ATHENS — There may be enormous speculation on the future for Mark Fox as coach of the Georgia men’s basketball team. But there is little doubt that he will be judged by what happens on the court, rather than be ensnared by the ongoing college basketball recruiting scandal.
Neither Fox nor Georgia has been connected to the FBI probe, or any whiff of impropriety, and there is zero expectation that would ever happen. Given the news that is dominating college basketball, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity was asked Saturday morning if he would offer any comment on how it impacts his view on the approach by Fox, and the coach’s status going forward.
Through a spokesman, McGarity offered this one-sentence response:
“We are proud of the way Mark Fox consistently represents the University and Athletic Association.”
Fox has been candid in his assessment of the probe and its revelations, reiterating Friday that he believes the revelations in a Friday report by Yahoo — on big-name programs and players tied to agents offering payments — was “probably just the tip of the iceberg.”
“We’ve always tried to make sure that Georgia would never be in that situation,” Fox said on Friday. “We believe in trying to do things right. And your attempt is to do that every day, in hopes of trying to be an example to the young people you’re trying to develop. But also to protect your institution. And that’s all we can worry about, is try to do the best that we can, the way we know how to do it.”
Georgia is going through a disappointing season, and entered its game Saturday against LSU with records of 15-12 overall and 6-9 in the SEC. The Bulldogs probably have to win their final three regular-season games to enter the SEC Tournament with a realistic shot at making the NCAA Tournament.
Fox has two years remaining on his contract, which he agreed to in 2015. He has led the Bulldogs to winning seasons in five of his eight seasons, though only two NCAA Tournament bids.
Last year, responding to a report that Georgia was preparing to move on from Fox, McGarity released a statement denying that and adding that Fox would return.