It’s nothing personal. Really.

For those of you who think I’ve been a little too negative, a little too obsessive about Georgia’s athletic department and its seeming lack of appreciation for the majority of the fan base, here’s a dose of reality for you:

For years, Georgia’s head football and basketball coaches used to go on an extensive spring speaking tour, answering questions and shaking hands with fans who paid a small fee at the door.

Those days of extensive touring  around Georgia appear to be over. At least for now.

The university has planned five events this spring featuring Kirby Smart, but they will be private donor events – and for now only one will be in the state of Georgia…

In the past, Georgia football and basketball coach did as many as 12 spring tour stops, almost all in the state, from Columbus to Macon to Augusta and even smaller stops. But those tours have gradually dissipated:

In Mark Richt’s final year, he only went to seven stops. Last year Smart went to five stops, though four of the were in-state, the exception being a donor event in Dallas.

This year it’s going all-private, which someone with knowledge said evolved from Smart coming in with a new approach, and UGA wanting to do fundraising. There’s a feeling they don’t need the old model, where fans get a chance to hear from coaches and ask them questions, because of social media and other factors. Crowds at these events had also been going down.  [Emphasis added.]

“The university is trying to be strategic to generate the money that everybody needs to generate right now,” McGarity said. “The purpose of these events have changed, they’ve morphed over the years.”

And you thought Butts-Mehre couldn’t think strategically about anything.  When it comes to shaking the money tree as efficiently as possible, these guys make the Boy Scouts’ proverbial preparedness look lackadaisical.  Unfortunately, we fans get in the way of the new order.  The less time Smart has to deal with us, the more time he has for fundraising and recruiting, which is all that truly matters to the program now.

Have no fear, though, they’ve got plans for dealing with the rest of us, too.

The athletics department did seem to anticipate some fan blowback.

“As for our donors, I realize there may be some sensitivity to the majority of the events being out of state this year,” associate athletics director for development Matt Borman wrote in an internal e-mail earlier this month. “If donors bring this up to you please just say that we are excited to be in Atlanta with an event in July and we wanted to take an opportunity this year to visit some of our supporters who don’t have the opportunity to make it to Athens on a regular basis.

“After this year of events we will reevaluate and definitely consider bringing some of these events back into Georgia.”

They will, if you make it worth their while.  Otherwise, they’ll keep right on morphing — and counting on your acquiescence in the process.  Hell, it’s worked nicely for them so far.

I know I felt better after reading that.  And you?

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72 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

72 responses to “It’s nothing personal. Really.

  1. Castleberry

    Well, it depends on whether or not I get an invite.

    Like

  2. DefactoDawg

    with each passing day, I am more thankful that I gave up my tickets after 37 years of support. The lack of media savvy and level of tone deafness is astounding. And today’s “The First Word” did UGAA no favors. The final paragraph smacks of “you’ll know what we want you to know,” much like The Kremlin in its heyday.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. aladawg

    But we got our e-mail from ADGM telling us how good our Women’s track and swimming team finished in the NCAA’s. He wants us to get the news before the media gets it. Oh, Glory Be to Thee senor McGoofy!

    Like

  4. DawgintheDec

    Just win, baby. That’ll cure a lot hurt feelings.

    Like

  5. The motto being, since you common folks are slime, just learn to be miserable, and let us count our money. When(?) we win that championship, you will all love us. If we do not win one, just look at all the money. Yeah for fund raising.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Granthams replacement

    The fan/donor who buys 2-4 seats is becoming more irrelevant as the TV/ad rights go up. Currently the non fan revenue is approximately 33% and it’s shrinking. The big donor project money is the target now. At some point the AD won’t care at all if the stadium is sold out, he might be there now. A good example is when the west end zone project gets cranked up it will ensure the stadium is at least 1/4 empty at kickoff.

    Like

  7. Reminds me of what the Athenians said a long time ago. “Right” is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. Just as true today as it was 2500 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. DawgPhan

    I thought that you might have an opinion on this news.

