ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia tailback and Heisman Trophy contender Todd Gurley was suspended indefinitely Thursday while the school investigates an alleged violation of NCAA rules.
The announcement came two days before the No. 13 Bulldogs face No. 23 Missouri in a crucial SEC Eastern Division game, a huge blow to the team and Gurley's Heisman hopes.
Georgia officials did not reveal the alleged violation. SI.com reported that the school was investigating whether Gurley was paid $400 to sign 80 pieces of memorabilia on the Georgia campus in the spring. Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman reported that Gurley is possibly being investigated for "accepting extra benefits for his likeness" with memorabilia brokers.
The NCAA requires schools to declare players ineligible if they discover possible rules violations. They can apply for the player's reinstatement after the investigation is completed, which happened with stars such as Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel.
"I'm obviously very disappointed," coach Mark Richt said in a statement. "The important thing for our team is to turn all our attention toward preparation for Missouri."
Florida's annual game against Georgia is Nov. 1 in Jacksonville.
Gurley, a junior who is expected to leave for the NFL after this season, leads the Bulldogs with 773 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, averaging 8.2 yards per carry. In addition, he has 11 receptions and a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD. He has accounted for more than half of the team's rushing yards, and he had nine of Georgia's 30 TDs.
The Bulldogs began the season with plenty of depth at running back, but that has taken a blow in recent weeks with injuries to top backup Keith Marshall and freshman sensation Sony Michel.
Freshman Nick Chubb, who ranks second on the team with 234 yards rushing, will likely start against Missouri. Sophomore Brendan Douglas is the only other back with significant experience.
If some of the offensive load has to be transferred to the Bulldogs' passing game, quarterback Hutson Mason has yet to throw for more than 191 yards this season.
georgia tech: Coach Paul Johnson fired back at comments by Duke coach David Cutcliffe that Tech has trouble recruiting playmakers at wide receiver because of the offensive style. "How many receivers have they put in the NFL?" Johnson said. "I can tell you. None. They've had one offensive player (drafted by) the NFL in his six years there. He probably ought to worry about his own business."
n.C. state: Coach Dave Doeren said Thursday he was joking about a reason for his team's difficult ACC schedule during his radio show Wednesday night. The Wolfpack is the only team this season to play heavyweights Florida State and Clemson in consecutive weeks, and it has to go nine weeks before its first open date. "You'd never know that somebody that graduated from the school down the street is the commissioner," Doeren said, a reference to ACC commissioner John Swofford, a North Carolina alum and the Tar Heels former athletic director. "I mean, you would never know that with our schedule."
notre dame: Coach Brian Kelly said the five players held out of practices and the first five games of the season because of an academic dishonesty investigation will not be available again Saturday against North Carolina. Cornerback KeiVarae Russell, receiver DaVaris Daniels, defensive end Ishaq Williams, linebacker Kendall Moore and defensive back Eilar Hardy have been held out since August. The Irish visit FSU on Oct. 18.