Just because they are doesn’t mean we should be.

I’m going to let Jason Butt have the last word on the change to Georgia’s Open Records law I posted about last week, because it’s eloquent enough to leave things there.

Exercising additional secrecy in government is a scary thought. Sure, this involves Georgia athletics and the average fan, who probably doesn’t care a whole lot about the subject, might even think this is a great idea because now reporters have a much longer time to possibly discover NCAA violations or any other dirt that could sully the reputation of the program.

But if it can happen in athletics, it can happen with any government sector. Now that athletics departments are possibly exempt from the three-day guideline, what’s next? This isn’t a football story, really. It’s more so dealing with the right of the public to know how its tax dollars are being used.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, was either duped or knowingly lied on the House floor late Tuesday night.

“At that recruiting time of year they get absolutely inundated with people wanting to have that recruiting information, and it’s not a level playing field because Georgia, our athletic associations, are private in and of themselves, and they don’t have that capacity, so this just allows that type of level playing field,” Ehrhart said.

That’s just wrong.

It’s the kind of embarrassing sports take that would get you laughed out of a backyard barbecue because it has no basis in fact. No recruiting reporter uses an abundance of open records requests to find out who Georgia is recruiting. Those reporters find that information out by talking to players themselves, high school coaches and the college programs recruiting the players. Fans can track where recruits are visiting by following them on Twitter. It’s that simple.

And while claiming this as a need for secrecy, the SB 323 amendment allows all intercollegiate documents — not just recruiting ones — to be delayed for 90 days.

So if you’re among those who admit Ehrhart’s excuse is hogwash but supports this amendment, you support a lie. Think about that for a moment. This amendment’s design is to delay and limit information to the media and to any taxpaying citizen of Georgia afforded the right of filing an open records request. This isn’t a specific privilege the media has. We all have it. And in this case, Ehrhart and state Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, both misrepresented the amendment’s intention on the House and Senate floors.

And if they weren’t intending to mislead folks, they need to take a refresher course in sports because what they were sold in the most minor of backroom deals makes no sense. Cowsert presented the amendment to his fellow state senators, with the majority agreeing on it. In doing so, he pitched the recruiting angle, and 30 of his colleagues agreed that this bill, in a heated legislative session featuring many way-more-important bills, was necessary without review.

As much as I care about Georgia football, it offends me to see elected officials take advantage of fans’ passion to vote for something that isn’t in the public’s interest.  If Rep. Ehrhart was duped, what’s everyone else’s excuse?


UPDATE:  Though when I see a StingTalk message board thread header like “GA Congress Passes Kirby Smart Cheating Protection Bill”, I have to admit that maybe there’s more stoopid going around than I thought.


Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

37 responses to “Just because they are doesn’t mean we should be.

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    Again, nobody can argue against open government but sanctimonious journalists are offensive too.


  2. Jared S.

    Thanks for posting so much about this, Senator. Fascinating and sad. Jason Butt is right on the money here. The people of Georgia are being lied to… to the detriment of their rights as citizens to know what on earth their schools are doing…. And his implications for every sector of government, not just public universities. I hope people don’t stop talking about this, and can get this piece of legislation reversed.


  3. But what are you going to do? One party rule.


    • Walt

      I think we do have one party rule in Georgia. The republican party. I thought they claimed to be to be the party of less government.


      • Will (The Other One)

        Well no, they’re pro-states over Federal, but that’s about as far as it goes these days (see the AL state government telling cities they can’t pass their own local minimum wage rates higher than surrounding areas.)


        • Less govt. As long as it fits what I want.


        • Walt

          I dunno. Tell me what you think this means: “This platform affirms that America has always been a place of grand dreams and even grander realities; and so it will be again, if we return government to its proper role, making it smaller and smarter.” Direct quote from the current GOP platform. There was a whole lot of other bullshit in there as well. Just like the other guys platform.


  4. HVL Dawg

    Are you seeing a pattern to UGA fans’ hunger for change.


  5. Brcdavis

    Funny, I’ve seen so much less outrage by these same people re: Obama’s executive orders. Not saying they are incorrect. it’s just interesting.


  6. Bright Idea

    Grandstanding politicians know they can get away with anything in the name of good ole state U.


  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    Bear in mind that the cream of the crop from Tech post to Sting Talk. Whoever posted that material is probably the envy of everybody in slide rule lab.


    • Dog in Fla

      In a galaxy far far away where Dietz users had women whom they thought loved them


    • Bulldog Joe

      We don’t need an FOIA request to know that Tech owes over $10M to two former basketball coaches and over $15M to its 3-9 football coach.

      Let ’em talk about how much THAT stings.


  8. Rusty

    Sorry, ST. We don’t need to cheat to beat your ass 9 times out of 10. We’re just looking for a way to procure that 1 game out of 10.😝- I kid, of course.


