Daily Archives: March 30, 2016

The Open Records law and Kirby Smart’s sudden bout of modesty

Here’s a story.

Kirby Smart acknowledged Tuesday that he was indeed asked about Georgia’s Open Records laws when he visited the state capitol recently. But Georgia’s new head football coach said he “doesn’t deserve credit” for a controversial measure that slows the public’s access to athletics information.

The bill, brought up and agreed to late on the night of March 22, would allow athletics programs in the state of Georgia to wait 90 days to respond to inquiries under the Open Records Law. That has been decried by First Amendment advocates.

The chief of staff to one of the bill’s co-sponsors, State Sen. Bill Cowsert, told the Macon Telegraph that it “came to light through Kirby Smart at UGA.”

Smart was asked about that after Tuesday’s practice.

“First of all, I shouldn’t get any credit for that,” Smart said. “When I went over to the capitol I was asked what’s the difference in our program and some programs I’ve been at in the past. One of the things I brought up, there’s a difference. And that was the extent of my conversation with those guys about that.

“So for me to get the credit for that is a little bit misleading.”

“Credit”?  I’d say that word doesn’t mean what Kirby Smart thinks it means, except I think he does know.  Exactly.  Which is why he declined to elaborate further when asked.

Smart declined a follow-up question on whether he felt changing the response time from three days to 90 was something the football program needs.

“I’ll be honest with you. I want to talk about our football program, and football practice,” Smart said. “That has nothing to do with as far as our practice today. I would rather answer questions regarding that. Appreciate it.”

Kirby is far from alone in wishing to avoid taking credit.

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity, who has declined comment on the legislation, attended Smart’s press conference on Tuesday but left as soon as it ended. It’s rare for McGarity to attend such post-practice press conferences.

UGA president Jere Morehead “did not have a role in the legislation,” according to a spokesman in the University System Office in Atlanta.

I’m having trouble adjusting to McGarity as the strong, silent type.  Maybe Mark Bradley can get him to open up.

Anyway, here’s another story.

A House amendment to Senate Bill 323 was agreed upon and passed with the underlying bill last week, a little past midnight on March 23, which will allow for state athletics departments to delay open records requests for 90 days as opposed to three, which is what the law currently states.

Smart was asked what he told legislators on his involvement on getting this amendment through the General Assembly. Smart deferred credit but did say he spoke to lawmakers as to what could be done to help improve the Georgia football program…

With his response, Smart admitted he had a private conversation on the subject with the Georgia legislature. Prior to Smart being questioned about his role with the potential new law, which has been sent to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk for a signature, Tom Krause, the Chief of Staff of state Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, said Smart was the key influence to members of the General Assembly deciding to act.

“It’s a similar subject that, from what I understand, came to light through Kirby Smart at UGA,” Krause said. “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.”

So, ultimately, here’s what you’re being asked to swallow here:

  1. In the midst of recruiting, organizing the program and his very first spring practice preparation, Kirby Smart somehow found the time to show up for a friendly chat with the folks in the Georgia General Assembly.
  2. In the midst of a typically contentious session, members of the Georgia General Assembly found the time to ask what could be done to help the Georgia football program.
  3. Kirby Smart casually mentioned that Nick Saban has an easier time of responding to open records requests but didn’t make a big deal of it, even though he’s described as “the key influence to members of the General Assembly deciding to act”.
  4. Just as casually, Georgia legislators tacked an amendment on to an existing bill that gives Butts-Mehre unprecedented scope in responding to open records requests in the future.
  5. Even though the bill’s scope clearly exceeds the stated nonsensical goal of protecting recruiting secrets, neither Georgia’s athletic director nor its president had anything to do with it.

I’ll buy number two on that list, but the rest requires a leap of faith I’m not capable of taking.  Before Kirby Smart ever showed up to glad hand, or whatever you want to call it, somebody laid the groundwork and found a representative or two willing to carry the athletic department’s water.  Somebody told Kirby Smart what he could expect on his visit.  And whoever that somebody is was shrewd enough to hide the proposal behind Kirby Smart’s honeymoon and the annoying fanboy concern about Georgia’s recruiting against Smart’s old boss.

That’s some effective lobbying there.  So why not step up and take credit for it, especially since Kirby sounds like he’s more than willing to share?  You don’t have to be so modest, mystery man.  If it’s all about recruiting, what citizen of this great state could possibly object, right?

