We’re not on a need-to-know basis. Why?

But McGarity doesn’t keep those journals anymore. He told me he quit doing it once he realized such recordings are subject to Georgia’s – as well as Florida’s – open records, or “sunshine” laws.

In fact, McGarity claims he doesn’t write anything down anymore, via pen or digital key stroke. He said he conducts as much of UGA’s athletics business as he possibly can “verbally,” so that there’s no record of it.

Chip Towers, AJ-C, March 24, 2016

You know, it’s funny.  We’ve had a couple of spirited debates at the blog this week about politically-related matters.  The one in response to the religious liberty bill that’s awaiting its fate with the governor, even though our discussion wandered far afield from the issue I posted about and even though some of you have been fairly heated in the bill’s defense or on the other side… well, that one hasn’t bothered me, because while I disagree on the policy, I can certainly understand and respect why some passionately advocate for the bill’s passage.

It’s the change to Georgia’s Open Records law and the reaction from many of you to it that has me scratching my head this morning.  I mean, here’s something that passes in the 23rd hour with little or no debate to speak of and gives a narrowly tailored break to a special interest.  Regardless of where you line up on the political spectrum, from avowed libertarian to Bernie Sanders’ staunchest supporter, by itself, that’s the kind of stuff that should get your hackles up.

Instead, many of you appear to be full-throated supporters of the rule change, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why, other than perhaps from a knee-jerkish coach good/media bad perspective.  But I’d like to understand.  So for those of you who think the longer delay is a great thing for Georgia football, I’ve got a few questions for which I’d like to hear your answers.

Start with this one:  how does this change in the law help the football program win?  Or, to put it more crudely, if you thought Georgia was going to win, say, nine games this season, how many more wins this year do you see this new reporting delay adding?

I realize by starting there, I’m contributing to the fiction that this is about the football team and Kirby Smart’s recruiting efforts.  I’m not the one selling that.  Georgia’s lawmakers are.

“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.”

Chip Towers has a rebuttal to that…

I see that some fans are applauding this as a move that is somehow going to “level the playing field” with Alabama and Auburn and some of the Bulldogs’ other rivals in football. Ehrhart actually asserted as much. But I fail to see how this bill could possibly have an effect on anything that happens on the football field.

Just so you know, here’s how we generally utilize public-record laws in the course of doing our jobs covering UGA athletics. At regular intervals, we ask Georgia for:

  • Documentation of any NCAA rules violations committed by any of their sports programs;
  • Copies of any new employment contracts or salary actions;
  • Copies of any new game contracts they might have made in football or other sports.

Yes, occasionally, we’ll ask for some kind of specific information like we did last month with regard to recruiting travel. All that happened there was it became apparent in December and January that Smart was traveling a lot by private jet and occasionally by helicopter to recruit and conduct UGA football business.

Somebody at the office asked the simple question, “I wonder what that costs?” So we asked Georgia.

And Georgia dutifully complied by producing the receipts and expense outlays. The public had a right to know. And certainly UGA Hartman Fund donors, who give athletics in the neighborhood of $22 million to $24 million a year for the right to buy season football tickets, had a right to know that the Bulldogs had run up more than $550,000 in private-air expenses since Smart came on board.

How in the world any of that could have prevented Georgia or will prevent Georgia from winning one football game is beyond me.

One thing I’ve never asked for, and I’m guessing nobody else does either, is for a list of recruits planning to make official visits on a given weekend. That was the assertion of Ehrhart in one of his comments on the need for this legislation. If ever we’ve wanted to know who is visiting UGA, we ask the recruits themselves. I suspect everyone else does, too.

… and while that’s all fine, it, too, skirts the question.  Kirby Smart is just the face they put on this bill to make the medicine go down smoothly.  The real beneficiary is Georgia’s athletic department and its athletic director, which leads me to my second question for you happy people.  If you haven’t been content with Greg McGarity’s management of Georgia athletics, how is allowing him to cloak his actions for any extended length of time a good thing?

There’s a third question worth considering, although maybe it’s just something that comes from me having a blogger’s perspective on this.  Sure, this new law will put a damper on any would-be Pork Rind Jimmys in our midst, but what exactly do you expect the professional media will do in response?  If a story worth investigating comes up, are reporters simply going to look at each other, shrug and say, “well, boys, I guess we’ll have to wait ninety days before we can do anything”?

