Four players arrested
This was not the start to spring football that head coach Mark Richt wanted to see.
Late Monday night, four Georgia football players were arrested and charged with multiple counts of misdemeanor theft and deception before bonding out of the Clarke County jail.
The players included safety Tray Matthews, defensive linemen John Taylor and James Deloach, along with wide receiver Uriah LeMay.
UGA police chief Jimmy Williamson confirmed to UGASports.com Tuesday morning that 11 tuition checks were allegedly withdrawn from the UGA Athletic Association account before the players tried to to re-cash the paper checks at local convenience stores. According to police reports, each check was valued at $71.50 for total losses of $786.50.
"We see thefts like this pretty regular. There are people every day, it's not just athletes. We see a lot of non-athletes see opportunity to maybe take advantage of some process or something," Williamson said. "We've arrested employees for similar type things, we've arrested other students for similar things, people not related to the University. That's why it is important for every individual to check their statements, to reconcile their bank statements because this is how this was caught."
According to Williamson, the investigation did not take long to complete and that Matthews, Taylor and DeLoach allegedly deposited the checks via a mobile banking app before deciding to try and cash the actual paper check.
Lemay received an additional charge by allegedly taking discarded checks belonging to a roommate (also a UGA football player) and attempting to cash or deposit the money himself.
"We got notified not last week but the week before (March 3) and it took just a couple of days (to investigate)," said Williams, who confirmed the four players turned themselves in after warrants were issued Monday evening for their arrest.
LeMay bonded out on bonds totaling at least $6,500, Matthews $4,500 with DeLoach and Taylor released on bonds totaling $3,000.
"I'm aware of the situation and it will be handled in an appropriate way," Richt said in a statement. Richt is expected to address the media after today's practice sessions.
Taylor played in 10 games for Georgia last year, making nine tackles, while DeLoach, who like Taylor hails from Jenkins County, played in five games largely due to injury and made five tackles.
Matthews finished with 36 tackles and picked off a pass in last year. He made six starts.
LeMay redshirted as a true freshman and did not play. He is the brother of former Bulldog quarterback Christian LeMay who transferred to Jacksonville State two months ago.