And you thought it was going to be a quiet, uneventful summer.
Off season serenity was interrupted once again as Jeremy Lomax became the fourth Georgia football player to get arrested this year. Lomax, a senior who is battling for a starting job at defensive end this fall, was pulled over on the 10 Loop in Athens for speeding. He was going 80 in a 55. As is routine, the cop asked Lomax if he had any weapons in the car. Lomax, described in police reports as polite and compliant, told the officer he had an unloaded gun underneath his seat. The officer retrieved a Glock 40, confiscated it and Lomax was arested for speeding and possession of a concealed weapon and hauled off to jail.
So that’s four Bulldogs so far that have run afoul of the law. Fullback Fred Munzenmaier (underage possession of alcohol, standing in roadway) and defensive back Donovan Baldwin (DUI) were arrested in January. They were suspended two and one games, respectively (Muzenmaier got two for smarting off at the police). Starting offensive guard Clint Boling was arrested in May in Alpharetta for DUI but he refused field tests and proclaims his innocence, so his punishment has not been determined.
In so far as we can tell, Lomax will be subjected to similar discipline. Student conduct codes restrict weapons from campus but it’s unclear whether or not that extends to off campus. We don’t know yet the details of who’s gun it was or what Lomax was doing with it but that fact he didn’t receive any additional charges is probably a positive sign for him. So he’s probably looking at one or two games max.
At the very least it would appear four players will miss the season opener against Georgia Southern and perhaps two or three will be out for Central Michigan, too. I’m told there’s no truth to the rumor this is why UGA schedules light at the beginning of the year. By the way, there still are three months before the season starts.
But seriously, I’m on record in this space stating that I don’t think such misdemeanor arrests makes Georgia a “thug program” no more than it does Florida or LSU or Tennessee or Georgia Tech. In fact, after those first two arrests back in January, I wrote then to expect at least one or two more before the season starts.
Such behavior is unfortunate and regrettable but it’s also commonplace among college students 18 to 22 years of age. I also know the Bulldogs harp and harp on their athletes on this subject and have one of the most stringent and iron-clad disciplinary policies around. There’s no way you can say Georgia is soft on discipline. These guys miss games and are subjected to physical punishment and counseling in addition to their legal ramifications.
The easy thing to do in this situation is to stand up on a soap box, point a finger at Georgia and college athletics and say, “shame on you; you’re recruiting bad people and letting them run amok.” But I simply don’t buy that.
Am I wrong? Are they wrong?
Article by Chip Towers, Atlanta Journal Constitution, AJC.com