    Like

  9. Unbelievable … the fan base should tell the AD and the B-M apparatus where to stick it by not showing up at G-Day.

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  10. dawgfan

    Maybe they should invite only the big money donors to the G-Day game. Think I’ll save myself the the time, effort, and MONEY this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. 79Dawg

    As someone who has attended these events multiple times and in multiple venues – in Savannah, at the Galleria, and at private and semi-private events in Atlanta last year – this is d-u-m dumb. The events I went to in Savannah were always well attended (I assume it was the same in the other smaller locales around the state) and were a good way to get some energy going around the state and build some goodwill in those areas. Likewise, the event at the Galleria was always a good way to kick off the season with folks from all over Atlanta (I assume it was similar when it used to be at Colony Square).
    Last year, I went to a private event with Kirby at a rooftop bar/catering facility downtown, probably with 120 other folks or so. Chuck “interviewed” him (they had their shtick down perfectly), you got your picture with him, and a free lunch. Not. Sure how much the bank that invited me paid for the table, but it was definitely a low dollar fundraising op. (Greg was a no show). Would probably not go again if invited.
    Finally, I went to an event at a Buckhead hotel that was for donors to athletics and academics. Jere, Greg, Kirby and Fox were all there. Kirby gave the same canned speech and bit with Chuck. It was not a direct fundraiser, but they made pitches for dough. It was much more similar to the prior barnstorming events (but was semi-private/not open to public/by invitation). Might go back, if only to network.
    Not taking some time to barnstorm around the state and have a kickoff event in Atlanta is, in my opinion, a big mistake. One of the great things about college football used to be that you felt like you were part of something, now, as is often said here, we are just ATMs….

    Liked by 1 person

  12. PTC DAWG

    It’s the TV money talking….IMHO.

    Like

    • MLB2

      Absolutely right, PTC. They are like the NFL. They don’t care about the average fan because they don’t need them. As long as the TV revenue keeps coming in, they don’t care if the stadium is empty. In 10 years, the crowd will be CGI.

      Like

  13. Dawg in Championship Exile

    It’s not personal, there’s just no championships in the men’s big 3 since 1990. Since 2000 LSU 2 baseball NC, USCjr 2 baseball NC, Vanderbilt 1 baseball NC, even Coastal Carolina has a baseball NC. Since 2000, Alabama 5 NC in football, LSU 2 NC, Auburn 1 NC, Florida 2 NC in football, Clemson 1 NC.
    Basketball Florida 2 and Kentucky 1 with USCjr in the final four. And a 70+ million reserve. McGarity and the Athletic depart compare to TN, not a championship program. Every state surrounding GA has multiple NC in the big three w/the exception of TN, where Vandy has claimed the states 1 NC in the men’s big 3 since 2000. All the states and GT have experienced football NC since UGA. Except for TN the states surrounding GA have had multiple NC in football since UGA. Just let those facts sink in for a minute. UGA has been a very low performing athletic department for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Bard Parker

    His visit to Columbus last year was well attended and everyone thought that a larger venue would be needed when/if he came again

    Like

  15. 81Dog

    Let them eat cake, eh, Greg?

    Usually, you have to win a couple of national titles before you start giving your own fan base the finger. I dont know if the current regime can coach its way out of a paper bag, but stuff like this makes me wonder: did we get The Process 2.0, or just The Process Lite (all the arrogance, half the victories)?

    Sounds great, less fulfilling! I can hardly wait for the zany commercials.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. J Reid Parker Director of Reserves

    The First Word…

    You have 4 more days to get your ticket orders in.

    I wanted to get you people that news before the media twisted my message.

    Like

  17. 69Dawg

    This has been a long time coming. The Bulldog Club morphed into the Alumni get togethers. There is a fairly good size group in Southwest Florida that has been around for years. The University refused to let them call themselves a Bulldog Club so they call themselves the Salty Dawgs. This club included alums and just fans of UGA.

    The start of this hold mess was the construction of the suites. The big money boys and the corporate guys did not want to be in with the great unwashed. So while the mob gets thrown in jail for daring to bring alcohol into the stadium, the money guys are treated to open bars. The TV money just made it a lot worst they really DGAS whether the fans show up or not. It’s going to be embarrassing when the home games have a half empty stadium.

    For a school that has not smelled a National Championship in the big 3 sports in decades our AD has illusions of grandeur. We are middle of the damn conference in all the sports that count. At some point the AD has got to be held accountable but I guess as long as he sucks the right donor’s he can last forever. The President was just another one of the UGA good ole boy network.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Athens Dog

    The best Bulldog ever, Dan Magill, built the Bulldog Club by visiting every small town he could. I’m going out to his grave tomorrow to see if the ground is disturbed. Jeez.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. AgDawg

    Because I’m the Senator. I give money to make sure I have a proper place to piss at games and to be able to listen to worthless Q and A at Bulldog club events.