88 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Political Wankery

Making nice

Well, this is right neighborly.

Of course, all that may have done was give ol’ Jimmy the chance to do a little proactive sizing up of potential arrest targets.

I wonder if, while he was there, anyone gave him a player roster with everyone’s middle names on it.  Might save some time in the future.

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UPDATE:  Never let it be said I don’t pay attention to my readers.

Feel free to jump in, peeps.

37 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

Does Kirk Herbstreit know about arrestnation.com?

It’s the makings of a banner year for the SEC.

For first time since 2011 when arrestnation.com began tracking the arrests of pro and college coaches and athletes, the number of SEC football arrests is in single digits through the first three months of a calendar year.

If the 14 SEC schools can keep their players busy through Thursday, which is the end of the month, the league will have just seven football arrests through January, February and March.

My first thought after reading that was “there’s an arrestnation.com?”.  Yes, Virginia, there is!

My second was that’s the kind of trend that’ll put a damper on Second Chance U’s recruiting.

But it’s the historical stuff that’s the real fun.

Florida, which has won or tied for the annual SEC arrests title three times in the last five years including last season, remains the arrestnation.com SEC all-time leader with 28.

Go Gata!

Eighteen of those arrests are came under the watch of former coach Will Muschamp, now at South Carolina, where former Gamecocks’ coach Steve Spurrier ran the second least arrested program in the league (nine arrests).

To be fair to Muschamp, he inherited a hot mess since previous coach Urban Meyer had 25 players arrested in six years.

Since arrestnation.com was not in operation yet during Meyer’s tenure as the Gators’ warden, the official all-time individual SEC coaching arrests leader is former Georgia coach Mark Richt. The Bulldogs, second in the all-time standings at 23 thanks to the first player arrested under new coach Kirby Smart, had 22 players arrested under Richt. He has since taken his disciplinarian talents to South Beach as Miami’s new coach.

Well, we always knew those lost control memes don’t grow themselves.

Ole Miss, with 11 arrests the last two seasons, has moved into third at 22, just ahead of Texas A&M with 21, Tennessee 20, Alabama 19 and Missouri and Kentucky each with 18. LSU is next, followed by Arkansas 15, Mississippi State 14, Auburn 13, South Carolina 9 and Vanderbilt 3.

The active SEC coaching arrests leader is Alabama’s Nick Saban at 19, including a league-high 17 in the last three seasons.

Hmmm… in the SEC, maybe arrests have something in common with penalties.  Neither seems to have much correlation with wins and losses.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, SEC Football

Another day, another reader poll

Nick Chubb just keeps chugging along.

… Chubb isn’t just out there taking straight-ahead handoffs anymore. He’s doing some light cutting and was running a few routes and catching balls out of the backfield on Tuesday. He’s not ready yet and that’s pretty clear. At times he looks a little sore or unsure about that surgically-repaired left knee. But the fact that he’s improving, and doing so at an impressive pace, is impossible to ignore.

Wait a minute… he’s unsure about something?  Can we really trust this report?  (I keed.)

So how optimistic are you about Chubb’s playing time this season?

13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Tennessee tries to move a road game.

Because we all know your chances to win are always better at home.  Unfortunately, no go.

A federal judge on Tuesday denied the University of Tennessee’s request to move a sweeping Title IX lawsuit to Knoxville.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger found that UT is an “arm of the state” and therefore can be sued in any federal court district in Tennessee.

“The entire state has an interest in the resolution of this case that has lodged serious allegations against the state’s premier higher education institution,” Trauger said in the ruling.

The eight plaintiffs argued it would be traumatic for the case to be considered in Knoxville. Trauger ruled that she was not swayed by UT’s argument about convenience because witnesses in the case live in both judicial districts.

“While it would clearly be more convenient for UT employees and other third party witnesses located in Knoxville to litigate this action there, UT has not pointed to any evidence, aside from the distance between Knoxville and Nashville, to show that this inconvenience would be so significant as to tip the scales in favor of relocating this lawsuit,” Trauger said in a memo supporting her ruling.

I guess they’re worried about a jury box being filled with Vanderbilt fans.  What are the odds they’d find twelve of those folks at one time, anyway?

10 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, See You In Court