Daily Archives: June 7, 2016

Ripped from the pages of an open records request

Chip Towers has done a laudable job comparing the contract Kirby Smart just signed and the last contract prepared for Mark Richt, which he didn’t sign.  A few comparisons are in order, starting with the biggie:

The biggest difference is Smart’s new contract includes the controversial “conduct and ethics clause.” That condition was a major sticking point for Richt and his representation after he agreed to a raise and new contract in January of 2015.

In fact, Richt never did sign that last deal. So technically he was operating under the guidelines of the contract he signed in 2012. Ultimately, though, UGA honored the handshake agreement and paid Richt based on the agreed-upon increased compensation — $4 million – when it fired Richt on Nov. 28.

But while Richt never signed off on that clause, Smart did. It is included on Page 9, Section 3B, of Smart’s the 33-page contract. That contract – executed in late May – was turned over to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week in compliance with an opens record request.

It is essentially a disciplinary clause and it is found in the compensation section of Smart’s new contract. It gives Georgia Athletic Association the right to withhold pay from the head coach in the case of a material violation of “one or more of the duties, obligations or expectations … that do not rise to a level warranting termination.”

Call it the “Jack Bauerle Clause.” The legendary swim coach, who has led the Bulldogs to seven national championships over 36 seasons, was indefinitely suspended and his pay and bonuses frozen in 2014 while his program was under NCAA investigation for providing extra benefits for a star swimmer. After those charges were substantiated, Bauerle was also ordered to repay more than $100,000 in legal fees the athletic association paid to defend the charges.

Financial penalties previously had not been spelled out in any coaches’ contracts. But now they are. Going forward, it is “standard operating procedure” for all of the Bulldogs’ head coaches, according to McGarity.

“I’d just say that events that occur around the country often lead to changes in contracts everywhere,” McGarity said. “Things have to be adjusted all the time, not only here but around the country.”

So Smart’s contract now states that UGA has “the right to withhold or reduce performance bonuses … and other compensation payable to Smart … by a maximum of 25 percent for up to 12 months.” Furthermore, it states that the athletic association can recommend suspension “with or without pay” for up to one year and recommend that the University “take other disciplinary action.”

I’d call that Georgia Way 1, Smart 0.  I wonder if they’re making people in the AD’s office agree to that clause, too.

While that’s big, I find this one more intriguing, just because of some other scuttlebutt I was privy to when word came that Richt hadn’t signed his last contract.

Meanwhile, the narrative has been that Smart is making fewer public appearances. In reality, according to the “public relations obligations” section of Smart’s contract, he actually will be doing more PR. However, his requirements are oriented more toward endorsement and fund-raising opportunities than those of a pep rally nature.

Like Richt, Smart must also make “no fewer 12 unpaid personal appearances” before Bulldog Clubs throughout the Southeast and “a reasonable number of appearances” on the Bulldog Hotline and the coaches many other media platforms. However, Paragraph 1F states also calls for Smart to spend at least two days helping the president fund-raise, make no fewer than 12 annual endorsement appearances at the UGA’s request for the football program and that any payments for such “university-related appearances be negotiated and kept by the association.” In addition, Smart must be available for three personal appearance son behalf of Nike or any future equipment provider and up to three appearances on behalf of IMG or any future rights holder.

Smart agreed to these requirements, but with an added caveat: “The Association and University acknowledge and understand that Smart’s primary obligation shall be to the serve as the head coach of the University’s football team,” and these university-related appearances “shall be subject to his roles of directing the team, including but not limited to its practice, playing and workout schedules and the recruitment of potential student-athletes.”

Smart also included the word “reasonable” to another about complying with the AD’s requests for appearances, “subject to Smart’s schedule in fulfilling his primary role as head football coach.”

It’s not a sticking point, McGarity said. “He wants to get out and fund-raise,” he said. “He’s already done that. Kirby’s wired that way.”