Hardly likely.  Instead, they’ll do what the media does.  They’ll find other avenues from which to dig out the story.  And it’s worth remembering that there will be more stories.  You don’t go to the General Assembly to ask for help like this unless you know there will be more stories that you want to keep under wraps as long as you can.  (And it’s the Watergate-era in me, I suppose, that makes me believe the coverup is always worse than the original misstep.) So what exactly is being gained here, other than to inconvenience people you don’t like?  Is that really worth giving up finding out on a timely basis – or maybe even at all – about something that matters to you?

I’d like to understand what I’m missing here, especially since the folks who passed the law don’t seem to have given that much thought.  Help me out in the comments, those of you who think this is the best thing for Georgia football since Erk Russell.  (Yes, I know I exaggerate.  A little.)

82 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

82 responses to “We’re not on a need-to-know basis. Why?

  1. watcher16

    “If you haven’t been content with Greg McGarity’s management of Georgia athletics, how is allowing him to cloak his actions for any extended length of time a good thing?”

    Not saying I fully support the legislation (I think our lawmakers have waaay more serious matters they should be focusing on), but I do believe it might give the AD more time to think about his answers (or at least work with some PR people) before spewing something out of his mouth and inserting his foot.

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    • No it won’t. If he conducts an interview (think back to that disaster with Mark Bradley), or responds to a reporter’s question, that has nothing to do with the Open Records Act.

      Go back and read that initial passage in my post. McGarity’s already well aware of the law’s impact. It sure hasn’t had much of an effect on his public commenting so far.

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      • watcher16

        My point is, if it is a contentious issue then UGA has more time to prepare for its release and more time for McGarity to prepare his response, instead of providing something in 3 days and being asked about it immediately

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        • What was contentious about it? Hell, everyone, including me, thought it was great Kirby was getting every dollar he could for recruiting then.

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          • watcher16

            Quit limiting the conversation to just recruiting. My argument is for any topic that could come up under the spectrum of athletics.

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          • Irwin R. Fletcher

            I think our lawmakers have waaay more serious matters they should be focusing on

            Sunshine laws are pretty important. And doctoring them up and circumventing the political process to serve a special interest, even if it is Georgia Football, is a pretty big deal.

            People want to have a debate on the ‘merits’ of the bill…do you all understand how messed up it is that we can have a debate on the bill in the comments of a football blog but there will literally be no debate or process on the bill in actual legislative proceedings? This isn’t Soviet Russia. Ends don’t justify the means.

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  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Senator I speculate that the lack of opposition to the FOIA amendment (is that what it’s called?) is because that’s an issue not on people’s minds every day, nor in the news as much as these religious liberty things. Maybe the comments here are people’s first quick reactions, and throw in a dose of the usual cleverness we get here.

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  3. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    in the context of public officials purposely and intentionally creating, by law or fiat, a system by which it is not possible to truly hold them accountable, this is an abomination.

    Your blog readers skews center right. If a certain candidate for president came out with the statement from McGarity, it would be considered a disqualifying statement because of her intent to hide simple facts about her actions from the American people.

    To the same extent, we pay McG’s salary and this is just more of the same from politicians where rules are for the little people. were I one who could get laws passed, my response to McG’s practice and this bill would be to mandate by law that a stenographer take note of all discussions involving McG, which would become part of the public record.

    The thing that infuriates me most as I watch the news is the absolute lack of consistency from people defending actions so long as it’s “their” guy doing it.

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    • Mike Cooley

      Great post. It’s never the song that is the problem for a lot, hell for most people, the si get is the problem. American politics has been reduced to a bunch of screaming children fighting over what is best, chocolate or vanilla.

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    • Cosmic Dawg

      Great damn post, Senator, and a whole page of thoughtful comments as well – this blog at its best, imho.

      One boring side note regarding your suggestion that libertarians and Bernie Sanders are polar opposites. I tend to think of the political spectrum as a ring, not a line, and going the other way around the ring, I’m probably not too far from Bernie Sanders regarding many issues of personal liberty.

