USA Today’s Ray Glier reviews Behind the Hedges: Big Money and Power Politics at the University of Georgia, which centers on the Michael Adams-Vince Dooley power struggle, but sounds like it turns over a lot more rocks than that.
See if this doesn’t get your blood boiling:
Among the details in the book:
• The school spent $138,000 for Adams’ presidential party in New Orleans when Hawaii played Georgia in the Sugar Bowl following the 2007 season, with $28,000 spent on a party Adams hosted at a popular New Orleans bar, Pat O’Brien’s. The money came from the school’s athletic association, according to the author, who reviewed previous reports of the party in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
• Don Leebern, a millionaire member of the state’s Board of Regents and an Adams’ ally, asked Dooley to make gymnastics coach Suzanne Yoculan an associate athletics director because the gymnastics coach at Alabama, a Yoculan rival, had a similar title. Dooley refused, and Barbara Dooley said in the book her husband’s decision to buck Leebern helped get Dooley pushed out as athletics director.
Yoculan’s gymnastics teams have won nine national championships. She and Leebern have a personal relationship.
• The book looks at the $250,000 Adams paid in a side deal to Donnan. The payment was never approved by the athletics board, and the audit by Deliotte & Touche said there was an effort to conceal the payment from the school’s athletics board.
• The audit report, which is included in the book, found that Adams’ family and friends received tickets to the presidential box at home football games under the guise they were major donor prospects to the university. The audit said Adams might have violated IRS tax code on taxable fringe benefits.
• Dooley said Adams wrote a letter to a high school basketball recruit taking credit for the hiring of Georgia basketball coach Jim Harrick and calling Harrick a “long-time friend.” Dooley wanted to hire Mike Brey, the current Notre Dame coach, who was at Delaware. Brey cooled to the job. Later, Dooley said Brey told him he was so put-off by Adams during an interview that he could not work for Georgia.
Let’s just hope nobody gives Mike Anderson a copy of the book.
And the most telling paragraph in the piece?
Whitt, the book’s author, died in January of a heart attack. He had been urged to write the book by former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell, a prominent Atlanta attorney and Adams critic. In the book, Bell, who has since died, said Adams used the athletics vs. academics angle to thwart any pressure from the Board of Regents and saved his job.
Let’s see, pissing off powerful people and hiding behind athletics bashing doesn’t strike me as the best recipe for success. The release of this book is bound to stir up some powerful feelings. We’ll see how long Adams can go with a “no comment”.
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