You got to spend money to make championships, ctd.

I don’t know if Seth Emerson had this post of mine in mind when he wrote this

There’s a perception out there among some fans that UGA, and specifically its outgoing president Michael Adams, haven’t supported Mark Richt enough financially. Adams spoke to that issue, without being asked, after the athletic board meeting on Tuesday night:

“I think there’s confidence in the building blocks that are in place here. Look at the facilities, look at the practice fields, look at the stadium additions, look at what we’ve done to be competitive with assistant coaches. (We) may not be the top in every little category, but across the board I’m not sure anybody provides any more total support than we do. … One of the things I’m proud about is you build great programs brick-by-brick and stone-by-stone over a period of time.”

But I’m pretty sure that won’t put the issue to rest for many fans.

Here’s what I can tell you: Yes, a full-length indoor practice facility would be nice. And yes, as long as the NCAA isn’t going to regulate off-field staff, perhaps it would behoove UGA and Richt to shell out for more.

But I don’t get the sense Richt has been demanding it, and been denied it.

Perhaps, once Adams has departed the scene, people around the program will open up a bit more on and off the record. But I can tell you that I’m not aware of Richt having made a specific request for something and been turned down for financial reasons, at least since Greg McGarity arrived.

Look, I’ve covered an athletics department that had a reputation for doing it on the cheap: South Carolina, under its former athletics director, was often criticized for things like refusing to send a pep band to the NIT championship in New York, or making the soccer team bus to a game rather than fly. I’ve never really heard of that type of thing at Georgia under McGarity. And McGarity has made pretty clear in my conversations with him, without coming out and saying it, that finances aren’t a major issue here. They have a reserve fund of nearly $70 million, after all.

A lot of what I think is actually at work here is a philosophical difference. Nick Saban and Alabama do things one way, relying on squeezing out every possible advantage and every possible dollar. Richt falls more in line with Steve Spurrier, whose philosophy tends to lean towards: Oh, we can survive without that.

… but it does seem to beg for some sort of response, so allow me to retort gently.  Seth, you ignorant slut.  No, wait… that’s not it.  Let me try again.

Seriously, I don’t think anybody’s accusing the administration of behaving like the owner in Major League.  And I’ve never been that convinced an indoor practice facility is the be all and end all that many claim it to be.  (Florida’s done just fine without one, for example.)  But it doesn’t change that Richt did make a public demand for one almost a decade ago only to be shot down.  Did he learn a lesson from that?  Well, let’s just say he hasn’t repeated the strategy since then.

As to the real issue here, the one that Seth specifically raised - Why isn’t Georgia spending money like Alabama to hire support staff and recruiting staff? - well, quite simply, that isn’t Georgia’s style.  And if you don’t think Mark Richt knows that, you haven’t been paying attention to some of the subtle things that have gone on over the years.  Like this.  Or this.  (I’m still curious to hear what Rodney Garner’s new contract terms at Auburn are.)  Richt deals with the financial reality in Athens in the low-key way he deals with most everything.

The folks at Butts-Mehre have been able to leverage the staff’s loyalty to Richt effectively over the years.  But when Tennessee and Auburn threw out the pay model for assistant coaches, many schools in the conference followed suit with multi-year deals and rapidly rising salaries for assistant coaches.  Georgia?  Not so fast.  Grantham remains the first and only assistant coach in Georgia football history with a multi-year deal and it’s likely that’s because it was the only way Richt could get the caliber of coach he wanted, given the demands of the market.

Nobody is going to confuse the Georgia administration with proactive behavior.  And I’m not even saying that’s a necessity.  But the SEC, financially speaking, is a very different place than it was even five years ago.  So when Seth says (accurately, I think),

That doesn’t mean Richt – and Spurrier, and others – won’t adapt. There’s a creeping realization that if the NCAA isn’t going to regulate non-coaching staff, and that Alabama is succeeding while hiring a bunch of consultants, that it may be necessary to follow Saban’s lead.

… all I’m saying is that I’m not sure that’s good enough anymore.  At least it shouldn’t be.  Nobody’s expecting Greg McGarity to morph into Mike Hamilton (or wanting that, Gawd forbid), but the flip side here is that in the context of a $70 million reserve fund and rapidly increasing athletic department revenues, the failure to read the handwriting on the wall from the new NCAA recruiting guidelines does seem like penny pinching.  And if Richt’s okay with that, he needs to reconsider his position.  Because I guarantee you plenty of his competitors already are.

50 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

50 responses to “You got to spend money to make championships, ctd.

