Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Appears to Be No Rescuing Troubled 'Dog

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Appears to Be No Rescuing Troubled 'Dog

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, Times-Union sports writer

Like the University of Georgia administration had much of a choice. It was merely a question of how the embattled president and embarrassed athletic director liked their basketball coach: medium or well done.

Either way, Jim Harrick is as good as cooked.

Georgia's decision yesterday to suspend Harrick with pay and ban the Bulldogs from the Southeastern Conference and NCAA tournaments -- after the school uncovered academic fraud involving two current players -- only means a slower career death.

Harrick hasn't been fired yet, but he's pretty much terminal.

The ripple effect from ex-player Tony Cole's allegations has finally unearthed enough skeletons from Harrick's baggage-filled past for inevitability to set in. It's doubtful anything can save the coach who has left a trail of smoking guns at his last three stops.

Not a son/assistant coach falling on the sword. Not players circling the wagons around Georgia's hoops leader. And certainly not another sit-down interview with Dick Vitale, a backfire that only accelerated the process leading to Harrick likely coaching his last game.

It appears the only matters to be resolved with Harrick are the amount of his severance and when the ax officially comes down. The coach who should have never been hired in the first place has to go.

Because the longer this investigation into Georgia's basketball program drags on -- never mind the separate examination of Harrick's questionable behavior at Rhode Island -- the more the school's reputation figures to be the subject of ridicule.

At a time when hoops scandals are already on the doorsteps of St. Bonaventure and Fresno State, the one at Georgia casts the largest shadow.

In this case, both the coach and the school have a much bigger profile in the national landscape. …

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