Arrests mar Georgia's first day of spring practice

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ATHENS, Ga. — Off-field trouble involving Georgia football players overshadowed what should have been an upbeat start of spring practices Tuesday.

Georgia's Tray Matthews (left) was one of four players arrested Monday night on a charge of theft by deception for allegedly twice cashing university-issued checks.  TODD BENNETT/FILE
TODD BENNETT/FILE
Georgia's Tray Matthews (left) was one of four players arrested Monday night on a charge of theft by deception for allegedly twice cashing university-issued checks.

On the same day new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt worked on the field with his players for the first time following his January hire from Florida State, the arrests of four players Monday night became the focal point.

Sophomore safety Tray Matthews, a starter for six games last season, redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor, junior defensive end James DeLoach and redshirt freshman wide receiver Uriah LeMay were each charged with multiple counts of theft by deception for their involvement in twice cashing university-issued checks

They were released on bonds from the Clarke County Jail late Monday and on the practice field late Tuesday afternoon.

“Obviously, we had some guys do some things that were foolish and they’ll be consequences for that,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said Tuesday night after practice. “I’m not ready to talk about that at this moment.”

University of Georgia police allege 11 student tuition checks were drawn from UGA Athletic Association accounts and cashed twice, according to a police incident report. The players were “basically double-dipping,” by receiving the funds twice, in the words of university police chief Jimmy Williamson.

The checks were each in the amount of $71.50 and the total loss is valued at $786.50.

All charges are misdemeanors since they are of less than $500 value.

Matthews is facing three counts. Taylor and DeLoach are facing two counts each and LeMay is facing four.

Matthews, Taylor and DeLoach are alleged to have electronically deposited the checks through a mobile banking app into three different Wells Fargo accounts and then cashed the same paper check at an unknown local convenience store with an account at SunTrust bank, the report said.

LeMay’s roommate, also a Georgia athlete, initially cashed four checks electronically and then discarded them. LeMay is alleged to have taken the cash that was trashed and presented it for cash or deposit through a Wells Fargo account.

Richt didn’t rule out any player dismissals despite the players practicing.

“I would just say there’s always a process that I go through before I make a decision,” he said. “Sometimes it happens rapidly and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not going to say anything other than if there’s something I need to report to everybody, I will.”

A Georgia assistant athletic director who works in finance met with UGA police on March 3 to report the checks cashed twice and police began to investigate. Warrants were issued for the arrests of the players on Monday and a Clarke County Magistrate Court judge signed the warrant.

“We normally don’t take out warrants on students during spring break because we’re afraid they may get stopped,” Williamson said. “I don’t want one of them to get stopped for some traffic violation and then that county lock them up. We would do that for all students.”

The UGA finance and administration accounts payable and UGA Athletic Association accounts payable department noticed the same numbers were appearing twice, Williamson said.

Williamson already got an email Tuesday morning from someone wondering why UGA athletics would turn in their own players.

He said UGA athletics reported the case “because it’s a fraud issue so they have to account for any type of money. From an accounting standpoint, they get audited every year. And No. 2, it’s a compliance issue, there are athletes that received double funding and they want to make sure people know it wasn’t them giving double. They’re almost obligated to report whether they wanted to or not. I’m not saying they didn’t want to.”

UGA athletic officials other than Richt declined to comment about the case.

Matthews was a top candidate to start at safety, where the Bulldogs already lost dismissed starter Josh Harvey-Clemons last month after he was suspended twice and was in violation of Georgia’s marijuana policy.

Matthews had 36 tackles, one interception and a forced fumble last season.

The other players were backups looking to earn increased playing time this spring.

“These guys are not going to be perfect,” Richt said. “I know that. If they do something that needs discipline, we’re going to give it. We’re going to do that. If it causes a guy not to be at Georgia, then that’s what will happen.”

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Riverman1
79458
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Riverman1 03/18/14 - 07:13 am
7
1
Clemson is going to leave 4

Clemson is going to leave 4 players at home for THE game. UGA is just trying to return the favor. I wonder what they did?

geecheeriverman
1639
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geecheeriverman 03/18/14 - 07:14 am
14
4
Recruiting

Keep recruiting from the hood (ghetto) and you keep getting this type of people. They are raised in this environment and most of them can not, or will not, change. College football is full of these types.

d1zmljqg
874
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d1zmljqg 03/18/14 - 07:33 am
4
1
I'll bet Auburn is estatic

An SEC championship becomes more competitive. Oh well, as the old saying goes, "Wait 'til next year."