      I tend to think the opposites of libertarianism are congregated in the center of American politics where neither personal or economic liberty are respected. I think my philosophical opposites are more likely to be McCain / Pelosi / Graham / McConnell / Isakson / Chambliss / Clinton / Obama.

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      • Cosmic Dawg

        Whoops – meant this as a stand-alone reply and not in response to Snoop.

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      • Mike Cooley

        I agree. The farther left the progressives go the closer they get to the things they always claimed to hate. Stifling the free speech of others, telling people what they can and can not do etc.

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        • Chi-town Dawg

          Reminds me of a quote I heard once…”the problem with some people who are born again is that they think they’re entitled to twice as many rights as the rest of us.” Still gets a good laugh just thinking about it;-)

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    • @Snoop:Yes on that last paragraph. Sends me up the wall.

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  4. Athens Dog

    Seems like an attempt to “fix” the narrative. Always a bad thing in government.

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  5. Great post, Senator. As one who hasn’t thought our AD has handled his duties effectively over the last year and a half, anything that gives him cover or the ability to be less than transparent is a bad idea to me. Similar to the handling of the Turman affair, will this lead to an additional win on the field? In this case, definitely not.

    Kirby, find the sacred cows holding back the success of the football program in the Butts-Mehre building and kill them. Everything else is noise.

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  6. Aladawg

    +1000 Senator. This is a McGoofy thing using the veil of Kirby and the honeymoon to slip one by. As Corch said “it’s a really bad deal” to paraphrase………………..

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  7. I can only speak from someone who has been on the other side of the FOIA. If you are in a quasi-governmental agency, as in, one that has to comply with FOIA, but may not have the legal protections warranted by sovereign immunity, FOIA is a piece of shit law that causes you way more harm than it serves the public good. They can harass you with multiple requests worded slightly differently, changing the scope or the nature of the request, and each time you have to drop what you are doing and gather the info or pay an attorney to craft a letter in response. Either way, you are losing time and money that you can’t (actually) recover from the party making the request. This sucks especially if you are in a lawsuit because they can FOIA you to death before you even get to discovery. So anytime someone wants to put some restrictions on FOIA like expand the amount of time you have to respond, I’m hard-pressed to be really upset.

    Now this amendment and the way it was passed in particular… well, you are at the mercy and whims of the majority. That’s why restricted government is my preference. We don’t need government to have a lot of power because government officials are voted in by the whims of people who would vote for a sexist, racist, policy-ignorant blowhard like Donald Trump or an out-of-touch communist like Bernie Sanders or a murdering sociopath like Hillary Clinton or …. I could go on and on and on.

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    • Derek

      Don’t the same morons have to vote for a limited government? Why not say democracy is a failed experiment because the people are irretrievably stupid?

      My personal take is that we’re stuck with democracy so we have a stake in having more intelligent fellow citizens and should seek to achieve that goal. I don’t think people are that dumb if you tell them the truth. We should insist on more of that too.

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      • Don’t the same morons have to vote for a limited government?

        I just stated my preference. The fact that the peole have voted over and over and over to increase the government’s power show that my idea is in the minority, a reality that I accept. I try to espouse the tenets of limited government to no avail… which leads me to:

        I don’t think people are that dumb if you tell them the truth.

        You and I must not know the same people.

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        • Derek

          I agree that a lot of people are still dumb even with the truth, but in a democracy you don’t need ALL you just need a majority. My only point for the libertarians is that you’re stuck with everybody else even if you don’t want to be so deal with that. The libertarian utopia ain’t ever gonna happen. The majority will never vote for it. Ever. We have two types of authoritarians in this country, left wing redistributionists and right-wing “might makes right” “law and order” conservatives. That represents probably close to 93 percent of Americans if not more. Good luck breaking through that electoral map.

          Most of the time the public gets it right IF they know the facts. I’d argue that the race for the presidency leads to the most info flowing to the voters and ultimately they usually get it right. Even if you disagree, you can see why the other guy lost. Americans as a group make pretty sensible choices.

