On Thursday morning, Georgia running back Todd Gurley was the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy.
On Thursday evening, Gurley’s future in college football is in doubt after the school suspended him pending an investigation into a possible violation of NCAA rules.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Gurley Was Suspended by Georgia, not the NCAA
Though the matter being investigated involves NCAA rules and not team rules, the suspension was issued and announced by Georgia, which is preparing for an SEC showdown Saturday against Missouri.
Georgia coach Mark Richt issued a brief statement included in the school’s announcement:
I’m obviously very disappointed.The important thing for our team is to turn all our attention toward preparation for Missouri.
2. The Suspension Is Indefinite
Georgia said the suspension is indefinite, raising the possibility that Gurley, a junior, will never again suit up for the Bulldogs.
A junior with explosive speed and athleticism, Gurley is considered an elite NFL draft prospect and is widely expected to turn pro at the end of the season.
Georgia (4-1 overall, 2-1 SEC) has seven games remaining on its regular season schedule, with the finale coming November 29 against in-state rival Georgia Tech.
3. Multiple Outlets Reported That the Investigation Is About Whether Gurley Profited on His Likeness
Multiple media outlets are reporting that the investigation is into whether Gurley profited off of his likeness.
It’s against NCAA rules for players to profit on items such as autographs or memorabilia. The exact nature of the allegations the school is investigating is not clear.
A source told ESPN’s Joe Schad that the NCAA investigation centers around whether Gurley was given money for autographs, memorabilia or the use of his likeness. Georgia officials did not reveal the alleged violation.
4. A Poster on Reddit Predicted on September 27 That a High-Profile Player Would Be in Trouble
A poster on Reddit wrote in a September 27 that an unnamed by high-profile player would be getting busted for profiting off of memorabilia sales.
The Redditer pointed out that there’s an enormous amount of Gurley memorabilia for sale on E-Bay — an amount that, as the Big Lead points out, is nearly four times the amount of memorabilia signed by Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariotta.
(Hat tip to the Big Lead for reporting the Reddit post.)
Here’s how the Reddit College Football Twitter account explained the events leading up to Gurley’s suspension:
It’s not illegal for college players to sign autographs, but it is illegal for them to profit off of them — an issue that prompted an investigation into a ton of autographs that Johnny Manziel signed at a New Haven, Connecticut hotel before the start of the 2013 season.
5. Gurley Was the Betting Favorite to Win the Heisman Before the Suspension Was Announced
Entering the day, Bovada listed Gurley as the favorite to win the Heisman, just ahead of Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott and Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall.
A snapshot of the top of Bovada’s list:
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: 8/5
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State: 5/2
Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn: 11/2
Marcus Mariotta, QB, Oregon: 8/1
Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame: 10-1
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska: 12-1
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State: 20-1
Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M: 20-1
Melvin Gordon, QB, Wisconsin: 20-1