“Don’t get out ahead of us.”

I’m not sure this story has gotten as much attention as it perhaps deserves, in part because the major thrust of it seems to be about restricting colleges in Georgia from adding sports programs or changing competition levels, but it’s worth noting that the state Board of Regents has decided it wants to get in the athletic department budget management business, too.

Moving forward, the University System of Georgia will periodically review athletic programs for “financial and program soundness.” There will also be annual audits of separately incorporated athletic associations. It’s too soon to say what will happen to programs found to have financial problems.

Huckaby said the policy shows the board’s commitment to making sure the money students, donors and others provide is used properly.

“Used properly” is one of those eye-of-the-beholder standards.  I’m guessing that Hank Huckaby and Mark Richt aren’t always going to agree on how athletic department moneys will be spent, and that’s going to be tough luck for Mark Richt.  Of course he’s not going to hear about it directly from the regents, because they’ll use the school presidents as their cutoffs.  Which is why I tend to discount Bernard, Jr.’s bow to academics and expect there’s something, um, more political behind this.

Georgia is one of the few fortunate schools making money off its athletics.  In an era when its new president is sensitive to money issues resulting from less and less public support for the university system as time goes by, siphoning off some of those profits that football generates sure could come in handy.  And that’s something I doubt the BOR has missed.

Maybe I’m getting too far ahead of things here.  But at a minimum, it’ll be worth keeping a close eye on this over the next few years, especially since prospects for Georgia’s athletic department to continue as a golden goose look ever stronger.

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34 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., Georgia Football, Political Wankery

34 responses to ““Don’t get out ahead of us.”

  1. 81Dog

    I can see it now. BOR: you have a 50 or 60 or 70 million dollar a year PROFIT from your athletic department. You have palatial athletic facilities. How bout you take about 30 or 40 or 50 million of that and build some classrooms, pay teachers, etc etc.” Then, they cut the budget for UGA by 30 or 40 or 50 million.

    Net win for the taxpayers, possibly. Net loss for the Nick Sabans of the world. Where the rubber meets the road is, who decides how much to redirect to “academics,” and what constitutes “academics.” If we’re going to switch palatial monuments to athletics and huge salaries for football coaches for palatial monuments to academic administrators and huge salaries for tools like Mike Adams, I’d much rather the BOR kept their hands out of our athletic department’s pockets.

    This kind of reminds me of last week’s Time magazine story on the costs of hospitalization and medical care. The “non-profits” generate a ton of cash. The administrators make a bundle. At least our football guys are doing a pretty good job.

    • Dboy

      81 dog,

      “Net win for the taxpayers, possibly. Net loss for the Nick Sabans of the world.”

      The state of Alabama would never take from Saban and give to classrooms / academics. If so, the first intra-state civil war would be sure to follow.

      • Bulldog Joe

        Alabama’s strategy works.

        Invest the money in athletics. Allow athletic success be a key driver for increased enrollment and selectivity of the incoming freshman classes. Pull in more applicants who would have otherwise gone elsewhere.

        Allow the increased enrollment to fund the academic initiatives.

        • collegeparkdawg

          To the extent that Georgia did not follow the same strategy it was because we did not need to do so in the first place- we already were a large school and have gotten larger and are still bigger than Alabama in terms of enrollment. We were and remain harder to get into than Alabama. Bully for Bama, but so what.

          • Bulldawg165

            Not true. Just google University of Alabama and then University of Georgia. You don’t even have to click a link. Bama had a 44% acceptance rate in 2010, UGA had a 63% rate in 2011. I’m not comparing the same years, I know, but I doubt there would be a 20% swing in one year for either school.

          • Bulldog Joe

            It’s hard to argue with Alabama’s results. Alabama had a record fall first-year class of 6,397 students in 2012. Many are on line students which bring in revenue without the brick-and-mortar expense. Alabama had a 43.5% acceptance rate on 26,400 applications.

            Georgia’s 2012 first-year class of 4,970 students in 2012 is down from 2011. Georgia had a 55.1% acceptance rate on 18,954 applications. By these metrics, Georgia is no longer the larger and more selective university.

            • The ATH

              Acceptance rates are all bully and whatnot, but I think we’re still doing OK when it comes to silly little comparisons like SAT scores and GPAs.

              All these “selectivity” numbers mean, is that Alabama does a better job soliciting applications. I didn’t apply there for undergrad but for law school, they were incredibly ambitious re: getting those app numbers up – not just waiving application fees but throwing in free itunes $ to boot.

    • sniffer

      Is there something wrong with charitable, non-profits being supported?

  2. DawgPhan

    I think that making a goal of a $1billion endowment is a great goal and I would support efforts to achieve that goal including working with Athletics to make a more substantial commitment to the endowment. I still want to win the football games, but I think that we can do both.

  3. Bulldog Joe

    It would be interesting to see what the purpose of the audit is.

    Is the purpose to shine a light on how much money is being re-appropriated from the athletic board to the foundation?

    Is the purpose to make public how much these “undisclosed fees” are for managing the athletic board’s “investments” in the foundation?

    Is the purpose to let those who contribute annually to the Hartman Fund know if their money is actually being spent on athletic initiatives?

    Or is the purpose to squeeze even more money out of our athletic contributions to be spent on non-athletic initiatives?

