ATHENS - Late on Monday night Eric Baumgartner, the compliance director for the Georgia athletics department, received a short e-mail from the NCAA: It agreed with UGA's findings on Jarvis Jones, which meant he was cleared and ready to play.
Jones being cleared basically came down to UGA finding, and the NCAA agreeing, that Jones had a pre-existing relationship - as in, prior to Jones becoming a football prospect - and therefore the reported plane tickets and laptops purchased by Tony Adams for Jones did not constitute a violation.
"Based on the research and information that we had done, we felt that it met the benefits interpretation that the NCAA has allowed institutions to use for benefits received from individuals based on their prior relationship," Baumgartner said on Tuesday. "So using that, and based on the information we were able to gather, we submitted the information believing it met that. The NCAA and the SEC were in good in terms of reviewing that as quickly as they did and coming out in the end, the conclusion was that yes, their relationships met the interpretative stance."
A few more highlights from interviews with Baumgartner and athletics director Greg McGarity:
- Baumgarnter said the NCAA interpretation for a pre-existing relationship is prior to when the player becomes a football prospect.
"So for football purposes that's before the ninth grade," he said.
- There is nothing yet on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was also part of the original report in the Ledger-Enquirer.
"We have not processed that yet. We are still working towards that," Baumgartner said. "But obviously with Jarvis being a football student-athlete and them being in practice right now and them having their first game on Sept. 3, that was, not to say priority one, but ultimately that was the one we had to rectified sooner. But certainly we're working on the other cases as well."
- Baumgartner said the internal UGA inquiry involved vetting all the published information, as well as more.
"Was there information out there, yes. Were we able to use that information, yes. But obviously from a thoroughness perspective, from an NCAA review, you've just gotta go across the board," Baumgartner said. "Not just pick up on one piece of information, but make sure anything and everything is looked into, rather than just one specific information that was published in the newspaper."
- Baumgartner notified head coach Mark Richt on Tuesday, as well as Jones himself.
"He was pleased. He was happy," Baumgartner said.
- McGarity was pleased with the timing of the investigation.
"I think that's one thing that the NCAA is focusing on, is processing - and there's no telling how many are on the docket at the NCAA, who knows," McGarity said. "But just to be able to get an answer this far in advance, instead of the week of the game, or end of the season, I think is a credit to Eric for processing it as quickly as he did, and to the NCAA as far as responding."
- Baumgartner said dealing with the Jones matter took up a lot of time the past month and a half.
"It was our priority," he said. "In the end, we've got a student-athlete that doesn't have any eligibility issues. The NCAA and the SEC worked with us to expedite the decision, and in the end that's all you can ask for."
- McGarity said he never quite felt confident either way during the process as to what the outcome would be.
"You really have no feeling. You just don't know. Because you just don't know what people are thinking," McGarity said. "You're just kind of numb until you basically hear something. You can't rush it, you can't call and say, How's the progress going. You just want to wait.