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Todd Gurley suspension reignites NCAA amateurism debate
3:26 | College Football
Todd Gurley suspension reignites NCAA amateurism debate
Tuesday October 14th, 2014

Georgia head coach Mark Richt said at a press conference Tuesday that there's still no timetable for running back Todd Gurley's potential return.

Gurley was suspended indefinitely by Georgia last Thursday due to a potential NCAA rules violation that the school is now investigating. The school said Monday that it had no update on Gurley's status, even though he returned to practice with the team on Monday.

Georgia didn't reveal the nature of the potential violation, but SI.com's Andy Staples reported that a person told Georgia that Gurley was paid $400 to sign 80 items of memorabilia in Athens, Ga., this past spring.

It was reported last Friday that Gurley could miss the entire 2014 season due to the ongoing investigation. Georgia announced the same day it had retained a lawyer for Gurley.

ELLIS: Heisman Watch: Gurley's suspension shakes up leaderboard

Unlike a similar case involving former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel last year, which first emerged in the offseason, the fact Gurley's investigation has developed in the middle of the season could make it more difficult for his status to be resolved without him missing significant time. Manziel missed just the first half of Texas A&M's season opener. 

In Gurley's absence last Saturday, freshman running back Nick Chubb ran for 143 yards and a touchdown, helping the Bulldogs to a 34-0 win over Missouri.

Richt said Monday he's hopeful junior running back Keith Marshall can return from ankle and knee injuries in time for this Saturday's game against Arkansas, while he's targeting the Nov. 1 game against Florida for freshman running back Sony Michel's return from a shoulder injury.

Gurley, considered a candidate to win the Heisman Trophy before his suspension, has 94 carries for 773 yards and eight touchdowns this season in six games.

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The junior has received support from Georgia fans and others since his suspension was announced. Manziel first tweeted his support Friday with a "#FreeGurley" hashtag and then expanded by saying he believes college athletes should be allowed to profit off their images and likenesses. UCLA linebacker/running back Myles Jack used the same hashtag in an Instagram post Monday.

Florida State quarterback and defending Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is also currently being investigated by his school for possible violations involving autographs.

Georgia is 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC this season and currently in first place in the SEC East.

Ben Estes

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