Daily Archives: March 2, 2017

77 million drops of rain

Ladies and gentlemen, your dollars at work… sort of.

Through it all, Georgia has remained committed to not touching its substantial reserve fund, which DawgNation has discovered includes an additional $32 million that is invested through the school’s foundation.

All the while, however, Georgia is pledging not to dip much into its reserve fund. That fund includes more than $32 million that is invested with the school’s foundation, and not highly publicized.

The money is not secret, necessarily. It is included in a footnote in the audited financial statement, a copy of which was obtained by DawgNation. But that $32 million – set aside for “general support” of athletics – is not included in the figures presented in the treasurer’s report, handed out last month at the UGA athletic board meeting.

So in total, UGA has more than $77 million available, that is not specifically allocated for other projects or expenditures. But the athletic department wants to save those reserves, especially the $32 million, in case of emergencies.

“It’s like anything else in life,” athletics director Greg McGarity said Thursday. “There could be a curveball in your personal life, and my life, that we did not anticipate. So (that’s) the one thing that we don’t have to worry about. It’s just solid business practice. It’s probably the best way to say it. It’s the unexpected.”

But Georgia football and the SEC continue to bring in massive revenues. The SEC last year paid out $39 million to Georgia.

So what is Georgia worried about needing the money for?

“It’s a good practice to have at least six months of operating expenses in case the unforeseen happens, that we don’t know about,” McGarity said. “That’s the financial strength that our athletic board mandated, long before I arrived. So it’s a philosophy that’s been in place for decades. Thank the lord.”

The Georgia Way.  So is this:

That includes the $32 million that is invested with the University of Georgia Foundation, the school’s fundraising organization. According to the footnote in the UGA athletic association’s financial statement, the $32 million (approximately) “has been established for general support of athletic programs and awards.” McGarity and Stephanie Ransom, an associate athletics director, confirmed that it is separate money from the $67 million in reserve money listed in a booklet provided at the board meeting. (There is $21.6 million of that already allocated for other facility projects this year.)

Asked when that $32 million would be dipped into, McGarity answered “never.”

“That all gets into the rainy day (fund),” he said.

That’s one mother of an umbrella you’ve got there, my man.

McGarity tries to make himself sound like someone who can’t sleep at night wondering how he’ll ever be able to pay his bills.

McGarity pointed to unforeseen expenses that have already occurred: Paying off previous head coach Mark Richt and his staff. That amounted to about $7 million. As for the future, there are still NCAA lawsuits in the system, McGarity pointed out, related to student-athlete pay and concussions. He also pointed to the NCAA in the last couple years allowing schools to pay athletes for cost-of-attendance and for increased meals.

“There are a lot of assumptions that people are making, that this revenue stream is going to be there forever,” McGarity said. “If we end up having to pay student-athletes down the road, where is that money going to come from? … There are a lot of unknowns, and what this allows us to do, and the right way, is to have a buffer there that allows us to cover the unexpected.”

First, let’s laugh right past the “unforeseen” expense of paying off Mark Richt, shall we?  Second, the school has already bitten that particular bullet, as well as the COA and food bills without having to draw down the reserve money.  So why fret about that now?  As far as the paying student-athletes down the road, if that day ever comes, I’m sure adjustments can be made — foregoing a $63 million capital project to give recruits a nice place to hang out quickly comes to mind as an example.

What I’m hearing from this is that the money parked with the Foundation is top priority for the athletics department.  In McGarity’s defense, I doubt that’s a directive originating with him.  Still, it explains so much.  Take this, for one thing.

Who are the richest and poorest SEC basketball programs?

The Southeastern Conference will always be known more for its football than basketball, but a few SEC schools make big money off their basketball programs. Here is where each school ranks on revenue based on its U.S. Department of Education athletics filings. The filings are for the time period through June 2015…

No. 9 Georgia: $9.02 million

Georgia is in the bottom half of the league in revenue, but actually had one of the better profits off basketball at $3.09 million.

Yay, team.  Men’s basketball may struggle to make the NCAA tournament, but it’s doing its part for the reserve fund.  Which part of that equation do you think matters the most to the decision makers?

It’s not the money that bugs me.  It’s the mindset.  It’s why we can’t have nice things from Georgia athletics.

Advertisements

69 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

No nooner for you!

This season’s Notre Dame game will kickoff at 7:30 PM and be shown on NBC.

That should make the sports bars in South Bend happy.

34 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Don’t cry for me, Oxford.

SI.com asks the musical question, “How will the NCAA’s investigation into Ole Miss affect the Rebels’ recruiting?”.  Rather than just answer with a simple “bigly”, I think instead I’ll refer you to what the author proposes as a light at the end of the tunnel for the program’s message to recruits:

For now, coaches from other programs can continue to use the looming threat of a crushing blow from the NCAA to persuade prospects that they shouldn’t seriously consider Ole Miss. The Rebels can try to counter that strategy by claiming that they at least have a vague timeline for the end of the case and that they’re on the road to putting this whole thing behind them.

“Son, never mind what that prick says.  Rest assured, before you leave school, Ole Miss will be eligible to play in Shreveport again.”  Yeah, that’ll work.