          What we need to do is figure out a way for people to be as invested in things like school board races and city council races. Then we could have a better democracy and perhaps you would be so keen on opting out. I understand the instinct but since it ain’t happening, let’s see what can be done incrementally. I think we should try compulsory voting for a period and see if that helps. Special interest groups high jack these minor office races. If people were required to pay attention AND the people running for these offices knew they had to appeal to everyone, I think we’d get better results.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      FOIA is a federal law that only applies to federal agencies. The Georgia Open Records Act applies to Georgia state and local governments. I cannot speak about the FOIA but I do hold an office covered by the Georgia Open Records Active and I know we are authorized to charge the requester the time it takes the lowest paid employee required to respond.

      Also, the GORA does not require us to create records, such as writing a letter to answer questions or explain anything.

      Our usual response when someone appears with a request is to show them where the records are and explain the cost to copy records.

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      • FOIA is also the name of the law is several other states including neighboring South Carolina so it’s not just federal.

        As a proud member of the ever evil liberal media empire running 11 daily newspapers in 5 states the thing that bothers me here is at least two-fold.

        Slightly less troubling is the smoke and mirrored attempt to hide a bag of poop behind the new popular coach. This has nothing to do with Kirby Smart and everything to do with McGarity’s attempt to hide. Hell when the photos and news of Smart hovering around in a chopper came out the only thing UGA fans thought was “about damn time and he couldn’t find a red chopper?” Damn the costs… we saw us on a level field with the teams that have been out-recruiting us, chiefly Alabama.

        From the story what troubles me most is McGarity is so consumed with hiding facts from us that he isn’t willing to even write things down anymore. That to me tells me all I need to know about that man’s moral and ethical compass.

        For those of you on the wrong side of FOIA requests (Gaskilldawg, Trey @cpadawg) remember that for those of us charged with watching the government and those in charge of it, if the government would be willingly transparent and less corrupt we wouldn’t need laws like these that are such inconveniences to guys at your levels to do our jobs. But people like McGarity who openly admit they he’ll do everything he can to withhold information from the public make laws like this necessary. Adding more time only gives us the impression that there will be an attempt to hide, lose or otherwise suppress the information that ultimately comes to us. They all know that the public’s attention span is extremely short so the more time they get to doctor the data and further away from the event that we’re looking into the less the backlash will be when it’s ultimately reported.

        Trey@cpadawg, I don’t know of any state that allows a party to a lawsuit to be FOIA’d while party to a suit. I’d be interested to see how that’s actually playing out. It sounds to me like someone tried to abuse FOIA or GORA and that should have been shut down. I know in most states we do business in there is wording that calls for reason-ability and someone like you could call us into a hearing to argue in front of a judge that you don’t want to or need to honor the request and explain why.

        Otherwise, it’s under-handed and sneaky and any attempt to explain it as anything else is disingenuous at best.

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        • Not to get too much into specifics, but it was prior to a lawsuit being filed. We knew it was coming, but they were using FOIA to see what mud they could scrounge up prior to formalizing their complaint.

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          • Dolly Llama

            If there was mud there to be found, well, it’s hard for me to work up more sympathy for you.

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          • That being so I’d tend to agree that perhaps this might have been a misuse of the law, but I wouldn’t let you throw the baby out with the bath water.

            It’s not a bullshit law. I’m sure it’s a major inconvenience for some folks from time to time. But those folks need to keep in mind that they signed up to serve the public and are paid nowadays fairly handsomely to do so. We all have parts of our jobs that are aggravating, for a public servant this is just a necessary evil in my mind. Unchecked the power that they have would go out of control.

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            • Debby Balcer

              Amen. I am right of center and in support of transparency. Changing this law is not good because it will encourage abuse of power.

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            • But those folks need to keep in mind that they signed up to serve the public and are paid nowadays fairly handsomely to do so.

              Yes, public servants are rolling in the dough. Pensions are a thing of the distant past for most public servants, salary caps are pushed down from Washington, and between the Inspector General, annual audits for this and that, and enough red tape to trace the entire coastline of the United States, any “power” that they think they have is a myth in their own minds. We get tons and tons of shit, and the only expectation is to do more with less each and every year. That is the life of a public servant.

