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Bowl Rings not yet given to the historic 2017 football team

The Panthers win their last game of 2017 against Western Kentucky on Dec. 16. Photo Submitted by Georgia State Athletics

The Georgia State football team may not receive rings celebrating the first bowl win in program history. A series of tweets from players suggested there would be no rings commemorating neither the historic win, nor season on Wednesday Dec. 27.

The link to a GoFundMe page titled “Georgia State Football Bowl Rings” was attached to many of the tweets. Although $60,000 was the goal, only two donations equaling $12 were made. The campaign was no longer active the next day.

“When I played [at North Carolina State], the bowls all gave rings to the teams when they played. It’s kind of one of those things that faded through the years. And nowadays it’s a coach’s decision,” Athletic Director Charlie Cobb said.

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After Georgia State’s first bowl appearance in 2015, the team received rings although they lost the game and ended the season with a sub-500 winning percentage.

Players on the 2017 team who posted tweets regarding rings were T.J. Arnold, Taz Bateman, Camrin Knight, Remy Lazarus, Trey Payne, Kerryon Richardson, Cedic Stone and Bryan Williams.

Running back Bateman’s tweeted, “Crazy we are in this situation after all the work we put in before and during the season…but please share and donate if you can.” Payne, Richardson, Antreal Allen, Barry Brown, Michael Shaw, Ari Werts and David West liked the tweet.

Payne, a member of the most successful team in Georgia State history, was one of the more vocal players on Twitter. Seven tweets from Payne posted between Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 were supposedly made in regards to the situation.

A few tweets from Payne’s page include: “This is going to be something…”, “Bet they make something happen now”, “This man really said Participation trophy” and “Them must’ve been participation bonuses too?!”

Arnold and Lazarus both tweeted: “On behalf of our football team, we’d like to ask that we gain everyone’s supports to reach our goal. If you are unable to contribute, please share so that others that might be able to can see. #PantherFamily”. Both tweets were deleted from the upcoming redshirt sophomores’ pages.

The Bunker Mentality, a weekday show on 92.9 “The Game” quoted the deleted tweet with eight question marks. Marlon Young, a defensive end commit in the Class of 2018 also retweeted the post and captioned it “SHARE”.

Benedict, a host on Atlanta sports radio station 92.9 “The Game” retweeted the post and said, “I’m so confused by this. They got rings two years ago…now they have no money…What about the bowl payout? None of this makes sense.”

However, Cobb says the decision is not monetary based. Each Sun Belt team playing in a bowl game receives a $250,000 expense allotment for the trip. Travel is taken care of.

“At the end of the day, if somebody thinks whether or not you buy championship rings, bowl rings, graduation rings, those aren’t financial decisions,” Cobb emphasized.

Between roughly 150 and 200 individuals with the football program made the trip, including scholarship and non-scholarship players, coaches, personnel and trainers.

Part of the bowl trip is to stay at a four-star hotel at the Universal Resort and a $100 day-pass at Universal Studios. The team attended a Dec. 13 NBA game between the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers. Hart and cornerback Chandon Sullivan helped present the game ball along with two Western Kentucky football players.

“I think if you ask anybody that was there, anybody that’s part of the football program, that the Cure Bowl and going to Orlando, Florida for three or four days is probably the best bowl experience that the Sun Belt has.”

The Georgia State football team’s twitter account posted a photo from the night of the NBA game. One Western Kentucky player to present the game ball wore apparel with the Cure Bowl logo. However, both Hart and Sullivan had on sweats with the Georgia State logo, but no visible Cure Bowl logo. Under Armour is the sponsor of Georgia State Athletics.

However, a remnant of several players’ Twitter accounts is a retweet of Christian Cumberlander’s tweet: “At the end of the day, individuals want and deserve to be rewarded or acknowledged for their hard work or accomplishments…some type of way.”

Bateman, Richardson and Smith retweeted the tweet. Charlie Patrick, who announced his transfer on Dec. 29, retweeted Cumberlander’s tweet as well.

Williams, the first sixth-year senior in Georgia State history posted: “‘Tis the season of winning,” with the GoFundMe link. He tagged new Mayor of Atlanta Kiesha Lance Bottoms.

Smith quoted Bateman’s tweet, captioning it with: “They getting millions we getting pennies”, deleting it shortly after. Knight tagged Georgia Followers, World Star Hip Hop and Bleacher Report in his post.

Georgia State constantly shattered records in 2017 and finished with their best mark in Sun Belt history at 5-3. Cobb says there is a policy where if a Sun Belt Championship is won, rings will be given to the football team.

Elliott’s contract includes $50,000, if Georgia State wins conference championship. A $25,000 bonus is awarded for a post-season bowl appearance and an additional $25,000 for a win.

Georgia State Football Firsts in 2017 season

  • Most wins (7)
  • First Winning Season in FBS (7-5)
  • First Bowl Victory (27-17, AutoNation Cure Bowl, Western Kentucky)
  • Most Road Victories (6)
  • Fewest PPG Allowed (24.8)
  • First Shutout (28-0, Coastal Carolina)
  • Fewest Rushing YPG Allowed (136.4)
  • Most Points in a Game (47, Louisiana-Monroe)
  • Most Yards in a Game (670, Louisiana-Monroe)
  • Most Sacks in Season (24)
  • Fewest Interceptions thrown in a Season (9)
  • Highest Passing Completion Percentage (64.2)

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