UGA fires Georgia football recruiting staffer injured in fatal crash who filed lawsuit

Athens Banner-Herald
The University of Georgia fired a football recruiting staffer injured in a January fatal crash on Friday, according to her attorney who claims its “direct retaliation,” for a lawsuit she filed last month against the Athletic Association.
Victoria “Tory” Bowles said in the lawsuit that Georgia athletics was negligent by allowing recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy to drive a UGA-rented SUV even though it knew she had multiple driving offenses including super speeder citations. Bowles sustained serious injuries as a backseat passenger.
UGA sent Bowles a termination notice for refusing to allow the school to interrogate her or access her personal cell phone, her attorney Rob Buck said. She was on unpaid leave from a job that paid her less than $12,000 a year before the crash that killed Georgia football offensive lineman Devin Willock and LeCroy.
Georgia athletics said in a statement: “Applicable policies require university employees to cooperate with internal investigations. Over the course of several months, Ms. Bowles was asked — on numerous occasions — to speak with our investigators and provide information, and through her attorney, she repeatedly refused to cooperate. As a result, we were ultimately left with no choice but to terminate her employment.”
UGA fires Georgia football recruiting staffer Tory Bowles
Buck contends that Bowles intended to cooperate in any UGA investigation related to the crash as part of the lawsuit. Bowles also sued former Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, who police say was racing LeCroy at up to 104 miles per hour.
“Regardless of any UGA ‘policies,’ she had no duty to submit to interrogation, or to turn over her personal cell phone to UGA or the Association [and was instructed not to do so by her attorneys], when she had a claim existing against the Association,” Buck said via email. “The demands to interrogate Tory, and have access to her phone, all relate to UGA’s and the Association’s attempts to avoid liability for the crash and preview or eliminate damaging information.”
Buck said UGA has used a “campaign of intimidation,” related to control of information from Bowles’ personal cell phone starting when she was hospitalized from the crash.
“UGA’s aggressive and heavy-handed tactics, undertaken in coordination with the Georgia Attorney General’s office and others, is apparently related to numerous text messages Tory received from various football program staffers and coaches pertaining to the football program’s recruiting activities dating back to 2019,” Buck said.
Georgia was reportedly looking into possible NCAA violations from hours before the crash that followed the team’s national championship celebration. The lawsuit said that Georgia assistant coach Chidera Uzo-Diribe authorized use of the SUV by asking her to take his personal ATM card and obtain $1,000 cash for personal use from a nearby ATM during an unofficial recruiting dinner at a Japanese steakhouse.
"The complaint alleges the money was for the Coach's personal use, and based on our review, we have no reason to disagree,” UGA said.
In a termination letter sent Friday, Georgia’s associate athletic director of human resources, Amy Thomas, wrote, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “You are also required to cooperate in any investigation of potential NCAA rules violations,” the letter reads.
Georgia has said that LeCroy and Bowles use of the SUV after their recruiting duties had ended that night were unauthorized, but the lawsuit said that the assistant coach asking her to retrieve money for personal use from the ATM shows it was used for non-recruiting activities.
Georgia said in a statement Monday night that “we wish Ms. Bowles well in her recovery, and we will offer no further comment on this matter.”
Said Buck: “Tory, like all other perceived liabilities to the football program, became expendable to UGA, and despite her loyalty and meager salary, has been steamrolled.”

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