her and what was she doing in his car. If Evans thinks those questions aren't going to be answered at some time by someone, he's wrong. And it would be a lot better if he told the story than someone else.

Q: So you do not have any plans to resign?

"No. I should rephrase that this way: I have a lot of things on my mind, and when you’re in a situation like this, you contemplate. I want to be at the University of Georgia as I stated earlier. But I made a serious mistake, and I’m not taking that lightly, nor should anyone in this room take that lightly, nor should the president of this institution take that lightly. However that’s dealt with, as some might say, I’ve just got to accept it. I’ve made my bed, and now I have to lay in it."

I could be reading way too much into this, but it seems to me that's he leaving the slightest possibility that he might resign. He might not do so willingly -- thus the "however that's dealt with ... I've just got to accept it" -- but he's not ruling it out, either.

Michael Adams' statement
We touched on this some in the earlier post on Evans, but if I were Evans or one of his supporters, this is what might bother me: Adams had a chance today to make it clear that Evans would keep his job. He didn't take it. That could be because he wants to investigate things further, but that means (a) he might not take Evans' denial at face value and (b) firing Evans is at least on the table. And a "full review by ... legal counsel" might be an investigation of the incident -- but is just as likely a discussion about what can and can't be done under Evans' contract.

The Mayor: I need more
As usual with all things Georgia, Kyle blows everything else written on this out of the water. His take is heartfelt, eloquent and as ambiguous as the situation itself.

Is this the first time this happened, or is it the first time he got caught? Who is this female "friend," and what was he doing in a car with her at midnight on a school night, miles away from his home? Where was he coming from, and where was he---where were they---going? I keep wondering why he didn’t call a cab. I keep wondering why he didn’t call a friend. Hell, if he’d called me, I’d have gone and gotten him, and you probably would have, too. I keep trying to come up with some explanation for why he didn’t call a cab or a colleague to come get him. I keep coming up with unsatisfactory explanations. I hope my impressions and assumptions are mistaken. The only man who can correct my mistaken impressions and assumptions gave a press conference today at which he declined to address any matter more substantive than his perceived need to offer me an amorphous apology for misjudgments he would not define with particularity.

Perhaps it is necessary to his legal case to keep these details from us, but, if he is asking Bulldog Nation to forgive him, it is not unreasonable for us to ask: "For what, precisely?"

Perhaps a reminder to us all to be a bit more careful about trying to figure out where this will go when we don't have a clear picture on where it's already been. Go read. It's good stuff.

Hale's take
There are a few things that stand out. Some of them are, intentionally or not, funny. This part is not.

Honestly, I don't know, but I will say that virtually every source I talked to before the news conference thought he would offer his resignation. The fact that Michael Adams is on vacation may delay any sort of decision, too. But the truth is... this is going to be very, very hard for Evans to overcome at Georgia. Which isn't to say it can't be done.

Again, it's all public reaction now. If the right people think Evans should go, he'll probably be gone. If they think he should stay, and Adams perceives that to be in his best interest, Evans will stay. Or ...

Perhaps a good compromise on the situation was offered by Fletcher Page, who suggested Damon spend a year as athletics director at Georgia Military College, then be invited back to UGA.

Ah, there you have it. The SEC solution to every PR problem.


The SEC hates Alabama, Part I
The great bye-week controversy has been resolved in what might be the only logical way: The entire conference schedule will not be reshuffled two months before the season to help one team.

"Once you start to move one game, it becomes a domino effect of having to move five or six games around," said Womack, who added of Alabama, "I'm sure they were hopeful we could have found some resolution to some of those other games, but also probably understanding of the difficulty of trying to move a number of games on short notice."

You haven't met many Alabama fans, have you?

Yes, it's all about the safety of our chances of winning players
Alabama has moved back its game with Georgia State to Thursday because of fears that playing Georgia State will just leave players too spent to play well against Auburn six days later. Oh, and because somebody might get hurt.

"We have a number of scheduling challenges this year in football and this was the best way for us to deal with one of those," UA athletics director Mal Moore said in a statement. "We explored all options available to us, with our players' health and safety in mind."

Yes, safety. That's why this move was made. It makes a lot better sense that what some fans and beat writers are saying: That a short week after playing juggernaut Tennessee-Chattanooga last year might have contributed to the team's slow start the following week against Auburn.

Not that Alabama is being hypocritical about it
In fact, Poseur has news on the Tide making good on the principle.

The SEC hates Alabama, Part II
How many national championships does the league recognize for Alabama? Eight. (In fairness, only 10 of the championships the school claims are from the SEC era.) (HT: Tate)

This is interesting. Maybe
Kentucky just let go of a coach -- right before a holiday weekend, no less. Which could mean something or could just be an odd coincidence.

The school announced on Thursday that assistant head coach Steve Ortmayer was no longer on staff. No reason was given for Ortmayer's departure, but UK said it was a decision made by head coach Joker Phillips. Ortmayer couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Stay tuned.

Illinois' Greg Nord might replace him
I'm not sure that I'm willing to bet anything on what's being reported right now -- some of the thinnest sourcing you'll find. But the reports are there.

We will not give up on a player who has shown no interest!
This seems like a good enough reason to completely write off the Jeremiah Masoli to Mississippi State rumors if you hadn't already.

"I’m not sure why that was reported," Masoli’s mother, Linda said, when reached at her San Francisco-area home.

Of course, Veazey follows that up with the equivalent of "So you're saying there's a chance?" But this one looks dead for now.

Stewart Mandel makes a good point
I know, I know. But he highlights a way in which a playoff might decrease interest in the regular season in a way I never really thought about.

Which means, even with a 16-team playoff, roughly 85 percent of the country will be disappointed every season. And if you happen to be a fan of a team that perennially misses the playoff -- which, within some BCS conferences, might be eight out of 12 teams -- it stands to reason that your interest in the sport would wane.

Which means that there are a lot of lower-tier schools in the BCS leagues that could actually fare worse under a playoff than they do with the current system, when a six- or seven-win season can get you into the postseason and mark very real progress.

Those Cinderellas, though, must be ignored because they don't fit into some playoff supporters' predetermined conclusion. (HT: Blutarsky)