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'Todd Gurley bill' overwhelmingly passed by Georgia Senate

The Georgia State Senate took a big step Tuesday toward cracking down on autograph hounds, overwhelmingly passing a bill that would make it a crime to bribe or entice student athletes to break NCAA rules by taking money.

Gurley was suspended last season for four games after reports surfaced that he had taken $3,000 over a two-year period for signing autographs. The incident prompted outrage across the country over NCAA rules that do not allow players to accept extra benefits while in college in order to maintain their amateur status.

Gurley eventually returned to the field for the Bulldogs, only to see his season ended early by a torn ACL. After declaring early for the draft, he is likely to become a first-round pick later this month, possibly even a top-10 selection.

Several Georgia alumni in the state legislature, however, won't let that be the end of the Gurley story in Athens.

Rep. Barry Fleming, who has two degrees from the university, according to the AJC, proposed a version of the "Gurley bill" in January that was eventually passed by the Senate earlier this week. The bill is set to make it a "high and aggravated misdemeanor" to solicit student athletes to accept money. Punishment for breaking the proposed law is up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

The Gurley bill was labeled officially as House Bill 3, in reference to Gurley's number. Several representatives also shouted, "Go Dawgs," after the measure was passed.

This is a sure sign that those in the South take their football seriously -- and now NCAA rules, too -- and it's hard to find a better example.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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