              As far as open records laws. I am for limited government. Open records helps to ensure some check on government. I am not against open records laws. I am not in favor of the three-days-to-comply part of the current law. It is part of how you make a living, and you don’t want to see any of your “power” restricted, and I get that. I don’t fault you for it. Perhaps, though, the law as it is could be tweaked so that both of us could be happy. That would be compromise, though, which is no longer possible in today’s political climate.

              The way this law was passed is asinine. The fact that it is tied to our AD and AA is asinine. The whole thing is stupid and eliminates any possible positive discourse on if, when, or how the open records laws could be made better.

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              • To be fair, the “3-day” part is to provide an initial response. Many, many organizations in Georgia will provide an initial response saying, “we have received your request, and we believe that we have documents responsive to your request. We estimate that it will take approximately 30 days to compile the information at a cost of X dollars per hour. Please advise if you wish to continue. If you do, please provide payment in advance for the estimated time.”

                At least that is what I have encountered…and I’ve litigated a couple of ORA issues.

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              • “We get tons and tons of shit, and the only expectation is to do more with less each and every year. That is the life of a public servant.”… buddy… welcome to the real world. Anyone here besides me work in the private sector that giggled at that statement? Man this has been our professional lives the whole time. The fact that government workers think that somehow they’re entitled to not get tons and tons of shit and do more with less is exactly why those of us in the private world feel like 90% of most government employees would never last in the real dog eat dog world but I digress…

                Believe we agree on most of those other points there my friend. Maybe with one exception. It used to be when I was in college that the only reason you took a government job was for good benies, it certainly wasn’t the pay. But the time off was good, the insurance was good and the salary was livable. I grew up in the home of a public servant, two in fact. Today in our county the average salary of a county worker is well north of $40,000 plus good benies, certainly better than us in the private sector are afforded. Take a closer look just up the hierarchy and you’ll notice management level employee salaries at the county level that rival those in the private world. County admins making as much as I do at $180,000, $250,000 and more. High school principals making $150+. We have a parks supervisor in our county pulling more than $80,000… so I don’t fell bad about saying the pay has climbed substantially.

                And just to be clear so no one else reading here is confused, the three day deal is just for the first response or acknowledgement, not the fulfillment of the request and all its particulars. Otherwise good, glad to hear you’re not against ORA/FOIA laws in general.

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                • Not sure why you decided to drag out your disdain for government workers on a football blog, but I think your low opinion of them, which is a common one, might be what Trey referred to as “tons and tons of shit.”

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                • OH there’s no disdain for government workers in general, again I grew up in a family full of them. Just the ones who think that getting tons of shit and being asked to do more with less isn’t fair. He’d made a pretty good argument most of the time in what he wrote, but that line of thinking can’t be defended and unfortunately it permeates government offices. That’s not a disdain surfacing, it’s just a fact of the matter. Now they do get tons of shit, we all know that and some of it isn’t fair or right… but such is life. We all get tons of shit thrown at us, that’s not exclusive to government workers.

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        • Gaskilldawg

          Hal, I completely agree with everything you said other than the characterization that I am “on the wrong side” of GORA requests. I do not view my office as being “on the wrong side” of someone asking for our records. The records are not mine. The records belong to the public.

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          • No harm intended there gaskilldawg, just a euphemism that most folks who are served with ORA/FOIA requests don’t want to deal with it… that’s all.

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  8. hassan

    I don’t necessarily think the bill will translate directly to wins, but I do think it helps give some leeway in recruiting.

    Here’s how I see it…

    For example, if Kirby spends a bunch of cash on helicopter rides to see a bunch of prospects, then the media can make huge stink on the expenditure in a short amount of time. They can put pressure on the athletic dept. by stirring up the public sentiments to shut down spending in short order. With the 90 day rule, they can buy enough time to do what they want throughout the recruiting process and not have to deal with the PR distraction until after signing day. Not having to field distracting questions while staying focused on recruiting is an advantage in my opinion.

    Having said that, I stick to my comment yesterday that in the bigger scheme of things (outside of athletics), this could buy the University some much needed time to create a cover up or hinder any investigations to alleged impropriety. Right now Michael Adams is wondering why he didn’t think of getting this done.

    I would be angry this got through….except that I don’t live in Georgia. I live in South Carolina and already have a full plate of things to be angry about.

