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Post Releasing recruits now premature

Thursday March 20, 2003

Georgia’s top men’s basketball signee for 2003, Mohamed Abukar, is exploring seeking a release from the letter of intent he signed with the Dawgs. Without the release, he would have to sit out for two seasons before becoming eligible to play elsewhere. Another signee, Corey Gibbs, has said that he will honor his letter of intent and come to Georgia.

Georgia will come under pressure to grant a release to Abukar and anyone else who might want one, but acquiescing now would be very premature. Even those conducting this investigation don’t know what the result will be. Will there be a coaching change? Will there be sanctions? Possibly. Probably.

Should Harrick be fired or Georgia ends up with sanctions (self-imposed or otherwise), then it might be appropriate to offer the option of release to the incoming signing class. But Georgia would be doing itself a great disservice by forcing these kids into an uninformed decision. Only when it is known who will coach Georgia next season and under what restrictions (if any) the team will play will the signees have all of the cards on the table.

It might sound cold, but simply playing for a program with a black eye isn’t a valid reason to release a signee from his letter of intent. Should the investigation produce a coaching change or sanctions, then it will be time to consider such requests. But given the way this has been handled so far, look for UGA to cave early.

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