Current Georgia parent: ‘It’s not the system, it’s the kids’

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Georgia

The father of current Georgia defensive lineman Sterling Bailey is tired of former Georgia players who either transferred or were dismissed blaming it on the football system and not themselves.

RELATED: Will UGA’s secondary issues keep Dawgs out of championship picture?

The Bulldogs have seen three defensive backs leave the program this offseason. Former touted safety Josh Harvey-Clemons was dismissed and transferred to Louisville. Former cornerback Shaq Wiggins transferred to Louisville on his own accord, and former dismissed safety Tray Matthews made it known this weekend his intentions to transfer to Auburn.

Bailey’s father, Kevin Bailey, vented to the AJC’s Chip Towers about players blaming it on the school, saying the players shouldn’t point the finger at anyone else but themselves:

“When I read some of the things said, it just made me sick to my stomach,” Bailey said. “That young man (Matthews) needs to realize who opened doors for him first. I’m speaking as a member of the Georgia Bulldog family, of the Bulldog Nation, because my son goes to school down there, too. I love Tray. I love his mom and dad, too. We’re good friends. But the comments I read made me feel like they were putting down the University of Georgia, the system and the coaches. Not one time did I see it mentioned what Coach Richt or the other coaches have done for him. That’s what made me mad.

“Coach Richt and the coaching staff opened their arms to this kid. They welcomed him into the Bulldog Nation and they stood behind him. For him to come out like that and make it seem like the University of Georgia had done him wrong, that’s what makes me so mad. Same with Shaq Wiggins and the other kids who had the opportunity to play at the University of Georgia. They leave and transfer and get dismissed from the team and they blame it on the school system. It’s not the system; it’s the kids. If you come and do what you’re supposed to do and do it right, you wouldn’t get in trouble and things like this wouldn’t come about.”

Bailey’s last statement is certainly true.

I do think Mark Richt gets unfairly blamed for players being arrested and dismissed, and I also think the ‘system’ lends a hand to the blame. Richt is the longest tenured SEC coach, and that’s added to the negativity. He’s a victim of his own stability in a way. Georgia’s discipline policies are also stricter than others schools, and that has added to the criticism. With that being said, should the players do what they’re supposed to do, it wouldn’t matter.

Can you blame Richt for signing troubled players? It’s not entirely fair. Coaches have limited time to get to know prospects, and assuming he has no major red flags, coaches identify whether he’ll fit in, whether they think he’ll develop into a great player and whether or not he can make the grades. Those are likely the main components to signing a prospect. You simply never know how a player will react away from his parents with so much free time and distractions.

Bailey also talked about how his son made a mistake, caused trouble and paid a price. He continued his venting to Towers about the lack of respect for the program.

“Not one time have I heard any of these kids say how they appreciate the University of Georgia and their coaches,” Mr. Bailey said. “When they leave the University of Georgia, they go to their arch rival or somewhere else and tear down the university system, like Georgia did something bad to them. It wasn’t like Georgia did something bad to them, it was what they did back to the University of Georgia. And that’s what hurts me so bad.”

Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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COMMENTS

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  • I think this encapsulates the frustrations of your non-crazy UGA supporter: I personally wouldn’t change a thing, but to the outside world (and the win-now crazed ‘fans’), it appears that it is some failure on the part of the coaches or the athletic staff, either in signing a kid in supporting him.
    Some myopic people seem to think that athletic ability should be valued the highest, and then turn around and point fingers at the recruiters when athletes, in their sense of entitlement, do things that get them kicked off the team. These are usually the same people who scream about Richt not being able to win the ‘big one’, and how we should fire him, even though there are no reasonable alternatives available.
    I support our coaches and our team, and I would not change a thing. Not because I’m a blind homer or I’m “some kind of loser who likes losing and…” or whatever the idiots will say. I’m an Alum, and I will take greater pride in being a superior program who eventually wins it all (and we will) the right way, rather than exploiting athletes like cattle to fulfill the desire for a transitory feeling of superiority.

    • I understand the frustration. If fans are frustrated, imagine how the coaches feel. They spend all of this time and money to get a player to buy into their program and sign with them. And then, they screw up, leave the program, and end up at an arch rival. Sadly, it’s happened all too often. I understand giving kids second chances. I also understand that Georgia is trying to run a disciplined team and has to react to these things. Auburn has done more with kids kicked out of other schools in the SEC than they have with their own recruits, it seems. But, LSU just had a QB that Georgia kicked off as well. Alabama kicked a player off, and then signed him back after one season at JUCO. Urban Meyer overlooked a lot of things at Florida. Les Miles has had a number of players get in trouble during his tenure. Some were released, while others made their way back to the program. Its tough to say the correct way to handle all of this. Kids screw up. I did some dumb things in college myself. But, I was to blame just as these kids.

  • Well said. CMR does have his ctritics. And the team most of the time seems to find away to come up just a little short every year. For some reason? Be it injuries to key players like last year or, suspensions for disciplinary reasons etc etc etc. UGA always recruits well. They have the most NFL ready players in the country including Alabama and USC. I see no reason for that to change anytime soon, especially with the talent the state of Georgia produces year in and year out. Also the disciplinary standards are lower and “win-now” pressure in neighboring states and league rivals is more than it is at Georgia. Thankfully!! And I agree. When they finally do win the big one. They will have done it the right way.

  • im glad someone came out and said what needed to be said…ITS NOT THE COACH OR THE SYSTEM. ITS IDIOTIC THUGS. IM FRIENDS WITH TREY ON FACEBOOK AND UNTIL THIS HAPPENED HE WAS UGA EVERYTHING. LOVED UGA AND HE POSTED THINGS HE WANTS TO DO OR ARE GONNA DO THEN HE GETS KICKED OFF THE TEAM AND HE HATES UGA AND WANTS TO PLAY AGAINST THEM NOW??? if u f up then u f up. its called consequences!!! IM NOW A BIG FAN OF THE BAILEY FAMILY AND THANKFUL THAT A PARENT WOULD STAND UP FOR THE SCHOOL AND COACH FOR WTHAT THEY HAVE DONE FOR THOSE UNAPPRECIATIVE F-UPS….”HEY LETS PAY ATHLETES TO PLAY LOL” these kids barely make a C average, how is putting money in there pocket gonna make them smarter or more committed. they already get paid with a $100,000 scholarship, clothes, food, healthcare and all the bells and whistles that come with it. WELL IF THERE GIVING SCHOLARSHIPS TO PLAYERS TO PLAY FOOTBALL…AM I DUMB OR DOES THAT NOT SOUND LIKE THEY HAVE ALREADY BEEN PAID?? FOOTBALL IS WHAT PAYS FOR EVERYTHING AT A UNIVERSITY. THERE IS NOT 1 SPORT THAT GENERATES THAT MUCH MONEY, THE EQUESTRIAN TEAM ISNT PAYING THE STAFF OR TEACHERS SALARY’S? THAT SCHOOL PAYS OVER 1,000 PEOPLE ALONE HAT WORK THERE. NOT TO MENTION UNIFORMS HELMETS CLOTHES STADIUM ADDITIONS WEIGHTS….thank you ken bailey, GODAWGS!!

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