  1. Mayor of Dawgtown

    The chintziness comes directly from Adams. When he’s gone hopefully good things will happen. I wish he’d blown town long ago, the POS.

    • Skeptic Dawg

      I am a little disappointed that you did not go with your “Georgia is not committed to winning” post. I honestly enjoying reading thoughts and/or beliefs on that subject. And I have been hearing that more and more since I first read your post on said subject. I am not beig snarky either. I do enjoy your thoughts on this subject.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Thanks SD. With the right leadership at the top I think UGA can and will be committed to winning. Adams held the program back, IMHO.

        • Scorpio Jones, III

          Mayor, while Adams may represent the face of chintziness, I still, and will continue to maintain that the essence of the University mission is promulgated above Adams….from the Board of Regents. There are members of this august body who quake at the very mention of the word Jan, let alone the full name.

          While on the surface at least, two members of the BOR have more than a passing interest in some aspects of the University’s athletic programs, it appears to me the mission guidelines coming down to Athens are more about academic than athletic glory.

          I may be wrong, which I will happily accept if that is proven, but I am afraid we had our shot at being “institutionally all in” under Fred and Vince…we blew that in a very public way. I ain’t sure we’ll ever get that opportunity again.

          But….I can hope I am wrong, Right ? :)

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            I would remind you that we had a mini-Kemp affair under Adams (caused by Adams’ meddling) with the Harricks a scant few years ago so the Regents’ continued concern is reality based. I get what you are saying SD but UGA doesn’t have to do anything crooked to be committed to winning at football and, for that matter, all athletics. As best I can tell, Bama isn’t doing anything illegal or against NCAA rules. We just need to work within the allowed framework and aggressively take advantage of all opportunities legitimately available. We do not need to recruit illegally or pay players like some (read: Auburn and likely Ole Miss) as sooner or later that will backfire on the programs that do. The lesson from the Kemp affair (and the Harrick affair) is that UGA has to be intellectually honest about providing a real education to the players and it looks like UGA is doing that. CMR runs a clean program. It now appears that he is using all the scholarships and moving toward a more professional approach in recruiting. The S&C program has completely turned around. I like what’s going on now and without cheapskate Adams I am optimistic that good things will happen in Athens.

  2. mp

    Another alternative is to force the SEC to make a rule about non-coaching staffs. It’s unlikely, obviously, but if a majority of the schools want to keep Saban in check, they would be well within their rights to do so.

  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    “Nick Saban and Alabama do things one way, relying on squeezing out every possible advantage and every possible dollar.”

    Incorrect statement. Alabama squeezes out every possible advantage and spends every possible dollar. There’s no money squeeze in Tuscaloosa.

    • SouthGaDawg

      If Georgia grayshirted, hired extra staff, and Richt was a horse’s ass but we win 3 national championships in 4 years, would anybody care about Georgia grayshirting, hiring extra staff, and Richt being a horse’s ass? Why is what Saban is doing wrong? No one seems to want to go there. Just askin’…

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        A legitimate question SGA. Why is it so bad when a player establishes that he cannot compete at the highest level and we know that he will never play, that he be told so and helped to transfer to a Georgia Southern or Jacksonville State where he WILL play and maybe even start? What’s so wrong with asking a kid, particularly one that is going to be red-shirted anyway, to start school 4 months later so he goes in under the next recruiting class when you discover, after things have all shaken out, that all the slots for this year are filled? If the NCAA allows hiring consultants that help you with recruiting and other schools are doing that, what’s wrong with us doing that, too? Sorry, I just don’t get it.

  4. rugbydawg79

    I think most Dog Alumni would think CMR deserves to get whatever he wants-Can we bring back Fred Davidson-He even gave the Rugby team our own field-which was taken away by Adams

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    I don’t know what it is with this Adams guy. He wants Georgia to be in the same academic breath as UNC and Virginia. Then he demands Jim Donnan be fired, forces Vince out, and hires Jim Harrick. Then he says, as he heads out the door, that we spend enough on athletics.

    Does Michael Adams have any consistent motivating thoughts at all?

    • Dog in Fla

      “I don’t know what it is with this Adams guy.”

      Notwithstanding graduate degrees* from The Ohio State University, what we have here is his failure to communicate?

      *1973 The Ohio State University, Ph.D. political communications
      1971 The Ohio State University, M.A., communication research methodology

      “Does Michael Adams have any consistent motivating thoughts at all?”

      Capitalizes “The” even when it does not begin a sentence?

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Well, ask a stupid question . . . ;-)

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        The answer is “yes.” Michael Adams is motivated to promote Michael Adams. If you understand that then all the seemingly inconsistent actions by him (inconsistent from the standpoint of acting on behalf of the University of Georgia) make sense.