    Like

    • Man, how miserable do you have to be to mock other Georgia fans for feeling alienated by their own athletic department? Kinda sad, really.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was surprised you didn’t drop the ban hammer on this guy. I know you’re very restrained on that front (I’m sure I’ve written things I could have been banned for), and we appreciate that.

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        • Eh, he’s had a burr up his butt for a while about me having the temerity to criticize the athletic department for its lack of concern for the paying fan base.

          Sometimes it’s better to let people like that show their ass than to run them off.

          He claims to be a Hartman Fund contributor, so at least I give him credit for spending his money without any personal expectations.

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          • “[A]t least I give him credit for spending his money without any personal expectations.”

            That’s the part of this that I don’t understand from people. I spend a lot of hard-earned money on my Bulldog football obsession and would like to be appreciated for that …

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            • I think what he would say is that as long as they’re doing everything in their power to improve recruiting prospects, that’s enough appreciation for him.

              And that’s fine. It’s his money. It’s mocking other fans for having different standards that’s a little sad to me.

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              • The original comment he made sounded a lot like a petty personal attack … I don’t have a lot of patience for people who engage in a way they would never to a person’s face.

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              • MurphDawg

                I will say that I’ve been contacted three times now to verify I didn’t “forget” to renew my tickets. Either that’s someone trying to look out for a Hartman fund donor or maybe there were quite a few folks that decided to drop tickets and they are trying to save renewals.

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            • Bazooka Joe

              Its like one of my old bosses said at a division meeting years ago when morale was low… “your paychecks are your acknowledgement of fine work”. Nice touch….

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    • 81Dog

      Go find an elderly couple of season ticket holders to stand up in front of while they listen to you scream profanities all game. Sheesh. Some people are only happy when they’re miserable, and some people are only happy when they’re miserable and making everyone else more miserable. You ought to be having a great day.

      Like

    • Got Cowdog/ Mcgaity's Mom

      Is that you Greg? Why don’t you ever call me?

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Tommy

    Living in Texas, I make the road games – one a year. I’m going to Notre Dame this year, mostly so I can scratch Touchdown Jesus off the bucket list. I took my son with me last year to see men’s hoops lose mostly valiantly to Baylor in Waco. We go to the Army All-American game in San Antonio to meet the new pups, and to send them back to Athens feeling the love from Texas. But the last two football games I went to — Ole Miss in ’16 and Bama in ’15 — were brutal enough to warrant sitting out ’17 had ND not been on the docket.

    I’ve slowly made my peace with the fact that this is not a program that knows or cares about championships. It doesn’t think about them as a standard, and so it doesn’t have a plan for how to uphold such a standard, because it doesn’t exist. UGA Athletics has become a privately held bank that runs a lot of sporting events to raise deposits, never pays a dividend, and expects you to be fine with that.

    And you could fire McGarity tomorrow and nothing would change, because you can probably count on one hand the number of coaches, directors and administrators involved in Georgia athletics over the past 15 years who have any what an unacceptable and failing model this is.

    This was a program that placed #2 in the Director’s Cup for the ’98-’99 academic year. Since then, the state has been one of the fastest growing in the country and added 2 million people. It’s a top 5 recruiting destination in multiple sports. And yet the state’s flagship school is trending to fall out of the Director’s Cup top 20, while programs on each of Georgia’s borders pile up trophies.

    Sure, for a lot of reasons, I expect football to win a division title or two in the next five years. Kirby’s another coachspeaking clone in the Butts-Mehre mold, yet an ostensibly dimmer one of those, Ray Goff, fielded good teams when the injury gods were kind enough to look the other way. And Kirby doesn’t have Spurrier to torment him. We may be a blind squirrel, but we’re sitting in a reservoir of nuts. Still, UGA football is one of several southeastern teams trying to out-Bama Bama, a classic good-as-the-enemy-of-great strategy. Hence the ceiling on my expectations. And every other Georgia team involved in a sport not played at a country club is just endlessly toodling around in mediocrity.

