Updated: June 4, 2014
By Tanya Sichynsky
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A classroom disruption that Tray Matthews admits to causing forced coach Mark Richt’s decision to dismiss the sophomore safety from the UGA football program, Matthews said Wednesday.
The story circulating by Wednesday afternoon on social media about a verbal altercation between Matthews and a professor further fueled the notion that the sophomore from Newnan had discipline problems while at Georgia.
It comes on the heels of an arrest on theft by deception charges in March.
In an exclusive interview Wednesday evening with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Matthews admitted to having a loud and distracting conversation with a fellow UGA athlete on the final day of Maymester classes Tuesday, but vehemently denied having disrespected Dr. Ronald Bogue, the professor of his Children’s Literature course. Matthews says he was asked to leave the class of around 30 students but did not.
“We were just going back and forth on something and then the teacher just basically said, ‘Y’all be quiet, y’all are always talking.’ And that’s the only thing that happened,” Matthews said. “And the teacher was just, ‘Get out,’ and I was like, ‘Sorry, he just keeps talking to me. I wasn’t disrespectful to the teacher at all.”
Matthews also disputed a charge made by a fellow classmate in the 3000-level course that he told her to shut up and directed obscenities at her. Dr. Bogue, who will retire from UGA after submitting Maymester grades, could not be immediately reached for comment.
The incident in one of the Miller Learning Center’s many classrooms preceded Richt’s decision to let Matthews go by just a few hours. The disruption occurred toward the end of the nearly three-hour class around 1:45 p.m., and Matthews announced his dismissal on Twitter just minutes short of 5:30 p.m. Matthews blamed the disruption for his dismissal, but said he thought the arrest also played a part in the decision.
“That’s basically the reason why I got kicked off though,” Matthews said of the classroom incident. “That’s what [coach Mark Richt] told me basically. … Yeah, I think it’s kind of some of the arrest stuff, too, though. But I was basically, I was leaving anyways, I just hadn’t put that in the media.”
Matthews, who finished his first year at Georgia with 23 tackles and one interception, has since left Athens and is back in Newnan weighing his options. He says he has discussed his situation with former teammates Shaq Wiggins and Josh Harvey-Clemons, now both at Louisville, but will consider several schools for his next stop.