6 Comments

Filed under Freeze!, Recruiting

Stadium attendees, Greg McGarity feels your pain.

At least that’s today’s version of things.

A couple weeks ago, UGA announced a $63 million project to help the team’s gameday and recruiting experience, by building new locker rooms and a recruiting area. But the reaction from many fans was essentially: Great, but what about us?

The state of the bathrooms has been criticized, as well as long concession lines and other areas of complaint. McGarity, whose initial response when that was brought up two weeks ago didn’t please some fans, made clear Thursday that he hears them.

“It’s important to us.,” he said “We’ve made strides. Have we made enough strides, no. Is it important to us, yes. And I think the message that we’d like to convey is that it’s a huge deal for us.”

What strides have been made? McGarity said the bathrooms have been renovated over the past few years in “roughly half” of the stadium. And part of the West End project includes building four new bathrooms and newer concession areas.

But more work to other areas of the stadium needs to be done, and McGarity said that’s coming after G-Day.

“We have addressed certain areas of the stadium every year, and we still plan to do that,” McGarity said. “And what we would do is at the appropriate time, whether it’s around our next board meeting, or some point at time before that, we would let our people know what’s going on. But we usually do that kind of before the season starts, as far as what’s new at Sanford Stadium. Do we need to talk about it more? Probably so. Now that it’s become an issue for a number of people. What are our plans. Can we communicate that better, absolutely.”

McGarity pointed to some other work that’s been done for fan experience: Ceiling fans in the first-level concourses, to alleviate complaints that it was too hot in those areas. The ability to use credit cards at all concession stands, and a “grab and go” process at those concession stands, which would hopefully speed up the lines.

Out of decency, I probably should skip past the last paragraph and not mention the pathetic comparison to be made between ceiling fans for the paying customers who attend the games regularly and entirely new facilities to entertain recruits who… um, don’t, nor the pathetic band-aid McGarity’s tried to slap on poor concessions service (“hopefully” is the ginormous tell there; even McGarity isn’t trying to claim success).  I guess I’m not that decent.

What’s noteworthy here is two-fold.  One, that the athletic director even felt the need to revise and amend his earlier tone-deaf remarks indicates to me that there’s been more heat about the level of customer satisfaction over the stadium experience than I anticipated.  Second, McGarity felt it necessary to point a finger at Butts-Mehre for doing a poor job of communicating to fans.  Mea culpas from the athletics department to the fan base aren’t something you read every day.  So, to everyone who’s lifted a voice and complained, my compliments.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start popping champagne corks just yet.  Talk is cheap and doesn’t cost the reserve fund a cent.  Not to mention nothing in McGarity’s remarks indicates he’s convinced of anything more than that some people are bitching.  Put it this way — if you think that installing ceiling fans is a concrete solution to any of the structural problems in the game day experience that the spending on the new west end stadium project has exacerbated in the minds of the people who show up to cheer on the Dawgs, then you’re part of the problem.

60 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“Georgia is looking to move towards dual threats.”

If this report is to be believed, Jacob Eason isn’t the only quarterback whom Smart wants running the ball.

33 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, Strategery And Mechanics

“Running is definitely not one of my strengths…”

Run, Jacob.

… so why didn’t he choose to run out of trouble more often?

“A lot of it was freshman nerves,” Eason said after the Liberty Bowl. “Moving around wasn’t my big thing and wasn’t my skill set, so I wasn’t comfortable doing that. Now, when the opportunity is there, you’ve got to take it.”

Running was never hailed as the 6-foot-5, 235-pounder’s primary asset last winter, when he enrolled early as the top quarterback nationally according to ESPN and Rivals.com. It wasn’t by the end of last season, either, but Eason had discovered using his feet was getting him out of dire predicaments.

Eason had 15- and 8-yard runs against TCU in Memphis, with the former his longest of the season, topping a 12-yard scramble at Missouri. His coaches hope to see more of that ability.

“He’s got to understand where the sticks are and to go get them,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after the Liberty Bowl. “He scrambled for a couple of first downs that were big momentum swings, and I just think that Jacob is growing up.”

Said offensive coordinator Jim Chaney: “He’s still just so young that he doesn’t always know when to do it.”

First off, when you’ve played your high school career in a shotgun, five-wide set, the need for you to run simply isn’t there.  Second, I suspect that having Eason run early on last season wasn’t exactly a high priority on Smart’s and Chaney’s to-do list.  So laying all of that on the kid is a bit unfair.

That being said, if the defense is gonna give you something, you’ve got to learn how to take advantage of it.  Getting the green light is great, but you still have to know how to drive the car properly.

Apparently Eason’s getting some lessons on that from a couple of skilled drivers.

Smart said in Memphis that Bulldogs tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel spent time with Eason during the bowl practices to teach him some tricks of the trade.

“With the two best running backs in the nation, it’s not hard to learn from them to see what they do,” Eason said. “Obviously I’m not going to run like them, but they give me an idea.”

I’m really looking forward to that first Eason stiff-arm that extends a run.

 

19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football