After initially being charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence, stemming from an incident on Dec. 24 of last year, Northwestern offensive coordinator Garrick McGee pleaded guilty on March 21 to reckless driving, according to Tulsa (Okla.) County court documents.
Punishments for this conviction, along with McGee's guilty plea for driving 16 to 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, according to the court documents, include $635 in penalties and 24 hours of community service.
As for school-related punishments, a spokesman for the NU athletic department Wednesday said all punishments (or the lack thereof) are undisclosed, per university policy. But, considering McGee was on the sidelines for the first two days of practice and even participated in a video interview for Nusports.com on Tuesday, it appears the university will not reprimand McGee significantly.
With the plea, both NU and McGee dodged a potential bullet, each avoiding the ugly (if slightly overblown) stigma of a DUI conviction and stopping the further spread of negative press the university has seen in recent years.
Still, the second-year offensive coordinator will carry another dubious distinction into next season, this one coming on the field: McGee was in charge of last season's 92nd-ranked offense, down 88 spots from the Wildcats' No. 4-ranked unit in 2005.
Whether another poor offensive performance this season would put McGee's job in jeopardy is pure speculation. And while 32-year-old head coach Pat Fitzgerald might need some more experienced assistants around him (nobody on the offensive coaching staff has been with the university more than four years), letting McGee go would be highly unlikely, given NU's utter reluctance to fire assistants -- especially ones with only two years on the job and a strong track record leading up to 2006.
But it's something to keep an eye on, considering NU's recent reputation as an offensive powerhouse. Also, with perennial All-Big Ten candidate Tyrell Sutton at running back, a slew of wide receivers in tow and C.J. Bacher seemingly the answer at quarterback, the talent is close to the level of 2005.
And, while McGee was not convicted of the DUI charge, and while DUI charges are relatively easy to come by, those three letters never are pretty in the public eye -- especially at a university still in the shadow of a few recent scandals.