Who needs a master plan when you’ve got a reserve fund?

In light of my last post, this is timely work from Seth Emerson (who deserves more credit than some of you give him).

When it comes to the subject of football spending and facilities, Jon Stinchcomb is in a unique position. As a former Georgia player, he knows what the team needs and wants. As a current member of Georgia’s athletic board, he has a vote and a say in how and what money is spent.

Over the past month, Stinchbomb has cast a vote agreeing to a project that will cost the school and donors $63 million. He’s also had numerous conversations with friends and donors about what more needs to be done.

And what the plan is. And if there isn’t one, what it should be.

“Even for your big-money donors, it’s not: We don’t want to spend the money. It’s: Let’s make sure we’re spending it in the right places, and that it’s part of an over-arching, big picture approach that keeps us competitive,” Stinchbomb said. “And included in that is: Help me understand what we’re doing with the reserve (funds), and what’s our approach to that.”

Based on conversations with several donors, most of whom did not want to be named, there is a concern over whether Georgia has an institution is spending enough to keep up in the SEC and national facilities arms race. But the overarching concern is whether there is a master plan, or whether the school simply playing whack-a-mole, moving deliberately from one project to the next.

I can help with that.  There’s nothing proactive about the Georgia Way.  Nada.  If you need further evidence, welp, here’s some.

That’s also why the school is fundraising for the major projects: After donors answered the call for the indoor facility, the school is seeking $53 million from donors for the $63 million Sanford Stadium project.

So how will that go? Stinchcomb said fans want to give and they support the school. They just want a “clarification and understanding as they write these sizable checks” what previous donations have gone to and “how this fits in a much bigger picture.”

“When people ask me, because I’m a board member, the approach is not: We don’t want to give,” Stinchcomb said. “It’s, Help me understand where we are with the reserve, what our plan is with the reserve, and how that coincides with the raising for this project specifically of $53 million.”

That’s pretty sad.  When the people sitting on the athletic board who have to vote on these capital projects don’t have any more of a clue than we unwashed do as to what Butts-Mehre is up to, Athens, you have a problem.  The question is whether the folks running the shop care; the answer is no, up to a point.

The stadium project announcement set off many fans who were concerned about the state of the bathrooms and concourses at the stadium. McGarity attempted to answer that by “expediting” work on those in time for next season, at a cost of $950,000.

Doing nothing until the paying customers scream isn’t my idea of great customer service, but then again, I’m not raking in the bucks like they are.  As I keep saying, it’s a helluva way to run a railroad.  Seth mentions that school officials defend having that big reserve fund, because they need protection in case the seeming deluge of money stops.  Unless they’re gonna use it to buy a whole bunch of smart pills should that day ever come, I don’t see what good that’ll do.

I’ve seen some suggestions that people like Stinchcomb or Frank Ros would make excellent replacements for McGarity.  What I haven’t seen are any suggestions as to why they would want to take the job in the first place.

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37 Comments

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37 responses to “Who needs a master plan when you’ve got a reserve fund?

  1. what a big mess we are. one giant charlie foxtrot.

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  2. 'Ol Gill

    I like Jon Stinchcomb. But giving him the AD job would be exactly the Georgia Way. Hire an unproven guy for less rather than going and getting an experienced guy who has already made things happen.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Just Chuck (The Other One)

      Didn’t we think we were getting experience when we hired GM? He’s a Georgia guy who, presumably, learned from Foley who was considered a top notch AD.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chi-town Dawg

        That’s what we thought, but instead we got a career underling who was never destined to be anything more and just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Don’t forget he was passed over the UGA AD job once before Michael Adams picked him the second time around.

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      • 'Ol Gill

        The wrong kind of experience. He’s Jeremy Foley without the titles and it’s not exactly a secret that Florida fans aren’t big fans of Foley. He just got lucky.