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  9. Fans applauding this bullshit law are the same ones who applaud Kirby telling a kid he can’t transfer where he wants to. There’s a sense of “truthiness” surrounding the conventional wisdom that both of these issues will help UGA on the football field. The problem is that just doesn’t add up. There’s no proof that telling Turman he can’t go to [insert school here] is a good thing for Georgia. There’s no proof that making it harder to get information FROM A PUBLIC INSTITUTION helps Georgia on the football field. But by golly if Alabama is backwards we have to be backwards too!

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  10. I don’t know the reality of news organizations in other states, but it always seems like others shield or prop up their athletic programs while the AJC looks to undermine ours. This could be an attempt to keep some of that at bay (which I do think could help the perception of the program and in turn translate to a better product on the field in the long term).
    I don’t know if I think that is right, but I understand how it might “level the playing field”.

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  11. TnDawg

    My opposition to the sunshine law is not based on whether it helps UGA or McGarity. Just based on my old school conservative bias. A dislike of what I perceive as liberal media.

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    • Irwin R. Fletcher

      old school conservative bias

      How’s James Madison for old school…

      “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

      Wake up.

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    • With all due respect, we’re talking about athletics, not welfare (personal or corporate) or tax rates.

      Your post is a pretty shocking example of “I like this because I perceive myself to be on the other team.” Bad shit starts to happen when you are for something only because those you dislike are against it. Doesn’t take much to manipulate people when the evaluative material is raw tribalism.

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  12. Its the information age and information is power. This is one of the many power struggles we will witness as Kirby settles in. The GA State legislature has taken the side of the institution in a small symbolic bid to support ‘winning’, which really just attempts to temporarily yank power from the journalists. Maybe its a little revenge for those guys trolling the arrest reports, who knows. As much vitriol as I’ve seen spent toward the AJC and other media outlets, I’m not surprised by the pandering. Sad yes, but par for the course.

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  13. PTC DAWG

    If you don’t trust the people in charge, change them.

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  14. Normaltown Mike

    Perhaps GM wanted to prevent something like this

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  15. 69Dawg

    Seems you have missed a point here Senator. This apparently is more about recruiting than it is about winning a game. As I said yesterday this is more about lazy ass sportswriters being spoiled than about transparency in government. The FOIA was passed by the congress and the legislature to give the appearance that the government was open. It has so many loop holes in it that they can pretty much redact what they don’t want the media to see. At least here the legislator is being up front. Sports writers and bloggers are not journalist and to confuse that is to cheapen the real issue of the First Amendment. There is a hell of a lot of difference between Watergate and the Georgia Bulldog’s Athletic Department. This is a tempest in a tea pot that sports writers love so well. By the way I think 90 days is way to much time to respond but the legislature has the right to do whatever they want, we have a right to vote them out of office. The problem has always been we want the other guys representative voted out of office not our guy.

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  16. HVL Dawg

    Coach Rick Pitino thinks this new law is a good idea (as he watches college basketball from his home).

    Look for the Kentucky legislature to follow suit.

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  17. Mike Cooley

    I’m agin it.

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  18. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    “Start with this one: how does this change in the law help the football program win?”
    Answer: I have no idea; it may not, or it may simply create fewer distractions in the middle of the season or in the middle of recruiting and fewer distractions may allow greater focus on the actual job at hand.

    “The real beneficiary is Georgia’s athletic department and its athletic director…..”
    How does it help the AD apart from the extra time? It’s not as if disclosure is not going to happen; it still is. The stupid stuff – the really stupid stuff – is obvious to most of us with or without records. The records might be offered in proof if we were trying a court case charging him with stupidity, and if it comes to that we will still get them.

    The bottom line for me is not that I am in favor of the law; it’s just that I don’t see it as a big deal one way or another. I am not willing to go the capitol with pitchforks and torches because of it. It’s possible that if they do this successfully, then they might get a similar request from the police departments or the commissioner of [insert department here], etc. but then maybe I will go with torches and pitchforks, but not for this matter. Years ago, a business I had got screwed in a lower court, and I wanted to appeal it because it was a bad decision and we would have won. He thought it over and said no because in his words “…this is a pebble, and it irritates me, but I can walk around it. I need to spend time and energy on boulders I can’t walk around”. I think this is like that.

