October 12, 2010

Richt says players have a responsibility

Georgia coach Mark Richt made one thing perfectly clear during Tuesday's weekly press conference at Stegeman Coliseum - when it comes to paying traffic fines and showing up in time for court, it's up to the student athlete to take responsibility.

Richt's comments came in light of Monday's arrest of running back Caleb King, who was picked up by Athens Clarke County Police, after it was learned he had failed to appear in Walton County traffic court to answer charges on a speeding ticket.

King was subsequently suspended for Georgia's next two games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

"In order to make sure that this type of thing isn't happening, No. 1, the student athlete has got to take responsibility that he's got it and he's got to take care of it," Richt said. "Georgia is not going to 'take care' of their traffic violations. They're going to have to. Now we can get involved in helping them and make sure they get done, but we are not 'doing it' for them."

Richt said he and his football staff are already taking as many steps as they can.

In some instances, they're even turning up the heat.

"I guess it doesn't matter if you know our business. Monthly we've been doing that but now we're going to do it weekly and maybe we can catch something at the last moment, but we don't want it to get to that point," Richt said. "In order to really know something like that we would have to be made aware of it and then we can make sure it gets taken care of. But again, we are not 'taking care' of it. We've just got to make sure it gets taken care of by the student athlete."

Richt said he and his staff had no way of knowing about King's missed court date until his actual arrest.

"Awareness of certain things is important, so if we are aware of things we feel we can make sure things like this don't happen," Richt said. "In this particular case (King), you basically would have to get in contact with every single county in the state of Georgia on a daily basis to find out if something like that popped up. You can check the licenses to see if they're in good standing on a period."

Georgia's 11th arrest since January, the charges against King came on the heels of Demetre Baker's arrest for DUI following the Bulldogs' game at Mississippi State three weeks ago.

Baker was kicked off the team for that incident.

Richt acknowledged that King's two-game suspension is a reflection of the higher standard that's now in place.

"Yeah, no doubt," Richt said. "But they know that."

Wide receiver Tavarres King, who missed the opener after being arrested for underage drinking, said players know full well what the consequences for misconduct are.

"Everyone knows at this point and time, you're going to get in more trouble than you did last year," King said.

That's a lesson King appears to now be learning.

Richt said he's working with athletic director Greg McGarity to come up with a plan to address many of the arrest issues that continue to haunt the program.

"Every young man has got a responsibility to do the right thing and they know what the right thing is. Am I open to doing better? Yes, absolutely. I'm very encouraged actually with Mr. McGarity in a lot of ways; he's a wonderful choice for our athletic director. He's going to do great things for Georgia and the future is very bright under his leadership," Richt said. "He and I have already been discussing some things and we'll implement some things as time goes on, it will be an ongoing conversation, but I really have a lot of confidence that he's got some good ideas in that regard and I'm willing to listen to those to see if we can get better at that. It will be a while but some of it's going on right now."

Richt declined to elaborate on what those new plans might be.

"It's all encompassing, really," Richt said. "You want to prevent things from happening, but when things do happen you've got to know what to do. I think it has to do with that whole gamut."

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