MONDAY MORNING REWIND
1. Chris Conley, Georgia’s multitalented senior wide receiver, premiered his Star Wars tribute short film – Retribution — this past weekend at Cine in downtown Athens. If you missed Tanya Sichynsky’s report, you can read it HERE. And if you’d like to view the film on Conley’s YouTube channel, you can click RIGHT HERE and watch it.
Now I’m not what you’d call a Star Wars aficionado. I think I’ve probably seen them all, or at least most of them, scattered over many years and most not more than once. But I thought he did a bang-up job, especially considering his limited time and resources.
First of all, the kid went out and did this on his own. His shoot locations were Sanford Stadium, Park Hall and the Tate Student Center plaza. His actors and editors were fellow students and football players. In my opinion, Conley struck an almost perfect balance of seriousness and silliness. The scenes with Coach Mark Richt and tailback Todd Gurley were hilarious and a must-see for the Bulldogs’ football fans.
But the real accomplishment here was in just getting it done. Conley did this between the end of last year’s regular season and Saturday’s release date. He did it while also serving as the SEC’s representative on the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, as a member of UGA’s student-athlete leadership academy and while earning SEC Academic and UGA Athletic Director Honor Roll status.
Meanwhile, it’s not like he’s a casual member of Georgia’s football team. He did this while assuming a captain’s role for off-season strength and conditioning and volunteer practices. He’s a starter and the Bulldogs’ leading receiver from last season (45 catches, 651 yards, 4 TDs).
So I don’t know much about Star Wars and I’m certainly no film critic. But I say bravo to Conley for his latest venture. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
2. Georgia finally unveiled its response to the NCAA’s allegations of major violations committed by swimming and diving coach Jack Bauerle. The Bulldogs released their report at 5:11 p.m. last Thursday evening, or the day before the Fourth of July. They actually sent it into the NCAA pn Monday, June 30, according to the date on the cover letter signed by UGA President Jere Morehead.
Obviously with the late release, there wasn’t much time to get into the details revealed within the 244-page document. Specifically, UGA’s response was 164 pages, including exhibits. The other 80 was a response from Bauerle and his attorney, William King of the Birmingham law firm of Lightfoot, Franklin and White. Primarily that enumerated Bauerle’s many accomplishments and his swimmers exemplary academic work over his 35 years.
Here’s a quick summary: The problem lies with Bauerle calling UGA associate professor Karl Kuhnert and asking him to enroll star swimmer Chase Kalisz into his Psychology 4800 class retroactively at the end of the fall semester. The plan was for Kalisz to receive an “incomplete,” or “I” grade in the class, then go back and do the work if additional class hours were needed. But in interviews with investigators, Kuhnert says he “accidentally” assigned Kalisz an “S” grade in the course in his haste to record grades by the fall semester deadline.
The NCAA interpreted that as providing an extra benefit for Kalisz. Both UGA policy and NCAA rules stipulate that coaches do not interact directly with teachers over academic matters, hence the breach of conduct charges against Bauerle.
Georgia argues that the late-add and retroactive incomplete grade were actions available to any student and don’t constitute an extra benefit provided to Kalisz. While not denying an infraction has occurred, UGA has asked the NCAA to reduce the violation to Level II from Level I, which technically is still a major violation but a less egregious one. It will be several months before we know how it turns out.
In the meantime, this is now about lawyers. Georgia’s will meet with the NCAA’s and Bauerle’s will meet with Georgia’s and they’ll all meet together. By my count from bills submitted to UGA, Georgia has already paid Mike Glazier of Bond, Schoeneck & King of Overland Park, Kan., $82,212.59 to represent it in this case. Bauerle hasn’t said what he has spent on his representation but you can bet it isn’t pro bono.
3. Kendell Williams is at it again. The Bulldogs’ sensational freshman track athlete out of Marietta’s Kell High School added some more hardware to her already crowded trophy case. After winning the NCAA heptathlon title in mid-June, Williams captured the 100-meter hurdles championship at the USATF Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore., this past weekend.
Williams clocked her third American Junior record of 2014 with a school-record time of 12.87 seconds. That topped the country’s former No. 1 mark of 12.91 set by Kristi Castlin in Gainesville, Fla., in 2007. Williams’ time is the second fastest in World Junior history and only .03 seconds off the 26-year-old World Junior record of 12.84, according to UGA.
Williams will now represent the U.S. at the World Junior Championships, which are also in Eugene on July 22-27.
Williams now has recorded three American Junior Records during her first season with the Lady Bulldogs. She established new World Junior and American Junior records while winning the NCAA pentathlon crown in March and also set an American Record in the heptathlon while winning the Bulldog Heptathlon in Athens earlier in the outdoor season.
Not surprisingly, Williams is a semifinalist for The Bowerman Trophy, which is given to collegiate track and field’s most outstanding performer. Three finalists will be named on Thursday.
4. Georgia senior All-American Michael Cromie holed out for eagle from the fairway not once but twice as he ran roughshod over the most dominant player of the week to capture the 114th North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst No. 8.
Cromie, a native of nearby Cary, N.C., defeated highly-regarded amateur Corey Conners 4&3 in the championship round to become the first player in history to win both the North & South Junior Amateur (2007) and the North & South Men’s Amateur. Cromie completed his collegiate eligibility in May.
“I can’t put it into words,” Cromie said after the match. “It’s just unbelievable. The history here in Pinehurst, especially after watching the Opens (recently), it’s just really hard to put into words how cool it is, how special it is, just how grateful I am that it was able to work out in my favor.”