As a long time member of the Georgia House of Representatives, I have been a tireless supporter of University of Georgia athletics, both because I know for many of you it’s the only part of our state’s secondary education infrastructure to which you pay attention and because I believe it is crucial for us to play on the same field as Alabama and everybody else.
That is why I helped lead the charge for the passage of Senate Bill 323 in the just ended legislative session. The bill, which awaits Governor Deal’s signature, is vital to our state’s interests because, in the words of Sen. Cowsert’s chief of staff, “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.”
I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of the Nick Sabans of the world coming into our fair state, hiding under cover of their Open Records laws and stealing our local talent away to play for championships that our beloved Dawgs are being denied because of some legal technicality that gives these other SEC programs access to important information about which high school players may be under consideration for the opportunity to wear the red and black. I may be a longtime conservative Republican who believes the concept of limited government as envisioned by the Founding Fathers to be sacred, but Thomas Jefferson never had to recruit a coveted five-star quarterback.
I write to each and every one of you today because while SB 323 represents a big step forward, our work is not yet done. Just yesterday, I read the sports section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and discovered that the newspaper is still disclosing what should be confidential information about certain recruits whom Kirby Smart may (I emphasize the word “may” there because I don’t want to tip Kirby’s hand, of course) be pursuing. I mean, really, do we want Butch Jones to know that Cartersville five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence has a scheduling conflict in his choice to attend either Georgia’s or Tennessee’s spring game? I think not.
Clearly, there is more work to be done. And that’s why I need your help. More to the point, that’s why Kirby Smart needs your help. Whatever you can provide – financial contributions, suggestions on new legislation that would stop this information from crippling our recruiting, urging your state legislator to support this mission – would be deeply appreciated. It’s very important that we hear from you.
As the Lieutenant Governor said at the time of the bill’s passage, “I hope it brings us a national championship.” We deserve no less.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Very truly yours and Go, Dawgs!
Rep. Earl Ehrhart