    I guess this is a long-winded way of owning up to my diminished fandom. The wins haven’t been significant enough to do more than brighten the odd Saturday afternoon, and the losses barely register as bummers. And so with all that and a $70m reserve fund as backdrop, the idea of contributing more to UGA athletics beyond buying my kids hats or jerseys just seems insane to me. Even if money were no object, I think I’d spend it on curing cancer or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Godawg

    They’re losing sight of the fact that the fan-based events are where you find and begin to cultivate your future major gift contributors. They’re neglecting the pipeline that feeds the moves management fundraising process. In fact, they’re now pissing in the prospect pool.

    Like

  22. sUGArdaddy

    Here’s my only complaint, Senator. It’s that Kirby and the Ath. Dept. can’t seem to do anything right by you. I get feeling alienated. But, I’m for something different. Your current systems are perfectly designed to produce your current results. Who is to say that ‘the way we’ve done things’ are part of the overall reason we haven’t sniffed a National Championship in a generation? Who’s to say we don’t need a shake up in the way we do…everything?

    I’m no fan of McGarity. I believe he’s the worst PR AD, like, ever. But, he seems to be listening to Kirby, and Kirby is the only guy we’ve got on staff that has a drawer full of rings and seen it done differently in an Athletic Department with comparable resources. My greatest criticism of Richt’s late career wasn’t that he wasn’t competitive enough (that was always a ridiculous claim). It was that he was too nice in the hallways. He succumbed to McGarity too much. It’s clear Kirby has a vision. It. Is. Different. This vision includes raising a boatload of money to improve the weight room and training table.

    Our hope is that different systems will produce different results. But, we can’t have both. You just can’t. It’s not the way it works. Everyone wants change until change starts happening. It was never as simple as changing head coaches.

    That’s my complaint. It FEELS like we don’t want to give Kirby a chance at turning around the titanic with a new vision for how EVERYTHING is done. If he does it his way, we can complain if the results don’t match. If he does it the usual way, we (the entire Bulldog Nation and the Ath. Dept) are to blame if we get the same results.

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    • Who’s to say we don’t need a shake up in the way we do…everything?

      Expecting the same people to change how they’ve done business for decades is little more than wishful thinking.

      With regard to how Butts-Mehre operates, you’re giving Smart way too much credit for being a change agent.

      As for your last paragraph, if you think my sentiments sum up to The Georgia Way Forever, you need to go back and re-read everything I’ve ever posted here.

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      • sUGArdaddy

        You should add “The Georgia Way Forever” to the lexicon, just for fun…sponsored by Mark Richt and Greg McGarity.

        I think Kirby has more influence than you give him credit for. Just my opinion.

        Like I said, it ‘seems’ that you’ve met a lot of the changes with snark. And what we don’t know is which changes will be the ones that make all the difference. I do think, however, that people can be led and can change. I believe in leadership, and I worked at Butts-Mehre for nearly 5 years and believe that a leader can change everything there. I do believe it will weed out people as well.

        What I don’t know that can change is the big money brokers that run too much of the show. In my opinion, if Kirby wants loud hip hop music during commercial breaks, I don’t care who says what — play it.

        Appreciate the blog, it’s just my opinion that the header says it all: it really is personal. That’s not a bad thing. It’s personal to all of us or we wouldn’t care so much about it. I get that it’s the off season, I just get more excited reading about our players, offense, defense, season scenarios and poking fun at our rivals.

        Like

        • … I believe in leadership, and I worked at Butts-Mehre for nearly 5 years and believe that a leader can change everything there. I do believe it will weed out people as well.

          What I don’t know that can change is the big money brokers that run too much of the show. In my opinion, if Kirby wants loud hip hop music during commercial breaks, I don’t care who says what — play it.

          Oy. If playing hip hop music were all it took for a complete housecleaning at Butts-Mehre, I’d pay for the DJ myself.

          Liked by 1 person

          • sUGArdaddy

            It’s a symptom of a larger problem. Too many old-time donors making too many small decisions that aren’t their’s to make.

            But I’m sure Greg will take your donation and hold it in good faith until decisions on DJs and Music have been approved by the Athletic Board. Of course, should your money be returned all interest earnings will be relinquished to the reserve fund.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Well said…

      Like

  23. Huntindawg

    Yes I feel all the negativity. And I will feel it right up to the point when Eason throws a TD to Godwin in the last minute to beat UT/Florida/Auburn when I will be screaming at the top of my lungs without a thought in my mind about our AD’s shortcomings or Kirby’s failure to attend a TD club event.

