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.