That’s my NCAA!
Monthly Archives: March 2016
Maybe Kirby Smart can chime in with a “We’ll handle it. And it’s going to be a big deal.” about this.
If that doesn’t work, they can always try going back to the General Assembly again. Gotta keep that playing field level, boys.
I thought I was done posting about the Open Records law change, but then Tony Barnhart (“Are you $%^&* kidding me?” No, really!) pulled me back in.
June 20, 2017 – 8:30 AM EDT
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — In a stunning turn of events, the University of Georgia ended Stanford University’s 22-year stranglehold on the NACDA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup by storming into a first-place finish, fueled by national championships in eight different sports over the past year.
Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity credits the origin of the unprecedented surge to a change in the state’s Open Records law passed at the end of the 2016 legislative session.
“When it came to hiring and firing coaches, plenty of folks thought I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag with one end open,” McGarity said with a chuckle. “The reality was that having to acknowledge an open records request in three days was crippling our ability to compete. Now that the shackles have been removed, there’s really no ceiling on what Georgia athletics can accomplish.”
The facts appear to bear McGarity out on that. Georgia’s baseball team, which had been mired in mediocrity for several years, never lost another game in 2016 after Governor Nathan Deal, wearing a Georgia cap and woofing, signed the bill into law. Several other sports at the school took off in similar fashion, being capped by both the men’s and women’s basketball teams crashing their respective Final Fours and winning 2017 national titles.
Ironically, given that he was the only person at the school willing to acknowledge any contact with Georgia lawmakers about the bill, head football coach Kirby Smart was one of the rare coaches who did not bring a national championship trophy back to Athens, as Georgia was upset by Houston in the semi-finals of the college football playoff.
However, Georgia fans aren’t holding that against Smart, as the Dawgs have signed what is widely acknowledged to be the nation’s best recruiting class this season, capped by inking all but one of the top ten high school players in the country. (That one player, Eureka, California’s Tony Brown, had a mother who wasn’t impressed with Georgia’s sales pitch: “Kirby kept talking about this Open Records law thing like it was some big deal. I kept telling him I didn’t see how that would help me get to see my boy play football every weekend.”)
Naturally, Georgia’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed. Asked about the rash of changes to other Southern states’ Open Records laws passed in response – most notably Alabama’s, where the standard of within a reasonable amount of time has been replaced by “whenever Coach Saban feels like it” – McGarity acknowledged a concern. “For us, it’s about a level playing field. It’s something we’ll ask Commissioner Sankey to address at next year’s spring meeting. If that doesn’t work, then we may have to look at other options.”
Are there any other future legislative changes in store to help keep the Bulldogs on top? “I could tell you about those, but then I’d have to have Jimmy Williamson arrest you,” he answered. “No, seriously,” he continued when he saw this reporter smile.
There are certain deep philosophical questions I realize I’ll never get the answers to… like why does Greg McGarity continue to speak with the press?
Here’s the entirety of yesterday’s Q & A session about the change to Georgia’s Open Records law. Keep in mind as you read it, that McGarity’s had a week to prepare his answers.
Kirby (Smart) didn’t want to answer the question last night, but how does the Open Records amendment benefit the football program?
McGarity: “Oh, I’d let Kirby address that, I mean I thought he did that yesterday. My only comment on the FOI is that it gives us a chance administratively – I like it because it gives us a chance to respond in a timely manner. We’ve had close to 100 FOI requests since Dec. 1. And it’s not just you guys in the room that are making these requests, I mean they come from everywhere. And it’s not just, ‘I need this bit of information.’ They’re very lengthy and it takes a lot of time just to estimate the time and effort it takes for those people who are doing their regular job, not necessarily to stop everything to provide this information. And some of that stuff has to be done after hours. Because it’s not like we have staff that are sitting idly by just to deal with this.”
Couldn’t you, with the budget you have and the money coming in, afford to have an Open Records manager to handle that kind of stuff full time?
McGarity: “Sure, there are so many ideas that people have out there. I just know that right now with the way we operate, it’s taxing to a lot of people.”
But there is no other state in the SEC footprint that has it less than 15 days.
McGarity: Oh I don’t know, you would have to do the research.
Why would you all need 90 when no one else needs more than 15?
McGarity: “That’s what is in the legislation, or as I understand it, that’s what’s before in the legislative process right now.
Is that the number (UGA) suggested?
McGarity: “There’s no suggestion on our part.”
It just appears to be a lack of transparency if this is passed.
McGarity: “Kirby -”
Something could be percolating for three months and not see the public light of day.
McGarity: “I have expressed myself to you all on numerous times on how it affects how you have to operate. Even things from facility development to drafts of contracts, I’m very process-orientated person as far as notification, approval. We have to operate in that world now. But as I’ve told y’all several times, if it’s draft of contracts, it has to operate in another stratosphere because otherwise it would have to be another open record for you. It just makes our job difficult just to handle just our normal business. To where we can’t work as effectively as we could dealing with everything from facility development to drafts of contracts. It makes our job that much more difficult. That’s why I think it’s helpful administratively for all the institutions that are involved in this.”
How aware (of the bill) were you and the administration before the fact?
McGarity: “I’ve made my statement on that. That’s all I need to do on that.”
Well it obviously came out of Georgia. That’s what –
McGarity: “Kirby addressed that yesterday.”
Well he really didn’t when it got down to it.
McGarity: “He addressed it yesterday and his comments will certainly stand on its own.”
Do you worry that today it’s athletic associations, and later on this policy might spread to other areas of government?
McGarity: “I don’t know. I’m just focused on our world right now.”
Oh, brother. Not a word in there about recruiting. No acknowledgement that anyone at the school other than Kirby Smart had a hand in lobbying for a bill that benefits Greg McGarity more than any other public employee in the state (other than his peers at other state schools’ athletic departments). And even his whining about contracts doesn’t make any sense, since that’s the one area exempted from the expansion of the new time frame.
Now let’s get one thing straight here. McGarity and Smart wanted something and asked for it. There’s certainly no great crime in that. You can’t blame them for Georgia’s General Assembly being brain dead. But, man, if I were a legislator reading that exchange, I’d surely be ticked off that the AD didn’t even care enough to bother to keep everyone’s story straight.
Maybe next year Kirby can go back to them and suggest a bill that would prohibit state public school athletic directors from speaking with the media. It couldn’t hurt recruiting, could it?
I’ll be the first to say that anything has to be an improvement over the mess that was Georgia’ offense over the second half of last season, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see this quote and react with a certain amount of trepidation.
The first few weeks of spring practice are the most critical for offense installation, which Smart said is now finished. While sophomore tailback Sony Michel said that there were aspects of previous offenses that he can bring to Chaney’s offense, he added that it’s the most complex of the three offenses he has dealt with in his three-year career.[Emphasis added.]
“It’s almost like classwork,” Michel said. “You’ve got to actually sit down and study (the playbook). Some of the past playbooks, it was kind of easier that you could kind of put things together, but this playbook, you’ve got to actually study it and dissect it a little bit.”
Oh, Gawd. I hope we’re not continuing to look back fondly on Mike Bobo’s box of crayons a year from now.
Remember, there are people out there who will argue with a straight face that the current NCAA transfer policies are for the benefit of the kids.