    At the end of the day, I don’t really care that much if I get to shake Kirby’s hand and hear him blather a bunch of coach speak at a small venue event. I think I’d rather know he is busy working his butt off preparing for the season and/or recruiting.

    I DON’T think Kirby is content with being mediocre. I think he is building and playing to win championships. If he does that I won’t really care if I have to wait an extra 5 minutes to buy a hotdog.

    Like

    • At the end of the day, I don’t really care that much if I get to shake Kirby’s hand and hear him blather a bunch of coach speak at a small venue event. I think I’d rather know he is busy working his butt off preparing for the season and/or recruiting.

      Again, more power to you and your kind of thinking. I don’t begrudge that for a second.

      There isn’t anyone associated with UGA who doesn’t want championships, from Greg McGarity all the way down to the newest season ticket holder. The question is whether those who exercise the most control over that have the ability to manage an athletic department skillfully enough to accomplish that.

      I will ask the same question for the umpteenth time, because those who agree with you seem unable to respond to it: why does building a championship program preclude providing the fan base with a quality experience outside of the won-loss record? Are you saying Kirby and Greg can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?

      Like

  24. Huntindawg

    PS I think I am an average fan. I think generally that people that are negative and dissatisfied are a lot more vocal than those of us that just want to see wins and only minimally care about the other stuff.

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    • aladawg

      I’m an average fan who used to go to every game home and away. The costs of trips with soaring ticket prices became unreasonable, but my family and I still attend all home games, even the shitty ones, and we make at least one trip away every year and the Florida game. I am one of those who wrote the whole athletic board about the game day experience including all factors considering the price paid.
      The Senator asks the question

      “I will ask the same question for the umpteenth time, because those who agree with you seem unable to respond to it: why does building a championship program preclude providing the fan base with a quality experience outside of the won-loss record? Are you saying Kirby and Greg can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?”
      I am with him that none of you are answering the question and my opinion isn’t because they can’t do it, it is because they don’t really care about us and that goes for Morehead as well. Now, thanks to the Senator and several of the media, the noise level is at a decibel level that it cannot be ignored. It might still be “pooh-poohed” but it cannot be ignored. In fact I got a call from the athletic department telling me all about those cosmetic things they have done without really accomplishing a thing to improve our experience. Additionally, I watched the Barrow County 4-H club stumble thru baseball concessions this weekend at a partially filled venue. Oh, we have been involved with 4-H for years, but they are not concessionaires!
      And top it off with a baseball team that scored 6 runs all weekend, gave up 4 unearned runs that were critical and I will be vocal. Squeaky wheels get grease!

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  25. Huntindawg

    “I will ask the same question for the umpteenth time, because those who agree with you seem unable to respond to it: why does building a championship program preclude providing the fan base with a quality experience outside of the won-loss record? Are you saying Kirby and Greg can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?”

    No I’m not really saying that. I do think they should make stadium improvements that make it a better event. It looks like they are moving in that direction. Much more than that, though, I think they should schedule some actually good home games.

    My comment is really directed at the substance of your post that started this furor over Kirby not attending some small venue events. If that’s 10 days out of his summer, that’s 10 days he’s not focused on recruiting and football planning. And like I said, I just don’t think missing him at those events is such a big deal.

    On the other hand, I do understand the goodwill those events can generate. My sons have a football signed by Coach Richt with his favorite verse on it that they hold during every game we watch on tv.

    So I certainly get both sides of the equation.

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    • Sorry. I must have misunderstood your “If he does that I won’t really care if I have to wait an extra 5 minutes to buy a hotdog” comment.

      Like

    • My comment is really directed at the substance of your post that started this furor over Kirby not attending some small venue events. If that’s 10 days out of his summer, that’s 10 days he’s not focused on recruiting and football planning. And like I said, I just don’t think missing him at those events is such a big deal.

      Forgot to respond to this, but it’s worth noting that he’s not missing the events. He’s going out of state to raise money, instead of meeting the local fan base for good will. Focus on football planning has jack shit to do with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Debby Balcer

    Kirby seems to think it is OK to act like Saban without the record that earned the tolerance for that behavior.

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  27. Huntindawg

    Didn’t you just turn 50? You seem to be getting a bit more acerbic with old age.

    Sorry if I provoked some acrimony over this – I’m agreeing with you on a big picture basis. I just don’t get real mad about what I consider some of the small stuff.

    Like