“It’s almost a rat race as far as facilities go.”

Georgia fans, you want to know why we can’t have nice things?  Because, even after spending $100+ million to make Kirby Smart happier — not happy, mind you, just happier — there’s plenty more where that came from.

Prior to all this, Georgia’s biggest football-related facilities project was completed in Feb. 2011, a $33 million addition to the Butts-Mehre facility. That included an all-purpose room (since gutted to make room for the indoor facility), the coaches’ offices, and a 13,000-square foot weight room.

So, as athletics director Greg McGarity points out, that’s well over $120 million spent on mainly-football facilities this decade. McGarity said that should be a “show of strength.”

… Mississippi State’s weight room, which opened in 2013, is 16,000 square feet. South Carolina’s current weight room is 14,250 square feet, and as part of a bigger project (more on that later) will have a new weight room that is 22,000 square feet. Kentucky’s weight room is 14,000.

Among the only SEC programs with a smaller weight room than Georgia is Ole Miss, which reported its to be 10,000.

Outside the conference, Clemson’s new facility will include a 23,000-square foot workout area, including a second level and a nutrition bar…

… There’s another thing that strikes you when you’re at Alabama: The easy access that players have to their facility and academic center. It’s all a short walk — or drive.

The main dorm, where underclassmen usually reside, is a block-and-a-half away. So players can easily walk over and back. For those that want to drive — such as upperclassmen who live off campus — there is a spacious parking lot adjacent to the facility.

Georgia players, on the other hand, usually have to park their cars at a parking deck, a couple minutes’ walk from their facility. Media members and others who work at Butts-Mehre use the same parking deck. There is very limited parking right at Butts-Mehre, which is land-locked, with baseball’s Foley Field and the outdoor track on each side, and Stegeman Coliseum behind it, and an elementary school in front.

… But when it comes to football, Alabama has often set the standard, and many others are following, complete with snazzy extras.

Clemson has opened a $55 million facility that includes a mini golf course, a bowling alley and laser tag.

Oregon spent $138 million on its complex, with the help of Nike, and the kind of perks you’d expect.

It’s not just at the power-conference level: UCF is planning a $25 million facility that will include a lazy river. Athletics director Danny White said they’re going to fundraise for it too.

… Last September, Florida announced a $100 million facilities upgrade, creating the first standalone football facility in the program’s history. The Gators, who also lacked an indoor facility until a few years ago, finally got in the arms race and are pushing hard.

Florida’s plan is for the facility to be three stories and basically have everything: Weight room, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, team and position meeting rooms, a player’s lounge, and plenty more.

South Carolina began construction on a $50 million football operations facility in January. Head coach Will Muschamp said last year that before the project South Carolina was in the “bottom half of the SEC” in facilities. This will change that. It will include a new weight room, coaches’ offices, a recruiting center, locker room, meeting rooms, dining room and more.

This shit literally never ends.

“I have news for you: In a few years there’ll be something else. Either with respect to football or respect to many of our other outstanding programs,” Morehead said. “So the sooner and faster we can raise these funds, it puts us in a position to know that we are again in a situation where we can do something else moving forward. But I am absolutely committed to supporting our athletic director and our football coach as they go out and make the case for this project.”

Combining endless demands to keep up with the football Joneses of the South along with Georgia’s seeming inability to handle more than one major capital project at a time, what Emerson euphemizes as “a focused approach”, means there’s never going to be a time when McGarity can settle back and calmly plan and bid out a major project to update Sanford Stadium’s shortcomings.  Er… fans’ shortcomings, that is.

It all gives a whole new meaning to winning is everything, doesn’t it?

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75 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

75 responses to ““It’s almost a rat race as far as facilities go.”

  1. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    Here’s something I think indicates the disconnect between BM and the fans. Do you remember when BM opened and Dooley was AD, there was a big open house and fans were invited in to see the new building. You could walk around, see and walk into offices including the AD’s, walk through the locker rooms and weight rooms, the whole building was open. If there’s been anything like that for any of the new facilities or renovations, I didn’t hear about it. Did you get invited?

    Like

    • Otto

      No and I really don’t care to get invited. I want the program on level footing with rivals.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the problem. It’s never gonna happen.

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        • Otto

          Maybe so but we can fight how far behind the program is falling.

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          • “We”? I’m all ears on this one.

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            • Otto

              While things move slowly in Athens they do have some notion of how far they can push the fans before they don’t collect their money.