That is so much horseshit.  The football coach’s heavy involvement in raising funds for the school became a huge necessity when Adams was still president because he was toxic to a major chunk of the donor class and Richt’s popularity was something of a remedy for that, but it was – at least from what I was told – never exactly something Richt was overwhelmingly fired up to do.  And let’s not forget McGarity’s famous pronouncement upon taking the job about relieving Richt of certain non-coaching responsibilities that were supposedly interfering with his time allocation.

Let’s put it this way:  you don’t put contractual limitations on something you’re wired for, unless your definition of wired and your employer’s differ.

Finally, at least one dumb, micromanaged vestige of the Georgia Way has been discarded.

Smart had Georgia remove a clause in paragraph that required Richt to keep “the recruitment of junior college athletes to a minimum.” Smart signed one “JUCO” transfer in the 2016 class in wide receiver Javon Wims of Hinds Community College and is actively recruiting more for 2017.

Yeah, remind me again about the full-throated support from B-M for Richt.  Good for Kirby getting that set of handcuffs tossed.

Assuming Georgia takes off under Smart – which I hope – it’s the next contract that’ll be really fun to watch.  Especially after Jimmy Sexton fields a few job offers from other schools.



Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

It’s preseason prediction time!

I thought this would make the subject of a fun post for you guys.

Today, we’ll look at the offense as it pertains to 2016.

So here we go – my predictions sure to go wrong.

Greyson Lambert will start at quarterback against the Tar Heels but Jacob Eason will play in the game and take over the starting job by Week 4 at Ole Miss.

Nick Chubb will not start against North Carolina. He’ll play, but only get four or five carries as coaches will remain very cautious with him to start the year.

Sony Michel will surpass the 1,000 yard mark for the second straight year. While he will come close, Chubb won’t quite reach 1,000 yards but will surpass 1,000 yards in total offense.

• After catching just 28 passes between them, Georgia’s tight ends will triple that number with Jeb Blazevich, Isaac Nauta and Charlie Woerner catching at least 20 balls. Bulldog tight ends will also contribute at least 10 touchdowns.

Terry Godwin will lead the Bulldogs in receptions, say 50 or so, but sophomore Jayson Stanley and freshman Riley Ridley will finish second and third, respectively

Tyler Catalina will win the battle to become the team’s left starting left tackle. That will push Isaiah Wynn to left guard, with Brandon Kublanow at center, Dyshon Sims at right guard and Greg Pyke at right tackle. Freshman Ben Cleveland will work at second team left guard but will push for a starting job – probably at right guard – before the year is complete.

• Georgia will finish top three in the SEC in total offense.

• For the second time in his career, Isaiah McKenzie will return a punt and a kickoff for the touchdown in the same game.

• Walk-on kicker Mitchell Wasson will handle field goals and extra points for the Bulldogs, with Rodrigo Blankenship handling the kickoffs.

Weirdly enough, of all those, I feel most confident about his Nick Chubb call.

I’d like to say I feel good about the prediction of increased tight end production, but we heard that last offseason and we saw where that got Georgia’s offense.

Speaking of which, how’s this for a spot-on preseason call?

So, how do you feel about this batch for 2016?


Filed under Georgia Football

Today, in if it’s so damned easy

From the AJ-C:

Seven of the SEC’s 14 coaches have either never collected a 10-win season or have yet to collect multiple 10-win campaigns, splitting the conference into halves: Those who have established themselves as known commodities, and those who are trying to prove they belong in arguably the nation’s toughest league.

If Mark Richt were still coaching at Georgia today, he would rank second on the list of fourteen, behind only Nick Saban.


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Rising in the polls

Georgia is kicking some Fulmer Cup ass, my friends.

Thanks, Colorado.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

You’re having a helluva month, Baylor.

Like there ain’t enough going on in Waco already, two members of Baylor’s 2016 recruiting class have been suspended for a violation of team rules.