  6. Jax

    I could write volumes about this subject since it transcends football or college athletics and translates into virtually every other business model that exists, but let’s just say that when management of any organization are not on the same page, then the results will be limited. Like it or not, that is reality. Why has Alabama been successful under Saban?, it’s b/c Mal Moore asked for and received permission to stop fucking around with half-ass hires and offer the best coach available the largest compensation package in the country. People scoffed at the amount Saban was being paid b/c they were comparing it to his peers and not viewing it as an investment. You think Mal Moore’s investment paid off? Hell yes it did, and in ways that cannot be quantified. The economic impact of Alabama football is tremendous – for large and small businesses all over the podunk state. Look at the SEC’s most successful athletic program over the past 20 years, Florida, and you’ll quickly see that Bernie Machen and Jeremy Foley are joined at the hip and the results speak for themselves.

    It’s possible that incoming President Morehead, who has taught classes in the Terry College of Business for years, will understand the necessity to support McGarity wholeheartedly so that he GM may remove the constraints that have existed under Adams and allow us to reach the potential that we all know exists.

  7. HVL Dawg

    There’s no one out there who is a bigger homer for Mark Richt than I am, but I’m honest enough to know he has limitations. I don’t think the man has a lot of strategic creativity.

    What would he do with 8-10 additional non coach staff persons? I really don’t think our coach (unlike a Saban) has the creative vision to easily manage the additional resources if he was given them. It would end up being a time and energy burden that would end up diluting /weakening his other attributes.

    We are talking cutting edge college football philosophy here, and as much as I appreciate Coach Richt (very much), I don’t put him in the cutting edge category.

    This is where McGarity can/should make up the difference. He needs to recognize our coach’s strengths and limitations and support/manage him accordingly. Don’t want to have to support/manage a $3 million year coach? Well, then you can always go the Mike Hamilton route.

  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    I believe Alabama’s marginal return on its additional recruiting spending is gonna be pretty small. Its expenses right now are probably gross compared to the FBS mean. How much better can it get?

  9. cube

    In terms of football profit, we’ve been in the top 3 in the conference for the last 10 years or so. But we’re also consistently middle of the pack in terms of money spent on football. On top of that, our reserve fund is one of the highest in the nation. Yet, we still don’t have an indoor practice facility even though the current coach and his predecessor basically begged for it. We can debate whether other expenditures have been requested all day long but we know for a fact that the indoor practice facility has come up a number of times.

    What is wrong with this picture?

    • Jax

      the athletic program is secretly run by some Atlanta jews.

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Easy boy. ;-)

        • Jax

          This post removed by administrator.

          [Admin. note: Jax, you may think this crap is funny, but I don't. One more racial or anti-Semitic crack and you'll have to take what you think passes as wit to another blog.]

    • As long as we play outside, an indoor practice facility is a huge waste of money, arguably even worse than useless. More quasi-coaches I can see, but $30 million white elephant that either becomes a crutch (it’s too windy to be outside, it’s too hot, it’s too cold/oh damn, we have to play when it’s windy or hot or cold), or else gets used 3 times year because there is a thunderstorm, but not such a bad thunderstorm that it’s safe to have 125 people in a big flat-roofed building is absurd, I don’t care who asks for it.

      At some point football throws off enough money that even piling it up and burning it is not the worst thing in the world, and with basketball now well taken care of with the practice facility and a refurbished Steg, that point may be near. But more bodies on the staff arguably translates to a team that is better prepared on Saturdays. An indoor practice facility risks undermining preparedness, at great expense. Pass.

      • HVL Dawg

        We’ve lost three pretty important indoor games in the last two years.

        Just sayin.

        • That’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone try to argue that an indoor facility prepares you to play in domes. Even if it were true, it would be absurdly wasteful, and I suspect the reason no has argued that is because it isn’t true. A dome is very different than an indoor practice facility.

          At no point in any of those three games do I remember thinking man we’d be stopping all those Boise slants, or tackling the Honey Badger or stoning Bama’s backs if we just had practiced indoors that week, In all three cases, we lost because the other team had better players (or at least a number of players we had no answer for) and was better coached. Hiring 10 qausi-coaches might fix that, by buttressing recruiting and game prep, or it might not. But a building isn’t going to win a game for us.

      • cube

        The head coaches wanted it and talked about it quite a bit. That to me says there’s a reason for it. That and the fact that many schools have them (I just read an article that is 2 years old that said Auburn was constructing one and joining 6 other SEC schools that already had them – and I know A&M has one).

