Chip Towers issues a call to arms.
I’m sure you’ve seen and read a lot from us regarding the Georgia football facilities situation lately. The truth is, I don’t think any of us likes writing that much about it. But the reality is it’s a very big part of what’s happening right now, not just with the Bulldogs but throughout the SEC.
There has always been a bit of an ongoing facilities arms race going in the conference — and in college football in general — but it’s as though they’re waging World War III on that front these days. And while it could be argued it wasn’t engaged for a long time, UGA is fully engrossed at the moment…
Not coincidentally, Smart made sure to thank the TD Club members for all their financial contributions and encouraged them to continue to donate. Because, he said, Georgia needs to “keep the momentum going.”
And, you know, I used to scoff at such talk. But I don’t anymore. I’m starting to see the reality of the facility arms race that’s going on in college athletics. I don’t like it, but I know it to be the real deal these days…
Now for brevity’s sake, I’m not going to get into the argument about UGA currently having $77 million — at least — in unallocated funds sitting in its athletic reserves. I’ll just say based on the landscape I’m seeing, the Bulldogs need to break it out and start spending that cash like it’s going out of style! Georgia is, after all, a non-profit, or at least that’s what it says on the tax forms I’ve seen.
He goes on to say that’s not literally practical, but that McGarity can easily afford to reorient his thinking.
But I still don’t think Georgia is thinking big enough, especially with the financial climate such as it is. Athletic director Greg McGarity keeps talking about needing to hold fast to that hefty reserve fund in the case of a “rainy day.” But if 2007-10 weren’t rainy I don’t know what it is. And right now it is quite bright and sunny in the SEC.
Every time you turn around the SEC is backing up a dump truck of money and pouring it out on its “member institutions.” That’s to the tune of about $40 million a team this year, and $32 million last year. With that kind of income and the obvious unwavering support of its donors, Georgia could have easily built a basketball/gymnastics facility downtown or over on East Campus and plopped down a whole new baseball stadium somewhere…
… I see what South Carolina has done and Clemson has done and Florida is now doing. It’s not just the Alabamas of the world that are living large and spending lavishly anymore. Everybody is.
The Bulldogs better get on board — fully — or get left behind. It’s either that or you’re really going to be in for a rainy day. And based on the dearth of championships I’m seeing at the moment, it’s looking pretty cloudy in Athens.
I doubt you’d find a single UGA coach who would disagree with Towers’ sentiment. In real life, though, I suspect all this boils down to in practical terms is a new message for Butts-Mehre to send donors as to why they need to pony up extra funds to make things happen.