Docs: UGA staffers regularly drove after drinking
Mark Schlabach, ESPN
- Senior Citizen WriterJan 11, 2024, 04:15 PM ET Close Senior college football author
- Author of 7 books on college football
- Graduate of the University of Georgia
Football recruiting staffers at the University of Georgia routinely drove leased automobiles after taking in alcohol, according to court files submitted Thursday by lawyers representing a former staffer who was seriously hurt in a January 2023 cars and truck wreck that eliminated a Bulldogs player and another staff member.In an amended complaint filed in state court in Gwinnett County (Georgia), the lawyers likewise alleged that UGA assistant football coaches used money to pay for recruiting expenditures during informal recruiting check outs, which could be an infraction of NCAA rules.Victoria Bowles
, who survived the auto accident that eliminated Bulldogs offending lineman Devin Willock and recruiting employee Chandler LeCroy on Jan. 15, 2023, sued the University of Georgia Athletic Association, former Georgia player Jalen Carter, LeCroy’s estate and others for damages in July.Police alleged that LeCroy and Carter, now a rookie with the Philadelphia Eagles, were racing when the SUV being driven by LeCroy left the road and crashed into an utility pole and trees. The lawsuit said LeCroy’s SUV was taking a trip a minimum of 104.2 mph when it crashed and had actually been racing another SUV driven by Carter for 45 seconds or less. Cops stated LeCroy’s blood alcohol concentration was.197, almost 2 1/2 times the legal limit in Georgia.Editor’s Picks”We are evaluating the modified complaint, but we challenge its claims and will vigorously safeguard the Athletic
Association’s interest in court, “a university representative said in a statement Thursday.The UGA Athletic Association previously stated LeCroy didn’t have authorization to drive the rented SUV for individual use.
“The UGA Athletic Association rejects that Ms. LeCroy had authorization to drive the subject SUV (in its words )’to
downtown Athens for a night of drinking and partying, ‘”the modified problem said.” While this language is inflammatory as to what happened the night of the crash, text messages offer evidence that football staffers, with the Association’s knowledge, frequently drove recruits and their guests after taking in alcohol at Athens’dining establishments and bars. “The changed grievance declared that”text reveal that on celebration managers and coaches, in effect, motivated hiring personnel to drink alcohol with football potential customers’families-well aware that staffers would leave the occasions after consuming alcohol.””Association coaches and staff frequently drank alcohol at UGA football Coach Kirby Smart’s house during recruiting events, and after that, in Association
SUVs, returned recruits ‘households and guests back to their lodging,” the problem said.”The Association and UGA coaches were well aware that involved alcohol, in Association SUVs.”The modified complaint consisted of a Dec. 14, 2019, text message purportedly sent to 13 staff members by then-UGA director of player personnel Marshall Malchow that said:”
Hey guys … if you are driving you can have fun at Coach Smarts however if you are driving a recruit make certain you don’t get intoxicated. It will be a bad look if we have people who are supposed to be driving recruits getting lit. “In a Feb. 22, 2022, text, another athletic association worker informed recruiting employee that an associate athletic director said to turn a downtown Athens restaurant”
into a bar with [recruits ‘] households and do not leave.”” My customer’s iPhone survived the crash fully undamaged and includes thousands of pages of recruiting texts explaining the inner functions of UGA’s recruiting activities, “Bowles’lawyer, Rob Buck, said in a statement to ESPN.”The new texts included in the Amended Complaint develop that the Association was fully conscious recruiting staffers were routinely enabled to drive employees and their families around Athens after consuming alcohol at Association sponsored occasions. Some texts even show that football coaches and recruiting managers, in effect, encouraged staffers to drink with football prospects’households.”The texts oppose the Association’s pleadings and public statements to its fan base. The texts document that the Association purposefully enabled football staffers to drive Association SUVs while drinking even if UGA had policies specifying otherwise.
“The changed complaint also alleges that Bowles understands UGA football coaches utilizing cash in recruiting activities including unofficial sees. NCAA guidelines forbid coaches and team member from paying for expenditures for recruits and their families throughout unofficial check outs, consisting of lodging, meals, home entertainment and travel costs.Bowles’original grievance stated Bulldogs assistant coach Chidera Uzo-Diribe asked her to utilize his ATM card to get$1,000 in cash at a recruiting supper throughout an informal recruiting see on Jan. 14, 2023. The bank card didn’t work, so she drove to her home to get cash. The problem stated Uzo-Diribe paid her back through Venmo.
The athletic association previously said in a declaration that it assumed the money was for Uzo-Diribe’s personal use.The claim implicates Carter of unlawfully leaving the scene without speaking to police and failing to render aid. Carter pleaded no contest March 16 to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing. He was sentenced to 12 months of probation, a$1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service and will participate in a state-approved defensive driving course.According to Bowles’lawyers, she has actually incurred more than$ 170,000 in medical costs and suffered”most likely irreversible special needs.”Amongst her injuries consisted of in the suit are 3 back fractures, five fractured vertebrae, 10 broken ribs, a damaged clavicle, fractured and cracked teeth, kidney and liver lacerations, a punctured and collapsed lung, and abdominal bleeding.The suit stated Bowles likewise suffered a closed head injury that caused neurological damage, severe eye discomfort and, according to her neurosurgeon, substantial damage to the membrane that surrounds the nerves of her spine, which can advance to irreversible paralysis.