I know what you’re thinking.


Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues, Crime and Punishment

Chubb Watch: it’s still on

Anthony Dasher:

When Chubb tore up his knee last October at Tennessee, it was one of those injuries – especially after seeing the replay – that just tugged at your heart.

The human body wasn’t supposed to contort the way we saw Chubb’s knee twist before falling to the turf there in Knoxville.

I’ll be honest. After watching it happen in person, part of me wondered if Chubb would ever play again, and if he did, would he resemble the same back folks were touting as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate before the season began.

While the latter is a question that still needs to be answered, there no longer seems any doubt that Chubb will be back on the field – in fact, it would seem sooner rather than later.

It’s been a long time – and this is not hyperbole – where I’ve seen an athlete show as much determination and will to overcome even the steepest of obstacles as Chubb.

He’s a different breed.

Like I said before, all we’re waiting on to complete the recovery hype is Phil Steele naming Chubb a preseason All-SEC pick.


Filed under Georgia Football

Seems like a “long, long time”

Jay Jacobs sounds like he’s all in on Gus Malzahn.

During last week’s SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Florida, Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said Malzahn would be the Tigers coach for a “long, long time” and said he was the “the right guy for Auburn” moving forward.

“He’s a brilliant offensive mind,” Jacobs said last week. “Took us to two national championships; once as a coordinator, once as a head coach. There’s a bunch of schools in this league that would love to be in our position with a guy like him.

“It’s tough league, this league is tough every day. It doesn’t matter what year it is, year in, year out, how many years you’ve been here, whatever it may be, but there’s no doubt about that he is the right guy for Auburn.”

All that, and all it got Gus was a one-year contract extension.  Which means all of the above turns out to be worth…

Terms of Malzahn’s buyout, both if he were to leave Auburn or if Auburn were to part ways with him, have not changed, with the exception of the additional year of money he would be owed if Auburn were to terminate the deal.

Malzahn would be owed $2,237,500 per year remaining on his contract if Auburn were to part ways with him.

Why, Jay, that seems cheap at twice the price.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

The only thing that matters

Jason Butt thinks Dan Mullen’s program is such a loser.

Loser: Mississippi State

While the SEC expanded the serious misconduct policy for transfers, incoming freshmen are still not included. That allowed Mississippi State to admit five-star defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons to the program and suspend him for only one game while undergoing counseling.

Athletics director Scott Stricklin took bullets in an impromptu gathering with reporters, with head coach Dan Mullen and university president Mark E. Keenum electing to avoid the issue. The punishment of only a one-game suspension does not appear to fit the crime of repeatedly punching a woman in the face while on the ground — a violent encounter caught on video.

If Mississippi State wanted to admit Simmons, a year-long suspension, at minimum, was necessary. A one-game suspension, against South Alabama at that, is incredibly weak and serves the best interest of nobody involved in intercollegiate athletics.

If media tsking is the measure of winning and losing, I guess he has a point, but, meanwhile, in the real world, let Andy Staples explain what losing looks like in the SEC West.

As the SEC’s coaches modeled their finest cabana wear last week and headed into a meeting room where they would spend entirely too much time talking about satellite camps, everyone looked so familiar. Eleven of 14 had been in the same room in a Destin, Fla., hotel the year before. One of the other three, first-year South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, was back after a one-year break following his firing at Florida. One of the new guys, first-year Georgia coach Kirby Smart, had been defensive coordinator at Alabama so long that it already felt as if he were an SEC head coach. But come next year, the population of that room could be quite different.

Mark Stoops at Kentucky and Derek Mason at Vanderbilt face the pressure of winning at schools that don’t usually win at football, and they may find themselves getting churned to reinvigorate donor bases who will likely be just as disappointed by their replacements. But those are standard situations. The oddity is in the SEC West. Consider the cases of these three coaches:

  • One coach has a national title, two SEC titles and has averaged 10 wins a season since 2011.
  • One coach won an SEC title in his first season and came within 13 seconds of winning a national title that same year. That all happened less than three years ago.
  • One coach has averaged nine wins in his four seasons at his school and is only the second coach in his school’s history to win at least eight games in each of his first four seasons.

