Georgia cuts the check, but family pays the price

 ATHENS, Ga. -- What is wrong with people?


Damon Evans threw away everything for a night on the town in Atlanta. I don't really feel too sorry for him.

I do, however, feel deeply sorry for his wife and two young children. Through no fault of their own, their world has been upended. Their family potentially shattered. Their lifestyle diminished.

All because of one man's arrogance and weakness.

At 11:15 a.m. on Monday, the University of Georgia Athletic Association's executive committee accepted Evans' resignation as athletics director. They granted him $100,000 longevity bonus for time served and three months salary ($137,500) as severance.

We'll see how much of that the disgraced ex-leader of one of the nation's best athletics programs will get to keep should his employment separation extend to his marriage.

How many times does this lesson need to be taught before someone takes notice? Evans is a sports guy and a golf fan. Did he not notice the whole Tiger Woods saga of the past six months and think -- just for a second -- about what he had to lose by not controlling himself?

Apparently not. Power and success does that to people and makes them succumb to weakness. They feel bullet proof. They think the laws of society don't apply to them. They think they can flash their name and title around and it will all go away.

Evans had the most promising future in the world in front of him. He was one of the youngest athletics directors in the country leading one on of the five most profitable collegiate programs in arguably the most powerful conference. His ticket was written.

Until just before midnight last Wednesday when he threw everything into the gutter. A Fulton County police officer noticed Evans' BMW driving erratically in Atlanta's Buckhead area and pulled him over.

If the DUI arrest was all Evans had against him, he might have survived and been given the chance to rebuild his career and reputation after what came across as a sincere public apology for his appalling behavior just hours after he was released from jail.

Unfortunately for his family, it wasn't that simple.

In the car with Evans was another woman who was not his wife. During his apology conference, Evans referred to her as "just a friend." The later reports that a pair of red panties presumably belonging to his friend were stuffed between his own legs when he was pulled over didn't jibe with his assessment of the relationship.

Worse than all that, however, was Evans and his friend's flashing around of his prominence as UGA's athletics directorship like it was some get-out-of-jail-free card. Of all the lines he crossed in this whole sordid incident, that's the one that gets you canned.

Evans had thanked university president Michael Adams for sticking by him last Thursday. But Adams, who was out of town on vacation last week, wisely said he would "reserve further action pending a full review by staff and legal counsel." The intervening days before that review took place was damning for Evans with every unflattering revelation.

On Sunday, Evans and Adams signed a separation agreement and all that was left was an official acceptance by the board. Just like that, Evans and his promising career are gone.

"This is not an example of the kind of leadership I expect our senior administrators to set," Adams reiterated Monday.

The mounting details from last Thursday's arrest made it impossible for Evans to stay. The "black cloud" he apologized for bringing to the program would have hovered over Georgia with him. His leadership clout was in shambles.

What was done needed to be done.

In the long run, this incident will have no real effect on Georgia or its athletics program. The university will hire a new AD and the big business of intercollegiate athletics at the state's flagship program will resume without so much as a hiccup. I am fairly convinced an intern could take over Evans' role and sustain Georgia's viability with a little on-the-job training from one of the best well-oiled programs in the nation.

The snickers about the titillating details of Evans' downfall will fade along with his absence.

That's not the sad part of all this. The sad part is what Evans has done to his family. He'll never get a position as comparable as his at Georgia. He's unlikely to ever again command an annual salary greater than a half million. He'll never again have the same faith and respect from his wife and children.

This is the lesson that men of similar standing as Evans have been ignoring for centuries. Anything we have can be lost in a moment of weakness and ignorance.

Evans blew it, and for what?

He got what he deserved. The real tragedy of it is that his family will forever have to pay for his shame.

University gives AD severance
Who should replace Damon Evans?
What you're saying

- Many people in prominent positions seem to get the idea that they can have it all. It won't happen folks. Life is not perfect. -- Posted by dani at 10:19 a.m. Monday

- His position was to be a leader of student athletes. His actions do not set a good example and I believe the outcome to be appropriate. I feel bad for his family and the young people he led, but it sets an example to the young people that there are consequences for lapses in judgment. -- Posted by redapples at 12:28 p.m. Monday

- Vince Dooley will be the interim director until they find someone else. -- Posted by scoopdedoop64 at 9:48 p.m. Monday

- Greg McGarity.......NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. ... If Michael Adams does not select McGarity, then Adams should be shown to the exit door. -- Posted by 55 F-100 at 6:39 a.m. Monday

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