        And I disagree with your assessment that there are only 3 days a year when storms force the team indoors. There are probably 3 days in August and September alone. Oh, and when one of those days is the week before a huge game…it matters.

        • OK, five? Thirty million dollars for 5 practices? Does it matter that much?

          There’s either an argument you can articulate for why we need one or there isn’t. That Auburn built one it didn’t need out of Bama-envy is irrelevant.

          Our coaches fell under the spell of challenge-oriented directional kicking for two years. I support CMR, but he’s proved two things to me. He’s a really good coach. And he can be really wrong about some things. To the extent he’s for this, he’s wrong.

          Millions for support staff, not one penny for indoor practice facilities.

          • cube

            And the other 6 SEC teams besides Auburn and Bama that have them also have no clue? The coaches who wanted them have no clue? Give me a break.

          • HVL Dawg

            Face it. We ARE going to have an indoor practice facility some day. Everyone in our league will. Don’t be noodge and and pretend we won’t. The facilities arms race requires it. Are we going to be the last school in the league because of knuckle draggers with the-game-is-played-outdoors argument?

            • Always Someone Else's Fault

              +1

              You have to stay in a hotel 3-5 years. You don’t really like to swim. But one has an indoor heated swimming pool, and one doesn’t. Someone else is paying your bill. All other things being equal, which do you choose?

              We might like to think recruits make decisions on the factors we consider relevant, but the truth is that “shiny and new” sells us on all sorts of things, every day. Providence Place replaces Madison Square Mall, right?

  10. Krautdawg

    Senator, how does this fit with the legend of the first McGarity-Richt conversation — i.e. where McGarity allegedly asked Richt “what do you need to do your job?” Back then, the buzz was that McGarity was ready to spend what was necessary to keep up. Now, it seems more like McGarity was authorized to spend what was necessary to keep up … with Florida. Are we going to have to hire away a member of Bama’s brain trust too?

  11. What fresh hell is this?

    Thanks for the vintage SNL reference Bluto. You brought back many good memories. Maybe some Samurai tailor down the road?

  12. HVL DAWG, you are right on about CMR! He’s a very good coach and I like him a lot, but he is still not in the same class as CNS!

    • AthensHomerDawg

      And to think that little Nicky wasn’t Bammer’s first choice.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Truthfully, when it comes to all aspects of running a football program who IS is the same class as CNS? Urban Meyer? Chip Kelly, maybe? I don’t even think Steve Spurrier is. You run out of names really quickly.

  13. Joe

    I have nowhere else to express this, but UGA should literally file a criminal complaint with the refs in this basketball game. With 2:13 left, this is an absolute mockery of sport.

    The refs have literally destroyed the legitimacy of this basketball game. I do not understand how this is allowed in these sports. The games are being absolutely ruined and they are not an accurate measure of what is actually happening on the court.

    • Joe

      UGA absolutely dominated this basketball game and has had it stolen, not by the players on the court, but by the incompetent officials. I feel bad for the players and Mark Fox. Not one to normally complain about refs, but this is among the most egregiously badly officiated games that I have ever seen. UGA won the game. It is an absolute travesty that this is going to overtime.

  14. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Items like indoor practice facilities and weight rooms are funded by private donations, are they not? One-time capital campaign type items?

    You could argue that Alabama’s football fund-raising comes at the expense of other items on Alabama’s campus that would have received the money instead, but that’s not been my experience with donor behavior.

    Kentucky basketball can raise as much money as it wants or needs. It simply takes a competent President and AD to convince the right people that their money will build the program towards a better future.

    When it comes to the administrative/fund-raising/vision side of things, seems to me that Georgia football leaves a lot on the table.

  15. Bright Idea

    And whomever writes the rule book. A technical on Gaines for elbowing the jackass in the face while Gaines possessed the ball is crap. Anyone that thinks an indoor football facility is not an advantage that UGA needs is shortsighted. Anyone who thinks that Adams will not be running UGA after July 1 is as dense as a London fog.

    • Lrgk9

      Adams is GONE.

      Now the people that have been running Adams – that’s another matter…

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I guess that I am in a fog but I really don’t think that Jere Morehead is gonna let Mike Adams tell him what to do after Adams leaves as Prez, plus there are enough Regents who don’t like Adams (damn near half I believe) where he won’t be able to operate behind Morehead’s back. Once Adams is out–he’s out. Hell, a lot of people feel they should have canned him years ago.

  16. Bright Idea

    Adams will still have office space on the UGA campus and be a faculty member. He only retired to claim the golden parachute. His ego will never let him not use the “bat phone.” He might even retain a seat on the athletic board.