This stuff just gets buttah and buttah.
Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart is the highest paid state employee in Georgia at a salary of $3.75 million per year. Along with the money the position brings is the influence — by his own recourse or not — of having a beneficial amendment added to a Georgia Senate bill that will allow for state athletics associations to delay the release of open records…
So how does such an amendment involving the delayed release of open records from college athletics departments show up in a bill dealing with economic development that late? Tom Krause, the chief of staff of state Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, who presented SB 323 to the Senate, gave an answer to the question.
“It’s a similar subject that, from what I understand, came to light through Kirby Smart at UGA,” Krause said in a phone interview with The Telegraph. “It had to do with football teams or athletic departments that are recruiting people in state of Georgia. They had a (shorter) window where the documents were not yet public, but other states had 90 days.”
Whether Smart or the Georgia athletics department had anything to do with this bill has yet to be confirmed. Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity and the university through a spokesperson both deferred comment…
No comment? Maybe Greg is finally wising up.
Which doesn’t mean we won’t hear the question being asked further.
Smart isn’t scheduled to speak with reporters until Tuesday. It’s yet another hot-topic issue his name has been tied to — the first being a change in stance regarding Georgia players wishing to transfer from the football program.
One can only hope that Kirby’s doing a better job of constructing an explanation than we heard at his last presser. In any event, for a man who’s been on the job less than three months, he’s covering a helluva lot of bases.
Final word on this, though, belongs in the political sphere. Take it away, Mr. Lieutenant Governor.
“I hope it brings us a national championship,” Cagle said. “That’s what I hope.”
Sadly, I suspect that’s how most of those folks think. As I like to say, we get the government we deserve.
UPDATE: So much for that “level playing field” BS.
Georgia’s current law is that a school must produce a requested record within three days, or provide a timetable at that time. A bill that Ehrhart co-sponsored is now on Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk, and would expand that to 90 days. That would severely hinder the ability of the media to provide real-time watchdog ability on athletics departments and teams, according to media members and open records advocates.
A survey of other state bylaws show that most others in the SEC’s footprint have pretty short response times:
- Tennessee: Seven days.
- South Carolina: Fifteen days.
- Mississippi: Seven days to respond and acknowledge the receipt of the request. Fourteen days to fulfill it.
- Louisiana: Three days.
- Texas: Ten days.
- Missouri: Three days.
- Kentucky: Three days.
In all of the above cases, those are business days, excluding weekends and holidays.
Florida and Alabama don’t have specific time frames in their statutes, but use “reasonable” as the standard. As you can imagine, reasonableness is in the eye of the beholder. And even including those cases, Georgia is doing something special in comparison.
But where Georgia will be unique is in having a separate state law for athletic departments, with protecting the Bulldogs – and specifically its football team – the stated aim.