UGA President asks SEC commissioner for answers

In a February 18 letter to Southeastern Conference commissioner <b>Roy Kramer</b>, University of Georgia president <b>Michael Adams</b> criticized Kramer for suspending Bulldogs forward <b>Chris Daniels</b> for the first half of the February 16 game versus Kentucky. Wildcats coach <b>Tubby Smith</b> reportedly informed SEC officials about a flagrant foul Daniels committed in a loss at Auburn on February 9.

"I will take your word that Chris Daniels' foul was flagrant," Adams wrote. "The timing of the penalty, however, and the way the matter was brought to you do, I believe, raise serious questions. I don't know of a single instance where a decision like this has been made this far after a game, particularly when the conference championship is perhaps on the line and the offending film is provided reportedly by an upcoming opponent."

Adams also questioned why University of Florida center Udonis Haslem wasn't suspended after he threw a ball into the stands before a game at Georgia on February 12. The ball struck law student Jay Ernst in the face, leaving him with a bloody lip. Kramer never publicly disciplined Haslem.

Ernst is reportedly considering legal action against Haslem.

"The facts are irrefutable," Adams wrote. "A player throws a ball heatedly into the stands, strikes a student in the face, splits a lip, and causes bleeding. I don't believe I have ever seen a circumstance where a player entered, struck, or threatened a fan when there was not some serious response. In this case I do not consider a letter of reprimand a serious response."

Adams continued: "Furthermore, the juxtaposition of these two events is frankly inexplicable. To suspend a player for a half who has perhaps committed a flagrant foul in the heat of battle takes on less, although important, consequences to me than any player or coach ever leaving the floor and going into the crowd or throwing something into the crowd meaning to do harm."

In addition, Adams asked Kramer to explain why the officiating crew for the Georgia-Kentucky game was changed to a crew that included referees who called the Georgia-Auburn game after Kentucky officials objected to the originally assigned refereeing team.

Georgia beat No. 10 Kentucky 78-69 to secure a regular season sweep of the Wildcats.

Text of Adams's letter
February 18, 2002

Dear Roy [Kramer]:

I think you know the high esteem in which I hold you and that's why the events of the past week are even more perplexing to me. We both have jobs where the "full story" is often not known and perhaps that's the case here. But I would appreciate it if you could explain to me your reasoning on two matters in the last week.

First of all, I did not attend the UGA/Auburn basketball game a week ago and I have not seen the film. I will take your word that the Chris Daniels foul was flagrant. If that is the case, then certainly you know me well enough to know I don't endorse that kind of conduct. Perhaps the penalty levied was appropriate.

The timing of the penalty, however, and the way the matter was brought to you do, I believe, raise serious questions. I don't know of a single instance where a decision like this has been made this far after a game, particularly when the conference championship is perhaps on the line and the offending film is provided reportedly by an upcoming opponent.

Add to that the matter of Udonis Haslem of Florida and one of our law students and I am even more perplexed, Again, I did not see the incident since I arrived exactly at game time, but the facts are irrefutable. A player throws a ball heatedly into the stands, strikes a student in the face, splits a lip, and causes bleeding. I don't believe I have ever seen a circumstance where a player entered, struck, or threatened a fan when there was not some serious response. In this case I do not consider a letter of reprimand a serious response.

Furthermore, the juxtaposition of these two events is frankly inexplicable. To suspend a player for a half who has perhaps committed a flagrant foul in the heat of battle takes on less, although important, consequences to me than any player or coach ever leaving the floor and going into the crowd or throwing something into the crowd meaning to do harm.

For my money, the penalties here are completely inappropriate compared to one another. Perhaps our player should have been penalized for a flagrant foul. I will leave that to your judgment. The questioning, timing, and motivation are highly suspect. The Haslem incident at the Florida game begs any logical explanation that I can imagine. Furthermore, if this conference does not have a rule like the NBA does that severely penalizes any player who attacks a fan, then we need one.

We are all aware of the importance of crowd control. Perhaps further measures need to be taken in several places. Some explanation of the rationalization of these two penalties would be highly appreciated. I believe both I and the University deserve a written explanation.

Sincerely

Michael F. Adams

President

P.S. I am also advised that Kentucky objected to the original refereeing team assigned to this past Saturday's game and that you or someone made the decision to select a group more favorable to their liking. This assigned crew included some of the offending crew at the Auburn game. To make that decision so closely following the Auburn incident surprises me as well if it is true. Could you please advise me as to the veracity of that claim by our athletic officials.


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