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  19. We had a case where we once filed a very broad open records request with UGA . Their office was incredibly professional and called me quickly to discuss it, and I believe also provided a written acknowledgement of our request. We then got what we needed by working together with the UGA attorney in an efficient manner. We received what we needed fro our case, student information was redacted and protected, and we paid the costs associated.

    Shorter version – UGA has people that are paid to handle such things, and they’ve gotten very good at doing it. I cannot for the life of me understand why this law is necessary.

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  20. Towers has yet to use FOI for a hit piece on the UGA coach or program. Bradley has.
    Why can’t we pass the really important shit…like the beer sales bill?

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    • Bulldog Joe

      You don’t have to stray far from the Georgia athletic program to get the answer to that question, too. 😉

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  21. I have a question: would this change have kept Todd Gurley on the field for more games his last year?

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  22. Soccerdawg

    Senator. I am a strong proponent of transparency in Government. I agree that 90 days is too long, inexcusably long. I view this legislation much like I view the late last night changes to the judicial qualifications commission making secret and not subject to the open records law all of its proceedings and closing its hearings. This is an outrage. The people voting to make government more secret are the same ones closing boring precincts and making it harder to vote. Wake up.

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  23. McTyre

    Does UGAAA fund recruiting and quality control analysts with taxpayer or student-paid dollars or does it come from donors?

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  24. If they don’t want sunshine laws and transparency, then drop the tax-exempt status and do what you want. Oh yeah, the help isn’t hired …

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  25. TN Dawg

    Some very good, well-reasoned thoughts from individuals that deal with FOIA and GORA frequently.

    For what it’s worth, because the deadline was changed to allow up to 90 days does not necessarily mean it will take 90 days. Could be issued in 90 seconds if the like.

    On another note, such a short time-frame really winds up with an incomplete narrative at times.

    We will take the recruiting piece as a for instance. Suppose Kirby flew around in a helicopter for two weeks visiting players, eating prime rib, visiting gentlemen’s clubs and buying coke.

    It’s possible that upon review of the receipts, the athletic department would choose to bring Kirby in, hold a hearing, fire him and remedy the problem. But that takes time.

    However, when you don’t allow the Athletic Department to even review its own records and act before it hits the newspaper, you paint an image of a University that condones it and only responded when the media brings it to light, which may not be the case.

    Ninety days is not exactly an eternity and news pieces brought out months or even years later are no less enlightening or damaging. Witness the Rocky Top debacle.

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  26. SicEmDawgs17

    Curious as to what is the law in Alabama? Did Kirby find this important enough to push for it? What are the transfer rules for other SEC teams especially Bama. It is funny how we hammer the program for being underachieving and we demand titles so we hire a guy from by far the best program in the nation. When he starts changing the little things that could hurt UGA the same media who was championship or bust jumps all over it. I remember Gentry one time saying how much more difficult it was to get info out of Bama. How open records was a much longer process. For the past 25 years we have a lot of small things that have hurt UGA in small ways. When those are added up it can be the difference in a championship. Roster management. Bad public relations may have just cost us a single recruit. The approach to early offers. The alcohol and drug policy. Strength and conditioning. Lack of IPF. No thes by themselves are not huge issues but football is about players. The difference in the #7 class and the #3 class is small. The difference in 10-3 and 12-1 can be small. We need to do EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY THING HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO ELIMINATE ANY SMALL OBSTACLE TO A CHAMPIONSHIP. And some of those things may not be the best thing for the AJC or for the bloggers. It may bore us in the summer with the lack of sunshine articles. It may make it hard for a kid to transfer to a rival. There is a program called Alabama who has pretty well figured it out. The more we do things like them to eliminate small obstacles the better. And if we are dancing in the Dome this winter I for one will not give a rats ass if Chip Towers was able to find out the cost of a recruiting helicopter in time for a story meant to stir up the haters about UGA spending. Or we can go back to sunshine and roses and 9-3 seasons but that same press better not ink a damn word of critisicmnor how we should be more like Bama. I can’t wait until the article comes out this summer when they interview players trying to find out if they are upset about missing the pool day and how Richt wanted more fun. Boo freaking hoo

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