KSL
121839
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KSL 03/18/14 - 08:14 am
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5
geechee

That is exactly the thing that has bothered me about Mark. He seems like a good coach. But the arrest record of UGA players has escalated while he has been there. Yes, I know, all schools are getting a little bit of that just because of the deterioration of our society, unfortunately. But GA used to have fewer incidents than other schools.

justthefacts
20376
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justthefacts 03/18/14 - 08:22 am
7
7
Mark?

First name basis now? Yeesh. Everyone of those players were recruited by the every school in the South. You don't think "Steve" recruited Matthews? Of course, if he had gone to South Carolina, "Steve" would have just chuckled and said boys will be boys.

KSL
121839
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KSL 03/18/14 - 08:21 am
5
7
Listen up, UGA fans.

The hated Coach Spurrier has stated he likes playing UGA early because they usually have suspended players early in the season.

JustSpeakingMyMind
185
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JustSpeakingMyMind 03/18/14 - 08:28 am
6
4
Criminals

Guy's I am sorry, I love Mark Richt and believe he is one of the top coaches in the SEC. With that said he has discipline issues and if he can't fix it, he needs to get someone in there who can!

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7054
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 03/18/14 - 08:30 am
5
5
Cancel the Free Ride

Take away the free ride and make them pay for any classes or benefits that they have received. That will stop this from happening.

KSL
121839
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KSL 03/18/14 - 08:33 am
3
5
And maybe the discipline

And maybe the discipline might have been better, jtf, had he gone to USC. Then maybe not, depending on the individual. My point is that UGA seems to be suffering at a greater extent from miscreant behavior now, when in the past it was not a problem, like it was at other schools.

KSL
121839
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KSL 03/18/14 - 08:35 am
2
5
Don't get your dog hair so

Don't get your dog hair so fluffed up.

GiantsAllDay
9063
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GiantsAllDay 03/18/14 - 08:42 am
6
6
They should just go ahead and

They should just go ahead and pay these athletes and make them employees of the school, the same way Mark is an employee of the school. Take the cost of educating them and compare it the revenue they generate. UGA, NCAA and the SEC are ones who should be charged with theft by deception.

justthefacts
20376
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justthefacts 03/18/14 - 08:43 am
5
6
Discipline might have been better???

How many times was Garcia suspended for the 6 drunk driving charges? Clowney caught speeding twice. Once doing 110 mph. Suspended?? Oh heck no, Steve said he must have been "late for something, yuck yuck." 4 players stopped for drunk driving last year. The backup QB, Tanner McEvoy, drunk driving..........all no suspensions.

justthefacts
20376
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justthefacts 03/18/14 - 08:45 am
1
9
"theft by deception."

Who is being deceived? Keep your day job.

KSL
121839
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KSL 03/18/14 - 10:19 am
4
7
You seem to be a reasonable

You seem to be a reasonable person , except when it comes to your dogs,. Did you play for UGA?

My husband was a baseball player ay GT, one son a football player at USC. How much effort did you put out for UGA?

Airman
3498
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Airman 03/18/14 - 09:18 am
5
2
Charges: Theft by Deception

They would receive their stipend checks and deposit them on line through their smart phones, then go to a store/check cashing facility and cash the check. I guess since they used a smart phone they thought they could out smart the system

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 03/18/14 - 09:24 am
4
10
Not Guilty Yet

The only thing criminal so far is the posting by some that seems to suggest these young black men are guilty because they come from the hood/getto. I can assure you I have seen worst coming from the nice big houses in the gated community. I guess that person in CC who seems to have gotten away with stealing hundreds of dollars from the county recently is better/looked at differently because she is white, and come from big house in CC. The sad thing is the folks on here commenting negatively about these young black men are no better themselves. So easy to sit behind a computer screen and promote your small minded views about things/people you have no clue about. Please, go get a real job.

nocnoc
38526
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nocnoc 03/18/14 - 09:27 am
5
1
This is NEWS?

This could be a Boilerplate article with just the names and date and location left blank.