    • 79dawg

      The purpose is to give the BoR and State even more raw political power over the University. My paranoia is that the Techies on the BoR team up with the increasing number of other colleges (Georgia State, Kennessaw, Georgia Southern and Georgia Perimeter) who are starting to gain clout, to screw us and us our money to prop up themselves. The days when ninety percent of the politicians in the state had gone to Georgia are “gone with the wind”, and the little brothers will be seeking payback…

  4. Dubyadee

    I actually like the idea that our athletic department is able to contribute financially to the academic mission of the university. The problems I have are:

    1. As 81 Dog said above, the regents won’t let UGA increase the size of its budget. They’ll cut funding, the school won’t be better off, and the AA will be worse for it.

    2. The politics. If UGA starts throwing off cash, its operation and management will become a political football. (See what I did there?)

    3. My general sense that we can’t trust these guys not to screw it up. The lasting legacy of the Adams administration is that our flagship university is managed and lead not by academics or fund raisers, but by political operatives.

    Sometimes I really miss Knapp.

  5. Dog in Fla

    “Morehead eyes private money to sustain UGA’s rise”

    What could possibly go wrong with Morehead paying any attention whatsoever to what Purdue President Mitch Daniels says or does?

    “So the once scintillating sputter, petty thievery, and massive PR flummery that was the political career of Mitch “Spud” Daniels, one-time Governor of Indiana, grinds to a much-needed halt tomorrow, as the Trustees of Purdue University, the majority of whom were appointed by Mitch Daniels, announce their choice for the next President of the state’s largest Ag college: Governor Mitch Daniels.

    This is a choice which makes a whole lot of sense, assuming you’re Mitch Daniels, or a Trustee of Purdue University.

    Daniels has no academic record, or more accurately, one no longer than his police record while a Princeton undergrad with a nascent interest in the art of the deal. His education record–excuse my, there seems to be something lodged in my gorge–as Indiana governor consists of Procrustean budget cutting, jawboning state universities not to raise tuitions to cover the resulting shortfall (they complied, mostly, but tuition still rose more than inflation over the past seven years), and starting up his own for-profit online certificate mill. His intellectual record is long on the apodictic certainties of Friedmanomics 101, and short on open inquiry. His five favorite books were all written by Ayn Rand.”

    http://doghouseriley.blogspot.com/2012/06/dont-let-door-hit-you-in-back-of-head.html

    After all, “as President George W. Bush’s original budget director, Mitch Daniels helped create today’s fiscal mess”:

    http://consortiumnews.com/2012/01/24/the-fiscally-reckless-mitch-daniels/

  6. Is this directed at us, or others? Tech hasn’t exactly been well managed financially as we’ve seen. You’ve got Southern wanting to step up to D1-A from 1-AA. You’ve got Georgia St moving up and building their programs, same with Kennesaw St. I’d add Mercer too, but they’re a private school.

    Basically, I wonder if this is a shot across Southern’s bow to tell them to stay in 1-AA, or targeting some of the smaller schools (maybe West Ga, Sav St, etc) and how they are running things and paying their bills.

  7. Bob

    If the BOR starts ‘taxing’ my donation away from athletics, I’ll just go back to scalping tickets and find something else to donate to.

    The BOR just took a giant dump on the city of Augusta, perhaps Athens is next. Just ask anyone from AC/ASU/MCG/GHSU/GRU or whatever it is called this week…

    • Debby Balcer

      +1 I think the BOR are worse than Adams. They dismantled Augusta State and MCG and named the combined school after themselves. They also are doing something similar to North Georgia all in the name of saving money. I fear what they will do with this new power. These appointees have too much power. If they decide they know better than the AD they can do what they want and no one can stop them.

      • Dog in Fla

        I blame Dr. Jere

        Great News for USG, Our UGA Colleagues and Our Medical Partnership

        “Please join me in congratulating Dr. Jere Morehead, UGA’s new president. Dr. Morehead starts his new job in July. Dr. Morehead has been a great partner and advocate for our GRU/UGA Medical Partnership. Our UGA colleagues and the Medical Partnership serve a critical role in educating more physicians for our state. We appreciate everyone’s support in this important endeavor. Dr. Morehead will do a wonderful job at the helm of this great institution and we wish him the best of luck! Please check out this link to know more about him- http://bit.ly/Yzsq2z

        http://www.georgiahealth.edu/medicine/dean/diary/

  8. Scorpio Jones, III

    I HOPE (and yes, I understand all that implies) the BOR is really more interested in places like Kennesaw State starting a football program when they really can’t afford one.

    Can all the athletics funds in Athens be audited by the BOR?

  9. W Cobb Dawg

    Another example of deal’s administration and state repub leadership getting their greasy & greedy fingers into UGA coffers. Next comes the politcal hack whores, appointees and cronies. Audits!? – give me a f-ing break. Just an exercise to divert funds to pals elsewhere.

    • Cojones

      They have always had their greasy and greedy fingers into UGA, second only to the Gov. Now they just have more to play and influence with. No wonder science (anti politico-llectual :) ) isn’t funded adequately in Georgia and other states.

  10. stoopnagle

    The BOR will try and UGA will counter. Tech and UGA play by different de facto rules than the other schools where governance is concerned.

  11. Tom

    The Senator said, “siphoning off some of those profits that football generates sure could come in handy. ” Ask TN about that. I know we aint TN, but letting the wolf in the henhouse isn’t a good idea. Politicians are looking for mo money, and will go wherever it is. The first article was about paying athletes and now the BOR wants to delve into UGA athletic cash. Looks like Athletic departments will be between the rock and hard place.

  12. Cojones

    Wonder if they have started closing the doors to their meetings?