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              • Examples of that would be…?

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                • Otto

                  Richt is gone

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                  • LMAO. No money threat there.

                    If that’s your standard, Fox should be a dead man walking. 😉

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                    • Otto

                      http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/sec/2015/11/05/georgia-football-coach-mark-richt/75214044/

                      Georgia does not have one or two mega-boosters with the influence to make the call on Richt, but the displeasure of the Bulldogs’ high-dollar financial supporters has made its way to Morehead’s office.

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                    • That is a far cry from “While things move slowly in Athens they do have some notion of how far they can push the fans before they don’t collect their money.”

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                    • Otto

                      Tarkenton was one of the 1st donors for the IPF he was also outspoken against Richt.

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                    • Yes, if there’s one credo I’ve lived my life as a Georgia fan by, it’s that Fran Tarkenton speaks for me.

                      Jesus, what a stretch you’re making.

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                    • Otto

                      UGA does not hold basketball to the standard it does football.

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                    • Otto

                      LMAO. No money threat there.

                      Just pulling out the obvious. Fans, hard to say without real report but I was getting some nice deals on tickets.

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                    • When season ticket sales fall by 20+%, you’ve got a point.

                      Which means you don’t have a point.

                      These guys operate on the basis that we’re going to pony up year after year.

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                    • Otto

                      When I get offered Auburn, WLOCP, UT tickets at face value by season ticket holders who also donate and attend basketball games, and reduced their number of tickets they know fans are getting unhappy.

                      Really the very fact that we’re debating on where facilities spending is going rather than IF they’re spending on facilities is an indication of change. Does Kirby Smart still use his old locker?

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                    • As McGarity indicates, they’ve always spent money on facilities. If it seems like more now than before, you can thank the SEC Network for that.

                      Revenues have trended upwards for years. B-M doesn’t give a shit what you pay for tickets you buy from others.

                      Look, Michael Adams alienated far more of the fan and donor base than Richt ever did, yet left entirely on his own terms. Men’s basketball, however you want to excuse things, is the second-biggest revenue sport on campus and has been essentially neglected despite a lack of fan support.

                      The reality is that the administration has never worried about the unwashed. But if you want to spin Richt + Tarkenton into some big explanation for how B-M cares, knock yourself out.

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                    • gastr1

                      Re: basketball, there’s an annual game in Wichita, Kansas called “laughing at the idiot fan bases that think they can get Gregg Marshall to leave” (well, it may not be called that, exactly, but the schools that come calling are an annual ritual.) Yesterday a local sports host in Wichita listed the schools that may come around, and Georgia was one of the ones they threw out there. Then they pointed out that Marshall has a seven years left on a contract worth over $20 million that will have to be bought out or negotiated away by any school that wants him.

                      I personally thought Georgia even being in that conversation, even among people who don’t know McGiggity, was laugh-out-loud comical.

                      Like

        • Ag Dawg

          Why can’t it happen? Why can’t we get an AD with vision that understands that athletic office is a non-profit and winning is an investment into the university.

          I want nice bathrooms and concessions as much as the next guy, but I give money so the program can win….not be comfortable in the stadium while we lose.

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      • Just Chuck (The Other One)

        Has the AD done anything to suggest he cares about the fans (with the possible exception of the big donors)? People don’t feel connected, people don’t send in their money and we’re back to the days when you didn’t have to be a contributor to buy season tickets. Hasn’t been that long.

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    • Normaltown Mike

      Not to be Debbie Downer, but the IAF was open to the public at a ribbon cutting ceremony in February.

      Like

  2. Godawg

    I thought we had plenty of scooter parking!

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  3. Timphd

    Just wondering what would happen if you polled the college players and asked if having a “lazy river” in their facilities was preferred over some coin in their pockets for discretionary spending. I’m betting the overwhelming percentage would screw the bowling alleys and laser tag rooms in order to be able to take their girlfriend to a nice dinner. Or maybe help their family pay the light bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HVL Dawg

    Spec-Townes Track is a dead man walking.

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  5. Lrgk9

    Can we have the money Adams took out back?

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    • Bulldog Joe

      This is the root cause.

      Georgia skims its additional media revenue over to the university, expecting to remain competitive with other athletic departments who are reinvesting this same revenue into their athletic programs (in both capital and operations budgets).

      Georgia can’t have it both ways.

