Boy, have I gotten a few “Senator, I know you’re on vacation” emails about this:
Georgia has sold out its allotment of 58,000 season football tickets for 2016, as always. Next year, however, the costs to obtain those tickets will go up.
Athletic Director Greg McGarity asked for and was granted by the UGA Athletic Association’s board of directors Thursday an increase for per-seat donations for the right to buy season tickets in 2017. The motion was approved at the end-of-year meeting here at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee.
The minimum donation for the right buy season tickets went up an average of 17.3 percent. That includes a high of 20 percent for Sky Club seats ($1,200 from $1,000 per ticket) and a low of 10 percent for the Champions Club ($2,250 from $2,000 per ticket). General stadium seating increases from $250 per seat to $300 per seat (20 percent).
That goes hand in hand with a budget increase for the athletic department.
The board also approved a record $123.1 million budget approved , operating expenses increased by $11.1 million over this time a year ago. Not surprisingly, a lot of that spending is attributed to increased spending within the football program.
“One of the most significant increases is football expenditures relating to compensation, guarantees, recruiting travel and game expenses,” the board’s treasurer said in his report.
To which all I can say to those of you who are upset by the news is simple: you should have seen this coming. The people who hired Kirby Smart did, because Kirby Smart told them what they’d have to do if they wanted him in Athens.
The assistants are scattered out on the road recruiting, and as their boss so appropriately puts it, trying to find players who can beat Alabama.
“That’s the standard in this league,” says Georgia first-year coach Kirby Smart, who has had a close-up view of that standard for the past nine years, as one of Nick Saban’s most trusted assistants. “At the end of the day, if you’re not beating the teams on the road recruiting that you have to beat on the field, then you’re probably not going to win many championships.”
Like all head coaches, Smart isn’t allowed by the NCAA to be off campus recruiting in May, but he’s still going 100 mph prepping for a different kind of recruiting trip. He’s about to catch a plane to visit a group of big-money boosters, and he’s taking a video his staff put together of some of the swanky facilities other programs in the SEC, namely Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Texas A&M, have built in recent years.
“We’ve got to recruit at the same level of the people who are winning titles and playing for titles, and to do that, we’ve got to have great facilities,” Smart explains. “We have the resources and the people within the radius of us to build those facilities, and we’re going to recruit like crazy. We’ve just got to have the facilities to get them in here.”
And judging by this, that’s exactly where we’re headed.
Georgia’s home locker room at Sanford Stadium soon will be switching ends.
The Georgia athletic board on Thursday approved $1 million from its reserve fund for the “pre-construction and design phase” of a project that would include building a new home locker room and recruit entertainment space on the west end of the stadium underneath the Sanford Drive bridge. The Bulldogs traditionally have utilized dressing rooms underneath the East End of the stadium. The visiting teams would remain in the space alongside that.
Athletic Director Greg McGarity could not say when construction would actually begin or how much it might cost.
“It is part of a master plan exercise that has been ongoing for years,” McGarity said. “Now we want to take the next step to move forward with the planning.”
McGarity said the hope is to hire a design and build team by August and hopefully have some tentative plans by the September board meeting. It’s expected to be a major project that will encompass much of the space from the bridge to the backside of the West grandstands. No seating will be affected.
Alabama-style facilities, staffing and recruiting budgets don’t come for free. And they sure as hell don’t get paid for exclusively out of the reserve fund. In other words, Dawgnation, you’d better get used to it. They’re just getting started.