georgia roster considerations

Future Roster Scenarios to Consider

There is a lurking roster scenario for Georgia that must be addressed.

No, this roster scenario is not a pipe dream nor does it require multiple steps to reach the point where this could happen.  It is also far more feasible and even reasonable to expect than any of the oddball Mark Richt propositions. These are logical roster scenarios that may leave Mark Fox scrambling more than usual in Spring 2016 and actually having to bring in graduate transfers to provide some form of cover for the 2016-17 season.

Mark Fox could end up with as many as three open roster spaces on his team by April 2016.  Fox currently has one vacant spot, but there is a possibility for attrition.  How is this possible?  His two highest achieving student-athletes may make things a bit complicated for different reasons.

Houston Kessler’s Graduation and Law School Aspirations

Kessler is set to graduate with his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in May and whether it is the AB track through the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences or the BBA track through the Terry College of Business is unknown.  For those that are not UGA alumni, the University of Georgia is a bit quirky in its approach with the Economics major:  Those that are Economics majors at UGA may seek to have a liberal arts elective base or a business elective base and this determines the AB degree designation (Franklin College) or BBA degree designation (Terry).  There is also the possibility that he is in the UGA Honors College and is in the AB/MA program, but this is also unknown.

Kessler’s graduation is imminent and he wishes to attend Law School after he completes his Bachelor’s Degree.  There is a big problem here if Kessler chooses to attend Law School in Fall 2016 and it is three-fold:

  1. How on Earth would Kessler be able to balance the demands of being a 1L and a Georgia Basketball player without sacrificing one or the other?  Ask any lawyer, law school student or law professor and they will tell you that in 1L… Life is Hell.
  2. Law School Final Exams (especially during 1L) are typically 100% of the grade in each class, which means that all of the preparation goes toward that one big week that holds everything in the balance.  These exams are extremely important as they shape not only final class rank, but prestigious Law Review and Summer Associate positions tendered.  Not being completely focused during 1L does not bode well professionally.
  3. Kessler will likely attend UGA Law School as UGA Law tends to weigh GPA far more in their admissions process than the LSAT and thus a graduate transfer possibility would be less likely.  If he attends UGA Law School, will they have a problem with Kessler’s athletic obligations?

Kessler could choose to pursue a Master’s Degree next season and delay attending Law School until Fall 2017.  Kessler would be able to easily balance the rigors of Graduate School and College Basketball.  Law School is a unique academic experience that is different from traditional Graduate programs.

Juwan Parker’s Health and Professional/Academic Aspirations

Parker is going to graduate from UGA this December as Coach Fox had mentioned at the Preseason Banquet that he was going to finish his Bachelor’s Degree in 2 1/2 years, which means that he finished a four year degree midway through his third year of studies. Parker was named to the NABC Honors Court, aspires to attend Graduate School and pursue a career in Sports Administration.

Parker is still recovering from surgery after suffering a partially torn achilles, he may not be the same player until next season and if he cannot fully recover, the possibility of an medical exemption is certainly on the table. The hope and strong continuing expectation is that Parker fully recovers and continues to be a student-athlete at the University of Georgia.  It would be a great thing for Parker to eventually become a part of the University of Georgia Athletic Association and work his way up through the organization.

When an orthopedic clinic publicly sets expectations for full recovery to playing a physically demanding sport at 8-9 months post-surgery and when examining Fox’s conservative approach… the question must be raised, “Was Parker cleared to play too early post-surgery?”  We don’t know and it is none of the public’s business to know.

However, the worst case scenario remains on the table as a possibility.

Let’s Appreciate what Kessler and Parker have done at UGA

Far too often, the student part of the student-athlete experience is completely forgotten or dismissed.  Kessler and Parker have bright futures ahead of them regardless of what happens on the basketball court.  Both have decisions to make and in Parker’s case, a recovery from an injury that is more of a process than hoped.

The possibility that Georgia needs to pick up another student-athlete beyond the current vacancy exists at the end of the 2016 season.  Saying otherwise would be willfully ignorant.