ATHENS, Ga. (WRCB) -- Mark Richt has many attributes that set him apart from many coaches in the current college football landscape.
He's open about his Christian beliefs. He's generous. He's compassionate.
And because of those characteristics he was recently in trouble with the NCAA.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was first to report the University of Georgia head coach violated NCAA rules when he paid a total of $25,000 out of his own pocket to staff members over a three-year period because he felt they were under compensated.
The violations included payments to an assistant coach who was denied a raise by UGA, and a staff member who took a pay-cut when moving to a different position.
The university self-reported the violations, which were considered secondary. Athletic director Greg McGarity argued Richt's behavior was not rogue because the athletic department had previously sanctioned monetary gifts from Richt.
In 2009, Richt paid a total of more than $15,000 to ten non-coach staff members, including video coordinators and administrative assistants, who were denied a bowl bonus from the school as part of the university's cost-cutting measures in a tough economy.
Those payments were not considered NCAA violations because the athletic department was aware of Richt's actions.
Richt and the recipients of the payments received letters of admonishment, and Richt received extra rules education. McGarity told the AJC the matter was considered closed as of November 30.
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