  9. Debby Balcer

    What is sadder then this new law is that people do not ubderstand how bad it is. Journalism has turned into what it is today because that is what sells. It is a reflection of our society. This is not a republican or democrat isdue it is a peiple issue. Politics should not be an us versus them game when it is we all lose. Something like this amendment should unite all of us against it.


    • paul

      When Bruce Jenner parading around in a dress becomes “news” and he is subsequently hailed as a “hero” then you know the word “journalism” no longer has any meaning. 1984 may have arrived a bit late, but the Ministry of Truth and Newspeak are alive and well. It just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.


  10. Aladawg

    Government is getting scarier by the minute. Spying legally on the populace, but, hiding what they do from us………….sounds like the government of the “Hunger Games”……………….


  11. Wait and See

    The “travesty” here is having to wait 90 days for information – instead of the usual 3 days? Give me a break. Think of your job… What if any newspaper in the country could ask you anything and you had three days to get it to them – or be breaking the law. What this is, really is, is journalists PO’ed that their job got a little tougher. And, they have the platform to complain. Communist take-over – this is not.


    • tmflibrarian

      It’s not 3 days to give them all the information they request. It’s 3 days to respond, as in, we have your request and it will take X amount of time and $X from you for copier costs.

      Please explain why that is unreasonable. The only time that should be overwhelming is if they are royally fucking up or giving out incorrect information (some might even say “lies”), as when Gurley’s suspension went 4 games (they had to know it would).


      • Derek

        It’s unreasonable because as we all know the Government would be SO much better if run like a private business and anybody in private business knows that if you want something from it and your aren’t a customer, i.e., if you don’t line its pockets with money, the answer is GFY! The second answer is GFY and I’ll sue you! The third answer is GFY! and go declare bankruptcy. If you can’t get away with those answers you’re probably dealing with a government bureaucracy that needs to be defunded and quick.

        So what you do is bring the efficiency of private industry to Government. That way it only has to respond to those who can afford the attention of government, i.e., those who have bought the politicians with cash, rather than a bunch of broke asses who think that their status as “citizens” entitles them to something from it, like information about what it does.

        Of course, if that doesn’t work you could go one step further and have a Government that is run like a private business yet isn’t accountable to anyone at all. What could possibly go wrong?

        Besides everybody knows that private companies do better in the long run than democratically elected Governments. I mean who has a better chance at long term success: GM or the United States Government? The point is that private industry always succeeds where government always fails so do you want to be like Canada or France or Great Britain or do you want to be like TWA or Enron or Bear Stearns or Standard Oil? Its really a pretty easy choice if you think.


        • rick marbles

          or USSR or Prussia or Rome. Also pretty sure any long term stock bought in 1800’s on France or GB would have taken massive hit over last century. Not sure about canada, but from what i understand they are like the us but better in every way except latitude


  12. Dylan Dreyer's Booty



  13. PTC DAWG

    Nice to see that UGA is always on the GT’s fans mind.


  14. TnDawg

    So the sunshine law is great and should not change to waiting 90 days for information.
    Any examples of how this law has impacted the government, other than colligiate sports, by providing info and having it acted upon by the public sector? Has 87 days made a difference? Can’t think of any in Tn.


    • Y’all keep missing the point. It’s not the law itself, it’s the fact that it was done with zero deliberation in the dead of night on the last day of the general session. Is that the kind of transparency we want our government officials to have? What else might they try to slide by us if certain interests push for it?


      • TnDawg

        Can’t disagree with your take on the method. Although it is in tune with, “pass it, and then we’ll read it and figure it out.” Paraphrased Ms Pelosi.
        Lots of the above is targeted to the delay as well.


  15. TN Dawg

    I like this bill, it leads to more wins.

    If we could have put off the Todd Gurley info for 90 days, he plays the whole year and wins the Heisman. If we put off the AJ Green story for 90 days we win two more games.

    Let the media leeches wait for their hit pieces until the offseason. After all they are just scum-suckers draining a living off the coaches’ and players’ glory and occasionally puffing their chest out if the find a player earning a few bucks. I mean lets be honest, if you never read a story about Georgia and could watch the games on television, would you really care?

    I hear media members bemoaning how the poor athletes can’t even afford a pizza, but guess who pays their mortgage with “Todd Gurley made $500” stories? That’s right, the same hypocritical scum-suckers. I hear media members talking about legalizing weed, but guess who loves to print stories on ball players buying beer with a fake ID or smoking a joint? You guessed it, the panty-sniffing media.

    Let ’em wait.


  16. Cap Insider

    Ehrhart and Cowsert were notduped. Knew exactly what they were doing. Ehrhart is a major UGAAA supporter and oversees the Regents budget. Not a coincidence the language originated with him. Also not a coincidence that the Athens senator spoke to it, even though he wasn’t the senator carrying it. Rest assured, they knew exactly what it did.