      Each year, Georgia’s on-field and on-court performance is (predictably) falling shorter of its competition in nearly every sport.

      If Georgia genuinely cares about its student-athletes, its alumni, its students, its supporters, and the positive value a successful athletic program has on the university, it would stop the $20M per year skimming and run a zero-based athletic budget.

      Until this happens, everything else they say is just empty words.

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      • AusDawg85

        We’re #10 in best college value though! Florida is #7, however, which sort of kills the “you can’t have it both ways” argument.

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        • Bulldog Joe

          UGA was a top ten best college value long before they started robbing $20M per year from the Athletic Department.

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  6. PTC DAWG

    Honestly, where does this all end?

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  7. Gravidy

    I can’t believe this passage escaped your wrath, Senator:

    “Then your rainy day fund’s gone,” McGarity said. “It’s a really complex issue. If you took that money out then you’ve erased your ability to weather a storm. And I think that’s what keeps us solvent, that’s the strength of our program.”

    The notion that the “strength of (UGA’s) program” is having the financial resources to “weather a storm” (rather than, you know, victories on the field) is a meaty fastball right in your kitchen.

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    • Will (The Other One)

      Yeah, that and the “don’t compare our facilities to Alabama” quote (right before we read about how South Carolina is about to pass us facilities-wise) doesn’t exactly shake the image of McGarity as a gigantic tightwad.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      https://www.dawgnation.com/football/uga-amasses-77-million-reserve-funds-prepared.

      Amidst the lies Greg tells to provide cover for the university’s athletic slush fund, he had one brief moment of truthfulness.

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

      And that’s all we need to know.

      If you think you’re supporting the University’s athletic efforts with your dollars… well, you’re not.

      Like

  8. Hobnail_Boot

    Oh, those poor athlete-students who aren’t getting paid.

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  9. Billy Mumphrey

    I can see Sanford Stadium restrooms and doodoo ice are going to be the Senator’s off season obsession this year. See you in August!

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  10. JCDAWG83

    With ESPN cutting jobs and losing subscribers and attendance at games dropping, this could turn into an interesting game of musical chairs when the tv and ticket money slows down and programs find themselves without a chair.

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    • All the more reason to look ahead of the trend and upgrade the in-person experience: protect the revenue stream you can most directly control.

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      • JCDAWG83

        Winning a championship will solve almost every problem. If we win the SEC, the restrooms, crappy concessions, parking problems, traffic issues, etc. will all be ignored. After a championship, BM will be able to raise donation levels and ticket prices and facilities upgrades will be a piece of cake.

        Another mediocre season and I think the fan interest starts down the slippery slope. There are already too many competing activities for the average fan’s leisure/entertainment funds. Before BM tries to sell the fans on shelling out more money for facilities, they need to put a champion on the field.

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        • Winning a championship will solve almost every problem. If we win the SEC, the restrooms, crappy concessions, parking problems, traffic issues, etc. will all be ignored.

          Bullshit.

          Perhaps you should quit conflating your opinion into that of the entire paying fan base.

          Liked by 1 person

          • JCDAWG83

            Hell Senator, the majority of fans ignore the problems now. How else do you explain the continued selling out of season tickets in spite of lackluster seasons? The money is pouring in, the stadium is generally full and the game day experience is no better.

            I think you and some of the other folks here are the ones conflating their opinions onto the fan base. The results would lend more support to my position than yours on this issue.

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            • First you tell me a championship will cure the fans’ woes. Now you tell me nobody cares in the first place. Whatever.

              I’m one of those people who pays every season to enjoy UGA football. I must be weird, because I’m still able to take some level of pleasure out of attending even in years without a championship. Funny thing is I know a lot of people who share my outlook.

              Unlike you, I’m careful not to equate my stance with the fan base as a whole. I’ve said more than once here that there are plenty of people who only care about winning and will tolerate whatever the cost is for that. There are also plenty of fans who pay because they don’t want to lose their priority in the fear that the team will improve after they do so.

              But maybe, just maybe, you ought to pay attention to the number of people who comment here and at message boards about how they’ve given up their season tickets. I’m not imagining the disgruntlement. Nor, it seems, is Greg McGarity (not that I expect him to be particularly motivated by it).

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              • JCDAWG83

                A championship won’t cure the ills but the majority of fans will ignore them and BM will raise prices and the tickets will still sell out. The place is full now, warts and all, throw in a championship and you’ll have a waiting list for tickets. It’s not my stance, it’s my observation.

