Money matters

Once upon a time, I wrote this.

If you manage an SEC football program, there’s a difference between being committed to winning and being financially committed to winning.  Everybody wants to win.  The hard part is figuring out how to allocate resources to make sure that happens.  And, no, that doesn’t mean spending money like a drunken sailor.  (We’re looking at you, Tennessee.)  It simply means that if you think your rightful place is among the Alabamas, Floridas and LSUs of the world, you’d better take a hard look at what they’re doing and make sure you’re giving your coaching staff the opportunity to keep up with them.

I mention that because it immediately came to mind after reading this article about the 25 top revenue producing football programs of the 2015-6 fiscal year.  Compare these two paragraphs, this one for Georgia…

As recently as 2009-10, Georgia made a larger profit on its football program than all but one school in the nation; UGa’s $52.5M take came during the salad days of the Mark Richt era, in the midst of a disappointing 8-5 season but after a 21-5 record the previous two years. Sanford Stadium, 10th-largest in the country at 92,746 seats, is still filled to capacity every home Saturday. But Richt had outworn his welcome by the 2015-16 fiscal year with some underwhelming performances by his Bulldogs in big games and some grumbling preceded his evacuation to Miami. It remains to be seen how Kirby Smart fills the void. But Georgia fans remain resolute in showing up.

… and this one for Alabama.

Here we break through to the 9-figure strata with the closest thing to a dynasty college football has. By the way, who remembers Mike Shula? It only seems like Nick Saban has been around Bama forever but he replaced Shula after a 6-7 season a mere 10 years ago. It’s also mostly forgotten that Saban’s first team in 2007 struggled, lost all four November games and only managed a winning record by edging Colorado in the Independence Bowl. Since then, no college program can touch Alabama’s four national titles and appearances in all three years of the College Football Playoff. And Alabama is reinvesting; not only was Saban just re-upped with an 8-year, $65.2M extension, his football program listed a whopping $56.3 in expenses in fiscal 2015-16, easily the national high.  [Emphasis added.]

Notice the difference in tone there?  Georgia is all about fans showing up and putting money in the coffers; Alabama is reinvesting.

That isn’t how you play catch up.

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31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules

31 responses to “Money matters

  1. We always have the reserve fund championship to point to. I’ve always been proud to be a Hartman Fund contributor and a season ticket holder, but under the “leadership” of this AD, it’s becoming harder and harder every year to justify the expenditure. Since he threw Todd Gurley under the bus, I’ve started to believe he has tried to undermine the success of our athletic program. Only now that he knows his future and legacy is tied to Kirby’s success has he taken some action to help rather than hinder our athletic program.

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  2. sniffer

    Alabama’s football expenditures follow the teams success over the last ten years. Its not the other way around. They can explain and justify those expenses. You’re not suggesting that UGA begin spending like that, are you? And, no, I don’t believe that Georgia would ever spend that kind of money on football.

    Also, UA has a much different approach to attracting undergrads. They market heavily in surrounding states for incoming freshmen. Georgia does not do that. UGA has more applicants than they can accept. Bama markets, UGA selects.

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    • You’re not suggesting that UGA begin spending like that, are you?

      Is that what my quote at the beginning of the post suggests to you? If so, you need to read it again.

      The point isn’t to be first with spending; it’s to be smart with your finances. You really think that’s what drives B-M?

      Not sure how your second paragraph is germane, by the way.

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      • Junkyardawg41

        Not sure it is totally accurate either. Championships have driven a lot of fund raising as well as a 55% growth in outof state applicants. Not sure you ever mentioned this article or not but an interesting header on one paragraph is UA athletic department is run like a business… https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.nytimes.com/2015/11/07/sports/ncaafootball/alabama-crimson-tide-football-marketing.amp.html

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      • sniffer

        It simply means that if you think your rightful place is among the Alabamas, Floridas and LSUs of the world, you’d better take a hard look at what they’re doing and make sure you’re giving your coaching staff the opportunity to keep up with them.

        I took that to mean “spend like them”. I re-read and see your point.

