4 Georgia Football Players Arrested: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2014

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Updates from Thursday, June 5

Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph has the latest on the arrested players:

Updates from Tuesday, June 3

Taylor West of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an update on the arrested Georgia football players:

University of Georgia football players arrested earlier this year are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Athens-Clarke County court, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Safety Tray Matthews, receiver Uriah LeMay, defensive end James DeLoach and defensive lineman Jon Taylor were arrested in March on charges of theft by deception related to attempts to double cash scholarship checks, first electronically, then by redeeming them on paper.

LeMay requested a transfer earlier this year and Matthews was dismissed from the team today. He announced his departure via Twitter but did not specify a reason.

Updates from Wednesday, March 26

Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had the latest on discipline for the arrested Georgia football players from head coach Mark Richt:

“Ah, I wouldn’t put anything out of the realm of possibility right now,” Richt said after Tuesday’s two-hour-plus workout. “Right now we’re just allowing them to continue to work. When the discipline is laid out — there’s some happening right now, just early-morning running and things of that nature — but there’s more to come. Just  thinking it through real good.”

Updates from Tuesday, March 18

Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph reports that all players arrested are present for Georgia's spring practice:

Emerson and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer provides a statement from Mark Richt:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provided insight surrounding potential punishment handed down from Georgia:

Emerson provided additional details surrounding the situation:

Three of the players are charged with what amounts to double-dipping: Each allegedly took normal stipend checks from UGA and deposited them via a mobile ap, and then also cashed them somewhere else, according to UGA chief of police Jimmy Williamson. A fourth player is charged with taking his rommates' deposited stipend check and cashing it.

The UGA athletics department detected the checks clearing twice and contacted the UGA police, Williamson said.

Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald also provided financial findings:

Original Text

Four University of Georgia football players were arrested Monday and charged with multiple counts of theft by deception, according to Clark County police records.

Weiszer originally obtained the police report, which cites safety Tray Matthews, defensive linemen Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach and wide receiver Uriah LeMay as the four players booked on the charges. Though details are still scant on exactly what the four players were alleged to be stealing, the report seems to indicate the players were not engaged in a one-time activity.

Alexis Stevens of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the alleged thefts "involved the university's athletic department."

LeMay was charged on at least four separate misdemeanor accounts. Matthews was charged on at least three, while Taylor and DeLoach were only charged with two. Theft by deception is described in the Georgia penal code as "obtain[ing] property by any deceitful means or artful practice with the intention of depriving the owner of the property," according to Justia. 

Theft is charged as a misdemeanor in the state when the items taken are valued at less than $500. Each charge carries a maximum of 12 months in prison and a $1,000 fine, though maxing out on those penalties is typically rare in these cases.

All four players were booked late Monday night and released on varying bonds. Because they had the least amount of charges, Taylor and DeLoach paid $3,000 to be set free. Matthews' bond was no less than $4,500, while LeMay's $6,000 bond was the highest. The university has yet to release a statement on the matter, nor is it clear at this time who bonded the players out.

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 16: Sammie Coates #18 of the Auburn Tigers is tackled by Tray Matthews #28 of the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Auburn Alabama. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Nonetheless, this has to be yet another frustrating blow for Mark Richt's program—just hours before the players were expected to attend the opening of spring practice. The Bulldogs open their spring session Tuesday, and all four players were expected to contribute in some nature this season.

Although their statuses are yet to be determined, losing Matthews for an extended period would be the most bothersome from an on-field standpoint. A highly touted safety from Newnan High School in Georgia, Matthews made 36 total tackles and had one interception in nine games (six starts) as a freshman last season. Though Matthews dealt with injuries that limited the trajectory of his first season in Athens, big things were expected out of him in 2014.

The other three players involved in the alleged crime are typically used more for depth. Taylor finished with nine tackles and a sack across 10 games played in limited snaps, while DeLoach made only five appearances in 2013. LeMay, a redshirt freshman, has yet to make a collegiate appearance.

While it would be unfair to rush to judgement, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit had strong words about some recent Georgia players' penchant for trouble with the law:

In January, promising cornerback Shaq Wiggins was arrested and charged with driving on a suspended license. Going back even as far as 2010, there were many local columnists and people who cover the team regularly wondering whether Richt needed to have a stronger hand.

With the long-tenured coach already coming off a difficult 8-5 campaign last season, this was the last type of news he needed as his seat quietly gets warmer in Athens.

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