Whenever I leave from a football game in the fall I pickup the local newspaper and keep the front page, or the sports, whichever concentrates on the Georgia game from the previous day. As you could imagine, I have quite a stack of newsprint sitting around and because of the football team's run in the fall, almost all of the recent headlines are good ones.
But now Jim Harrick's face is on the top of that stack, and that's not so good.
Instead of grabbing newspapers in New Orleans this week, I am stuck with looking at the Augusta Chronicle's headline "Georgia DONE" until next football season.
There is a wealth of blame to spread around; almost every person involved in this "soap opera" can have blame assigned to them.
Dr. Adams hired Jim Harrick and knew his reputation.
Dr. Adams waived the nepotism policy that allowed Jim Harrick Jr. to be a coach at Georgia.
Jim Harrick recruited Tony Cole, hard. Even after he knew about Cole's shortcomings.
Tony Cole is a social deviant.
Rashad Wright and Chris Daniels missed a class that Harrick Jr. should have never been teaching in the first place.
The Physical Education department allowed Harrick Jr. to teach a class that he should have never taught.
But when the end game comes, Jim Harrick will be the one that pays, and rightly so, but the collateral damage from the actions taken by the University has a long reach. Many of the current players and the fans of the Georgia Basketball team are now made to suffer on what on the surface looks like an over reaction of a few men.
Harrick should be fired. He should have been fired already.
With that said, the Administration is simply going through the motions. By the end of this week Harrick will be fired.
Georgia simply cannot allow academic fraud to occur at the University. Not to mention all of the other inappropriate events that have gone on since Harrick took over (the Tony Cole scandal, blatant lying to the media, and all of the recruiting inadequacies over the last few seasons).
Was it right for Vince Dooley and Dr. Adams to pull the team out of the SEC and NCAA tournaments? No. The players that did not violate the NCAA rules should have been able to play.
Georgia should fulfill its obligation to the SEC and field a team without Harrick, Daniels, and Wright to play in New Orleans. Georgia fans have already made plans to attend the games in New Orleans. They have purchased tickets, hotel rooms, and have arranged for travel. None of that has yet happened for the NCAAs.
Dr. Adams should also be criticized for the way that this likely firing is proceeding. More than that, he should be criticized for hiring Harrick to begin with. If Dr. Adams knew that Harrick was this way at Rhode Island and UCLA, then why did Dr. Adams hire him to begin with? No doubt, this will have an effect on his reputation, and possibly on his job security, as the president of the institution.
All of that notwithstanding, the responsibility of this scandal falls on the shoulders of Jim Harrick. He has been a public relations nightmare for a few weeks now and the time has come to end this ugly chapter in Georgia Basketball history. It was Harrick that acted inappropriately or allowed inappropriate actions to occur.
Harrick, more than any other one person, put himself and the University in this situation and he should be the one held responsible for that.
Dean Legge can be reached here: firstname.lastname@example.org