Seth Emerson asks Greg McGarity what’s up with all the noon starts and gets this as an answer:
“I never get any complaints about a 3:30 time start. But we do have an equal amount of complaints for 7:30 games (as noon games), because of the fans that have to drive three and four hours home, we hear about how inconvenient that is for our fans that have to travel back home,” McGarity said. “So it’s one of these situations where 3:30 is perfect but we know we can’t be there (every time).”
I get the equal amount of complaints part fine. Makes complete sense to me that with as large a fan base as McGarity has to work with, he’s going to have a sizeable contingent of folks from South Georgia and parents with young children on one side of the divide and people who like tailgating or later starts in general on the other. No way to make everyone happy every week, right?
But from there, his reasoning starts to fall apart. If it all really comes down to what television, in conjunction with the SEC office, decide, as he argues…
“Once contracts were agreed upon in the beginning years ago, everyone understood the dynamics and rights of the rights holders.”
… that still brings you back to the pesky math that was the subject of my post yesterday.
It’s quite simple, really. If everyone plays by the same TV rules and athletic directors don’t lobby the SEC office, why is Georgia the only team in the conference with more early starts than the other times, and by a wide margin at that? If that doesn’t make you suspect a certain degree of bullshit in McGarity’s attempted deflection of responsibility, the claim about no lobbying by ADs certainly should, given the overwhelming number of night games LSU plays. It’s either that, or accepting at face value what looks like one helluva coincidence.
To me, the logical way to deal with the schism in the Georgia fan base would be to split the baby into an equal number of early and later games (and it wouldn’t bother me to take the weather into account in allocating those; the fewer noon games in September, the better) so that every fan with an opinion on the matter gets treated fairly. The numbers over the past four seasons would suggest that either the school doesn’t care enough to make the effort or actually prefers loading up the schedule with noon starts.
Either way, what you just heard from the AD was a total dodge of the question.