        Besides, the best way isn’t a 100% guarantee in any endeavor. So we missed this time. It doesn’t mean we should hire Herschel as AD. I know a guy who bought a ’05 Camry off of Craigslist sight unseen. It worked out for him but I wouldn’t recommend it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. paul

    If there was a master plan Stinchcomb, for sure, would not only be aware of its existence, he’d actually know what it is and be able to talk intelligently about it. That’s why master plans exist. If he is unaware or unable to verbalize it, it doesn’t exist. So, now our new talking point is “what’s the master plan Greg?”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mark

    I read his post and knew you’d been blessed with afternoon material. Emerson is doing good work and seems to be on the same page as your blog. We thank you both for bringing this issue to the forefront in such a coordinated, timely manner whether you intended to or not. Dawgnation has been heard and things are starting to happen.

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  5. 92 grad

    Ha, have you ever tried explaining concepts like “development ” and “master plan” or “mission statement” to high income 30-somethings who’ve never heard of anything like that? Institutional philosophy escapes many people. I sat on the board of a local private school and their idea of development was having bake sales and getting volunteers to cut the grass, never mind trying to establish a mission statement….I sure wouldn’t want to steer the B-M board, they seem to be similar…..

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    • Otto

      Sounds like the baseball renovation plan.

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      • Ricky McDurden

        If by “renovation plan” you mean “take an outdated, depressingly small facility and give it some air conditioned seating options we can overcharge the few folks that bother to show up to watch my god awful hire for while leaving the rest of the facility woefully outdated and depressingly small”

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    • Snoop Dawgy Dawg

      I think this references that there is a big difference in running a business and working in a business. I’m a 30 something something or other. Other than defining and refining my sales strategy and pitch, I don’t have involvement in the strategic direction or development of business strategy at my company.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Don’t blame the board members here, they are a rubber stamp for advancing the chairman’s agenda. The chairman (Morehead) puts them on the board, and the chairman can take them off. Being a board member is a reward for contributions to the President’s agenda for the University at large. The real decision making lies 100% with the President and the AD (and those who they are beholden to).

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  7. Timphd

    “The one thing we’re lacking is groundbreaking thinking”. Have truer words ever been spoken?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. South FL Dawg

    And this is the first time the board asks? Makes you wonder where the board fits in the big picture.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Normaltown Mike

    “why they would want to take the job in the first place.”

    Easy, they wouldn’t have to use the ordinary stadium facilities!

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  10. Cojones

    These questions have been opined here before and it goes back to the IPF and Richt. It was first agreed that we needed it and then silence from the AD as to how and when to get it and become competitive in another area (facilities) that we were lagging behind in the SEC. The subject was raised time and again, but what we weren’t so sure of was if and when it would get built; something seemed to be holding it up and accounting for the foot-dragging. Sure was, and that was the subterfuge going on to replace Richt. After Smart’s hire, the rest of the unfinished conversation took over and, before the first shovel full of dirt was dug, the call went out for alumni to donate to the IPF and preserve the reserve fund . This looks to be the way it’s going to be with McGarity whenever anything needs to be supported, ad nauseum. These pesky downturns cannot be all laid at McG’s feet, nor do I think that we should consider his replacement since it makes us look like a third world institution.

    I’m holding the Regents and the rest of the “Good Ole Boys” at B-M responsible for McG’s actions and for the manner that he does our AD’s business. McG looks like a Major Domo who moves in the direction the puppeteers want and it’s up to them to judge the job McG does, not us. I will not lose sight of that fact when moving forward. And you are correct as to his replacement; it wouldn’t make a twit of difference considering he would be dealing with the power behind the power.

    I am of the opinion that Seth Emerson does a bang-up job getting to the heart of the matter and for researching his facts. I am of the opinion that some bloggers continue to view his move to AJC as a place where his personal writing style is crimped and could be edited out of meaningful journalism when reporting on the Georgia Bulldogs. It ain’t happened, so we should view him as that person on the AJC that we can identify and agree with concerning the Georgia Bulldogs and who does his homework in a milieu that sometimes discounts many good opinions of UGA.

