Updated:ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia star wide receiver A.J. Green was suspended four games by the NCAA on Wednesday.
Look Back at A.J. Green's Career
Green sold a game-worn jersey from the Independence Bowl to an individual whom the NCAA ruled an agent. Green has given the $1,000 he received from the jersey to a charity, according to NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn.
The ruling comes after much speculation that Green was involved in the NCAA's probe into improper benefits given by agents to athletes at several schools, including North Carolina. Part of the probe was a party at Miami Beach. Green insisted he didn't attend the party, but Wednesday's announcement showed the NCAA was looking at other benefits received by the player.
Green issued an apology to Georgia coaches, his teammates and fans "for the mistake in judgment" in a statement released by the school. "I very much regret all that has taken place and the distraction that's been caused," Green said. "I've learned a valuable lesson and hope others can learn from my mistake. I can only focus my attention now on practicing and looking ahead to getting back with my teammates as quickly as possible." The 6-foot-4 Green is rated as one of the top receivers in the nation. He is projected as a possible top-five pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
The university has the opportunity to appeal, but Green would remain ineligible until the appeal process was completed.
The loss of Green is a blow to Georgia's hopes in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division before the crucial game at South Carolina. "Certainly I'm disappointed with the outcome," coach Mark Richt said. "However, we have games to play and that's where our focus needs to be in the coming days and weeks. Other players will have to step forward and I'm confident they will do that." Receiver Tavarres King, who was charged with underaged possession of alcohol this summer, served a one-game suspension against Louisiana-Lafayette and returns this week.
Green already missed the opening game against Louisiana-Lafayette. The suspension will keep him out of games against South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State.