The heated verbal exchange between Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham following Saturday's Bulldog victory might result in more than just a round of apologies and finger-wagging.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that the SEC league office is "gathering information from all parties" on the incident, according to SEC spokesman Charles Bloom. Both schools have been asked to submit written reports providing their account of the situation. The conference could issues reprimands or even suspensions on those involved "parties," though Bloom added that it was "too early to comment" on any possible sanctions from the league.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told the AJC that he has met with Grantham face-to-face to review his actions. "Obviously the conduct that was displayed was not representative of how we want to conduct ourselves," McGarity said.
The incident apparently began with Franklin gesturing towards a Bulldog player that may have been safety Shawn Williams; Franklin said afterwards he wanted to confront Mark Richt with a complaint but found Grantham instead. The exchange between the two escalated into the image above and nearly sparked an on-field brawl between the two teams.
Richt said Sunday he had spoken to Franklin and regretted the incident. "I just think that tempers were hot [and] it was a very heated ballgame ... for everybody," he said. "[P]ersonally, I like it at the end of a ballgame when everybody can just walk across the field and shake hands and say good luck for the next one. Unfortunately, it didn't happen this ballgame."
Franklin apologized for the confrontation, with Grantham saying he wished things had gone differently ... while stopping short of issuing an apology. His statement to the AJC:
“First of all, I love my players and appreciate their hard work and investment in our program. I feel a responsibility and loyalty to protect and stand up for them. However, I feel it’s important to educate them in all areas of life. While my intentions were genuine, I feel it was unfortunate that things escalated to a confrontation. However, I’ll use it as a learning experience for myself as well as my players so that we all become better men.”Grantham's repeated emphasis that was was "standing up" for his players suggests that Franklin may have had something less-than-complimentary to say about the Bulldogs' performance (which included a punch thrown by nose tackle Kwame Geathers). But whatever Grantham's motivations, it's doubtful Mike Slive is happy--and if he's really unhappy, Grantham or Franklin could find themselves out a paycheck.
Image HT: Mocksession.com.