                I’m certainly not the prototypical season ticket buying Georgia fan who attends games. I don’t get season tickets and really don’t want them. I can go to every game I want to for a fraction of what season ticket holders pay and I don’t have the feeling of obligation to use the tickets. I enjoy going to the games because of the total experience of a trip to Athens, seeing friends, walking around campus, tailgating, etc.. The game has become not much more than a catalyst to make the day trip happen. If I am an example of anything, I’m an example of the opposite of the “win at all costs” fan. I’m the leading advocate of raising admission standards for players and for stopping the insane construction spending projects to “attract recruits”.

                If all fans were like me, the university would never sell out season tickets and the stadium would be half full for quite a few of the stinker games. As to the number of people here and on message boards giving up tickets, it doesn’t appear a large enough number has made that decision to affect attendance at games. I’ve said all along, on this and other topics, that until enough people vote with their wallets, BM will do nothing or take less than half measures to improve the game day experience. Currently, the stadium and the coffers are full. If the team wins a championship, the vast majority of fans will overlook the game day issues and revel in the glory of the championship.

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    • Cousin Eddie

      by then McG will be unemployed (hopefully) and the next guy will look like a genius.

      Like

  11. McGarity vs the media/fans is quite entertaining.

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    • Howdy Doody, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics

      I’m really getting sick of hearing from the Society of the Miserable. It would be nice if everyone would just have some class and send their money in without running their mouth.

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  12. Athens Dog

    I’ve always believed that this is the intelligent comment section. And it usually is. Wonder what’s happening on the Dawgvent?

    BTW, this discussion is needed and appropriate. My 2 cents

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  13. Macallanlover

    Paraphrasing Jeff Foxworthy: If your Athletic Director has spent $120MM on your football facilities in less than a decade, yet you stand in long lines to get into the stadium before noon, stand in piss up to your ankles using the potty, don’t have time to get your child/spouse a hot dog or pizza and a coke at halftime without missing any of the action, cannot get a wireless signal to listen the the radio broadcast necessitated by a garbled sound system so bad you cannot understand the announcer, and are forced to listen/endure really bad electro music blared at you through the system while the Red Coat band is ordered to sit silently on their hands, you might have an idiot for an Athletic Director. With apologies to all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dawgtired

      “are forced to listen/endure really bad electro music blared at you through the system while the Red Coat band is ordered to sit silently on their hands”

      This is the one thing I really don’t understand. The band and school pageantry is what sets college ball apart from all others. Why change what’s special about the college experience? I guess some day soon school bands will be a thing of the past. Sad really.

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  14. 'Ol Gill

    It’s just sad. Imagine where we could be as a university if we (and everyone) could put all this effort towards the university instead of one team. I’m not criticizing the athletic department, after all this is the business we’ve chosen. But I’ve always wished that season tickets were allocated to a general university wide fund rather than just filling the Butts-Mehre’s coffers. But then again, that would probably just fuel an administration salary bubble anyway.

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    • Ricky McDurden

      There’s a salary bubble at the University in general already. Pretty large gap from the 6 figure salaries of Directors to salaries half as much for the next person in line.

      Our AD sucks but he’s just toeing the company line. Chalk this up to UGA Culture

      Like

  15. Russ

    I just want to eat the sausage. I don’t want to see it made.

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  16. Former Fan

    Currently, SEC football has two customers: ESPN and talented high school football players.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. DawgByte

    I have just donated $48,500,000 for a new Fornicatorium at UGA. It’s the first of it’s kind in the SEC and should attract more 5 stars to our program.

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  18. It seems all of this is just serving to separate the student-athlete/unpaid employee from the rest of the university community.

    #BurnItDown Jeffrey Kessler …

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  19. Hogbody Spradlin

    The rat race is over, and the rats won.

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  20. Jt (the other one)

    Sheesh. Got to make sure that the kniting team is as well funded as football. McEars doesn’t realize that the more you spend on your cash cow the MORE it will make…economics…

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    • “The more you spend on your cash cow the MORE it will make … economics …”

      That’s not a law of economics. Sensible investment helps it continue to grow. A state of the art weight room … sure. Waterfall in said locker room … no way.

      The problem is right now the AD is squeezing every de out of the rank and file of the fan base without improving the customer experience. Eventually, that blows up in your face because people decide Section HD plus StubHub is a better option than the season ticket option.

      Like