KSL
121839
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KSL 03/18/14 - 10:16 am
1
6
JTF

You are absolutely too corrupted by your UGA loyalty. When my son was at USC, he had a phrase he would say: Gamecocks in the news." At that time, UGA seemed to not have anyone in the news, or they had a good way of keeping their crimes out of the news.

Sweet son
9710
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Sweet son 03/18/14 - 11:30 am
4
0
edcushman
7930
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edcushman 03/18/14 - 11:51 am
4
4
"The hated Coach Spurrier has
Unpublished

"The hated Coach Spurrier has stated he likes playing UGA early because they usually have suspended players early in the season."
Spurrier does not have enough morals to suspend players that break the rules. Clowney is a good example he should have been suspended for the bowl game. Clowney should have been charged with reckless driving.

daphne3520
950
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daphne3520 03/18/14 - 11:53 am
0
0
edcushman
7930
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edcushman 03/18/14 - 11:56 am
5
5
"The sad thing is the folks
Unpublished

"The sad thing is the folks on here commenting negatively about these young black men are no better themselves."
Young black men commit most of the crimes. Fix the problem instead complaining about people that point it out. The Great Society, democrats, liberals and black leaders have created this mess.

Marinerman1
4282
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Marinerman1 03/18/14 - 12:19 pm
4
0
Let's Just Call It Like It Is

For the most part, these guys are recruited for one thing -- they can play football, or basketball. White or black,it really does not make a lot of difference. Admittedly, they do possess a talent. A talent that MAY get them a pro job. Maybe. Otherwise, for the most part, most will never graduate with a degree. They are recruited for the benefit of the Alumni Association, and are treated like a commodity. While they may be on a full-boat scholarship, they are not paid. And so easy money rears its ugly head. Between practice and enough studying to maintain eligibility, leaves no time for a job. It is a vicious problem. It's sad.

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 03/18/14 - 12:34 pm
2
4
"edcushman" the young black

"edcushman" the young black men get caught for committing crimes a lot more than others, not that others are committing just as many. If you want to talk committing crimes, who is most likely to blow up a building, walk into a building and start killing folks just because? Surely not a black men.

ymnbde
9189
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ymnbde 03/18/14 - 12:58 pm
4
1
oh, running man

very few college football players go pro
most of them are used by the ncaa, not educated, then just cast aside
they should be paid a couple of hundred dollars a month
it's only fair
oh, and running man
young black males are 3% of the population
and commit over 50% of violent crimes
since you're on your soapbox today
you're spouting nonsense

YeCats
10044
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YeCats 03/18/14 - 01:36 pm
0
2
The

reason they got caught, is because they play NCAA football.

Not dismissing the alledged crime, in the "hood", this would be a simply bench warrant, not worthy enough to even get a door knock.

I hope we punish them, and keep them.

Just My Opinion
5271
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Just My Opinion 03/18/14 - 01:51 pm
3
0
Alot has already been said,

Alot has already been said, so no point in me joining in on that. However, someone mentioned that paying the players would've taken care of this incident. I disagree! This behavior is inherent and would still go on DESPITE being paid!

chapen71
79
Points
chapen71 03/18/14 - 04:33 pm
1
2
Sad thing

These young men are only human beings no more no less and what they do is because of that fact

Darby
23604
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Darby 03/18/14 - 04:40 pm
5
0
"With that said he has discipline issues and

if he can't fix it, he needs to get someone in there who can!"

.
College athletes, in so many cases, are children in the bodies of men. Immature and irrational, with a firm conviction that they are God's gift to the world of football. They believe they are immune to the rules that apply to the "less endowed" rest of the universe.

Truth be told, Mark Richt is one of the few coaches out there who comes down hard on his miscreants. All coaches have the same problem. Most just look the other way.

Just My Opinion
5271
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Just My Opinion 03/18/14 - 05:47 pm
2
0
Well said Darby. Something

Well said Darby.
Something I'd like to add for those who think Mark Richt is too soft of a disciplinarian....since he's been at Georgia, he's dismissed from the team 2 5-star players, 5 4-star players, and 1 3-star player! (The number of stars is supposed to indicate talent level.). So, he is obviously not about protecting and keeping his more talented players.
Trust me...this DOES happen at other schools, but, for some reason, it's just not advertised like it is at Georgia. Still, it's very frustrating.

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