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  11. Bright Idea

    There’s been lots of inbreeding in the upper levels of UGA athletic administration for a long time. The few outsiders that are hired seem to come and go. UGA needs a middle-aged, experienced AD who really doesn’t need the job, just the challenge. I believe this inbreeding also inhibits any forward thinking and vision because of the landlocked south campus that leads everybody to believe that an IPF would be ugly and wouldn’t fit (it is not and does) and the track and baseball stadium could never be moved off campus and they could never raze old 4-H offices, etc. etc. Just too much antiquated thinking. I don’t want UGA athletics to go broke but I despise mediocrity while it doesn’t.

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    • DawgPhan

      I have decided that no ones that works at B-M knows what it takes to win. Anything. They know what it takes to keep suckling at the teet and that is about it.

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  12. I've Stopped Caring

    Too many lifers. Too many people that have been there their entire adult lives. People that came to UGA as student athletes and immediately took a job after graduating. We need new blood. We’ve got people that have been in place decades. GMac was at UF for 18 years, but did you notice when he left they didn’t even bother to replace him?

    Liked by 2 people

  13. H. Randolph Holder

    My Dad worked for UGA for over 30 years and often heard comments from his co-workers that UGA would be a great place to work if it weren’t for all of the students. This type of attitude, I believe, is prevalent in the AA except that the comment would be “This would be a great place to work if it weren’t for all of the sports we have to manage.” There seems to be terrible complacency all over the organization and I believe that there is an overarching view that our athletic programs, and the fans that support them, are a necessary evil and even a nuisance at times.

    It seems that it is too difficult and takes too much effort for anyone in the AA to do what needs to be done to win or even be the best we can be. They had rather simply try and be “competitive” as even Mr. Stinchcomb said in the article. That comment tells me that even those at the top of the top have no idea what it takes to be the best or simply don’t have the desire to do so. In my mind if you field a team you are competitive. You many not be able to compete with those that you would like to, but you can compete with somebody.

    The reserve fund is nothing more than an assurance that those being paid by the AA can continue to be paid when enough of us (except for the folks in the Sky Suites) decide to give up and stop supporting. If that day ever comes, and I believe the powers that be think it might, the reserve fund money will tide them over until something good happens by sheer dumb luck and folks jump back on the bandwagon. It is simply an insurance policy for themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. doofusdawg

    Anyone who has ever been on a board knows the deal. You have members who suffer from the paralysis of analysis and those who want to just fix the problem. Then you have the tweeners who agree that something needs to be done but want to establish transparency and also wish to accommodate the same “process” types. Typically the president needs to be a fix the problem type or you have stagnation.

    Whether or not a long range plan is the answer or not is debatable. But rest assured the next thing we will read about is the new focus of the long range planning committee. What we won’t read about is the “process” by which the board approved spending a million bucks on the toilets.

    It ain’t rocket science… and it’s time for some alpha types to do some alpha things for the sake of UGA athletics.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. MooseDog

    The Master Plan issue is a YUUGE one. It is really incredible to think that the leadership did not feel it was a necessity. Master Plans help identify the long range wishes of the constituency. This will not be popular, but compare the planning at GA Tech to that at UGA.

    As an Atlantan, I can identify numerous recent examples of where GA Tech immediately bought nearby property east of the Connector when it became available. No need to identify its immediate use…only it’s long term value to the university. No need to fund raise before committing. For Non-Atlantans, this is a beach-head into the rest of Mid-Town Atlanta. Valuable Real Estate.

    Compare that with the experience in Athens. Barrow Elementary school (built in 1923) is right across Pinecrest Drive from Butts-Mehre. The property appears to be of similar size to the BM building footprint. Sometime around 2010, Athens Clarke County decided it needed to improve the school and offered three options: find a new location(!!!), tear down and build anew, or renovate. They decided to renovate on the same property. Where was the UGA AA in that discussion? I can promise you that GA Tech would have found a way to buy that property and build a state of the art elementary school in a different location. Everybody Wins.

    The long view wins…every time. In addition, donors give to vision more that they give to short term need. Food for thought.

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  16. doofusdawg

    Athletics over academics is not the Georgia Way… even if it is preschool.

    What we need is for aging Athens rock stars to come out in favor of UGA athletics… at least that would confuse them.

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  17. JoshG that was the comment of the decade.

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