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NCAA upholds Todd Gurley suspension for Florida and Kentucky games

Georgia sat its Heisman-contending running back for two games already, and the NCAA says he must sit out for two more.

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA announced that Todd Gurley, star Georgia running back, must miss a total of four games for breaking its rules against athletes profiting off of their own names and likenesses. According to the institution, he accepted "more than $3,000 in cash from multiple individuals for autographed memorabilia and other items over two years," and the established suspension length for such a violation is 30 percent of a season, or about four games for a football player.

Gurley already missed two games due to a school suspension during the investigation, after which Georgia moved to reinstate him. He'll now have to miss two more, against Florida and Kentucky. He will return for No. 11 Georgia against current No. 3 Auburn. In his absence, Georgia won handily against Missouri and Arkansas.

Georgia investigated Gurley after a Florida fan tried to sell the story to media outlets. Other Florida fans, such as Alligator Army, have mixed emotions at best about the ruling.

From the NCAA:

Todd Gurley, University of Georgia football student-athlete, must sit a total of four games, or 30 percent of the season, for accepting more than $3,000 in cash from multiple individuals for autographed memorabilia and other items over two years. Gurley, who acknowledged violating NCAA rules, must repay a portion of the money received to a charity of his choice and complete 40 hours of community service as additional conditions for his reinstatement. Gurley will be eligible to play on Nov. 15.

In determining the appropriate reinstatement conditions, a 30 percent withholding condition is consistent with precedent in similar cases. Additional withholding was strongly considered because the violations occurred over multiple years with multiple individuals and the student received extensive rules education about the prohibition of receiving payment for autographs. However, the university's due diligence in its investigation and the student's full disclosure of his involvement in the violations were factors in not imposing a more severe withholding condition.

The University submitted its original reinstatement request on Wednesday, Oct. 22. The NCAA requested additional information on Friday, Oct. 24, which it received from the university on Saturday, Oct. 25, and Sunday, Oct. 26. The NCAA issued its decision to the university on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 28.

The university indicated it will appeal the decision. A membership committee which oversees the reinstatement process will review the appeal this week. The committee can reduce or remove the conditions the staff has imposed, but cannot increase them.