What do those three coaches have in common—other than apparent success? They’ll all start the season on the hot seat as the SEC West approaches coaching critical mass. You’ve probably already figured out that the first coach is LSU’s Les Miles. The second is Auburn’s Gus Malzahn. The third is Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin. And the odds are that at least one and possibly more of these coaches won’t be in that room in Destin next year. If they worked almost anywhere else, Miles, Malzahn and Sumlin would be perfectly safe. But they work in the SEC West, where every head football coach makes at least $4 million and everyone expects results commensurate with compensation…

Only the lunatic fringe of the fanbases at Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole Miss expect national titles. The mainstream groups have more realistic goals. So Bret Bielema, Mullen and Hugh Freeze* aren’t in any danger unless they preside over particularly disastrous seasons.

Staples goes on to describe Nick Saban as “obviously safe”.  That despite the fact that the SEC passed a transfer restriction rule in the wake of his signing a kid kicked out of Georgia after being charged with assaulting a woman. Er, not just passed in response, but commonly named for.  Nor is that the first rule Nick Saban has inspired. So exactly what kind of message should Dan Mullen take from all this?

Know where the envelope’s edge is, push it as far as you can go, and win games or lose your job.  Your $4 million a year job.  It’s really that simple.


Filed under SEC Football

“The NCAA made a rule 10 minutes ago saying I couldn’t.”

Yes, I know that Jim Harbaugh can be a self-aggrandizing arse, but the NCAA’s fixation on satellite camps is bordering on farcical.

According to CoachingSearch.com, during a camp hosted by USF, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said the NCAA told him to stop taking pictures with and signing autographs for campers, parents and fans…

The coach I heard from last week thought there was a bit more to it than that. That picture of Harbaugh above with a four-star O-line prospect and his mom seemed rather ordinary, but the assistant coach pointed out the attire of the recruit, which appeared to indicate that the player didn’t actually take part in the camp and never registered. The upshot: “We can’t have contact with the kids and their parents,” the coach said. “It’s an illegal contact.”

The coach said this is why so many coaches thought Saban raised a lot of good points about the spread of satellite camps and how many unwieldy issues it’s going to add in the recruiting process. That they’re more about schmoozing and recruiting than instruction.

Now I get all that, but how is it any different than the absurdity of the Saban Rule – you know, the one supposedly prohibiting purposefully bumping into recruits during high school visits that is routinely breached?

Look at what the NCAA is devoting resources to these days.

Later, Harbaugh interrupted an ESPN.com interview with his son, tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh, because he had just heard that the NCAA wasn’t allowing interviews with the media during camps. That changed within the two-hour practice, and he addressed reporters after the first session.

“I believe we can do interviews,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what we’ve been told. You were there, you saw what’s going on with the changing daily rules. It’s very interesting. It’s very interesting. The NCAA compliance people are here. They’ve been at every single one. The NCAA has sent at least one or two of their people to each of our camps and we’ve had one of our compliance people at each one of these camps. That notion that there’s not oversight of these camps — you’ve seen it with your own eyes, there absolutely is.

Freaking satellite camps, this year’s most overblown, over-covered college football subject.  Again, I get that it’s Harbaugh and the “we’re going to fight for the youngsters and the student-athletes and their families and for the game of football itself” he tosses out in defense of his crusade is complete garbage, but, seriously, I only wish the NCAA paid this much constant attention to, say, academic fraud.

A pox on ’em both, I say.


Filed under Heard About Harbaugh?, The NCAA

“Kids judge you by your car.”

Can we all agree that the SEC’s facilities arms race is getting absurdly out of hand?


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Recruiting