One waiting game is over and another one begins for the Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) as the NCAA ruled that Todd Gurley must sit out an additional two games, not being eligible to return to the field until November 15 — meaning he won’t play against the Florida Gators this week. Gurley will also be made to pay back a portion of the money to a charity of his choosing and complete 40 service hours before he can return.
The NCAA reported on Wednesday that Gurley accepted “more than $3,000 from multiple individuals for autographed memorabilia and other items over two years.”
The University of Georgia released a short statement following the NCAA’s ruling: “Tuesday afternoon the University received the decision from the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff regarding the University¹s request for the reinstatement of Todd Gurley. The University plans to appeal the decision immediately.”
The NCAA’s official statement stated that the ban would only be four games (Gurley has sat out the past two games already) because Georgia and Gurley were cooperative and honest during the investigation.
What does this mean for Florida? Obviously, for Georgia, not having your best player is a handicap but the Bulldogs haven’t missed a step in Gurley’s absence.
The reason is freshman standout Nick Chubb.
The 5-10, 225 freshman has rushed the ball 99 times this season for 569 yards (5.75 yards-per-carry) and five touchdowns. Chubb’s production has picked up the past two weeks with Gurley’s absence. He’s carried the ball 68 times for 345 yards and three scores against Missouri and Arkansas working as the starting tailback. “Nick Chubb has done an outstanding job in his absence so far,” Will Muschamp said on Monday afternoon.
Georgia’s gameplan won’t change much this weekend. The Bulldogs had remained hopeful that Gurley would be reinstated in time to play against Florida but have played probably their two most complete games of the season in his absence.
“It doesn’t affect our preparation. They’ve got a stable of backs that are very talented. Nick Chubb has done an outstanding job filling in while Todd has been gone. It’s a shame,” Muschamp said. “Todd’s an outstanding player, he’s a great competitor. I think his biggest talent is his competitive edge and the guy runs and blocks and does everything at a very high level so he’s an outstanding player. But it does not affect our preparation.”