If this isn’t the most distilled essence of the core value of every fiber of Greg McGarity’s being, I don’t know what is.
Last year, Georgia and every other SEC school received $32.7 million as part of its annual payout. It was $31.2 million the prior year. Back in 2009, it was only $11 million per school. This year’s payout won’t be announced until next month, but it’s again expected to be a record amount.
So what’s the need to continue to charge the student fee at all?
“If I’ve got a $3 million hole there, I’ve either got to cut $3 million out of my budget (or do something else). So it’s a huge part of our revenue source,” McGarity said.
But UGA also projects that – even after increasing spending on football and the indoor athletic facility – it will have more than $63 million in its reserve fund at the end of this fiscal year. Couldn’t the student fee be waived and the $3 million be made up for by dipping into the reserve fund?
“That’d be like you or me going into our 401k,” McGarity said. “We don’t want to do that.”[Emphasis added.]
All these years, and it turns out the Georgia Way is just like funding somebody’s retirement. I keed, I keed (I hope), but it’s worth pointing this out as a retort:
The student fees result in the second-largest known subsidy of any SEC school, according to USA Today. Auburn, which receives a $4.3 million subsidy, is the only one with more. (Vanderbilt’s numbers, as a private school, are not known.) Six SEC schools don’t receive a subsidy at all.
Allow Mr. Rainy Day to respond.
Student attendance has actually been a frustration for many at Georgia. They often don’t sell out their 16,000 allotment. When Scates was on the board he helped organize a Young Alumni program, allowing recently graduated students to buy up some of those unsold student tickets.
So what about finding $3 million somewhere else and letting in students for free for football games?
“That’s 16,000 seats right there,” McGarity said. “You can’t be all things to all people. Our financial model has to work.”
That’s right. You don’t mess with the reserve fund, peeps. Besides, you’ve got to train these kids early to recognize their true utility to Georgia athletics. Teach a student to pay a mandatory athletic fee, and you make a wallet for life. Or something.
I know I’m repeating myself here, but who in the world at Georgia thinks it’s a good idea for McGarity to explain himself in public?