        My second point is this. Alabama was in the wilderness from 2000 to 2008. Interest from potential incoming student applicants has increased the past ten years and they believe its partly due to the exposure football has brought. Saban may go to Dallas and ATL for football exposure but the Trustees know it puts them in front of high schoolers looking for a college experience. That help?

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      • Otto

        Germane? “The %#$^% German got nothing to do with it!”

        Buford T Justice

        On a serious note UA has made football a priority for nearly a century to attract academic interest. Yes McGarity is far from great and UGA AD but at the same time he can’t be compared to the UA AD. UA culture would not allow an AD let facilities or the program slip behind.

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  3. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    The tone of the post suggests that Alabama is focused on the future, Georgia on maintaining the status quo. Think that was the operating philosophy of Sears-Roebuck in recent years.

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    • doofusdawg

      Exactly. I was thinking Xerox. I do wonder how all the schools allocate expenses. For example… are contributions to the reserve fund expensed. Also… what size reserve funds do some of these other schools have.

      The interesting thing to me other than Alabama being the outlier with expense/revenue percentages was the national branding of Michigan and Tennessee. I wonder how much the marketing budgets for the schools deviate. We have the most recognizable mascot in college but can’t seem to take advantage in terms of national branding. Plus the town of Athens is always named as one of the best college towns in America.

      Harbaugh spent a million dollars taking the team to Italy. Many chimed in what a waste of money that was and how it was nothing more than a recruiting loophole. I wonder how it might look five years from now if the spartans of Michigan become the adopted football team of the spartans of the Roman Empire… metaphorically speaking.

      A college athletic department that has as it’s goal to be a competent athletic department will probably never be anything more. I think many on this blog as well as the dawg nation would love for UGA to take the lead in something as an athletic department… other than compliance that is. The last time we did this was the introduction of the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in 1977. We dominated tennis for the next 35 years.

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  4. dawgman3000

    So is it McGarity alone who determines how much money to put back into the program or is it the AA as a whole calling the shots through McGarity?

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    • dawgman3000

      Also, do the big money boosters have a say in the allocation of funds? Sorry, I’m kinda new to all of the behind the scenes stuff?

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    • Chi-town Dawg

      My bet is that it’s a little of both. The AA (comprised of a majority of academics) sets the tone, but with considerable input from the AD. Like in a business during budget time, the CFO provides direction, but if a strong senior leader justifies the need for additional resources, the request is often granted if there’s confidence in the senior level leader. However, if you don’t ask for the additional money or your justification is sloppy, then you are inevitably turned down.

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      • Chi-town Dawg

        I also find it hard to believe that if McGarity told the board “we need to spend money on X this year”, that his request would be denied by the board.

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      • dawgman3000

        So even if McGarity was removed, then the Georgia Way of sitting on cash would still be alive and well?

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        • The Georgia Way existed long before McGarity and will no doubt survive his departure one day.

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          • dawgman3000

            Gotcha

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          • So you’re saying that it doesn’t matter who the AD is then? So why all the Fire McGarity talk from the fanbase. Do they just not understand?

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            • dawgman3000

              That’s what I was thinking.

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            • The Fire the AD talk is all about the fact he does nothing well except for reserve fund accounting. His hiring track record is atrocious. Everyone is well aware of his PR skills and general tone deafness.

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              • dawgman3000

                Would it be fair to say that McGarity is a symptom of a greater problem that is his superiors in B-M? I can’t help but to believe that he was probably hired because the higher ups knew he would be a fine “yes” man for them.

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                • That’s very possible given that Il Duce hired him. I thought he was a no-brainer type of hire – Georgia graduate, had worked for years with one of the best in the business, directly observed an athletic program that had won championships across the board, and experienced financial success. Just not sure how nothing he observed at UF has translated to UGA.

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                  • Otto

                    Some has translated to UGA and it is more cupcakes on the football schedule.

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                    • If Kirby wanted or Richt had wanted to play a big OOC game each year, the AD would find a way to make it happen. There’s plenty of blame to go around for scheduling. I’m not going to put that totally on the AD.

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        • rocktherick

          Yep, UGA needs proven pedigree at the top level in key administrative positions and head coach. Has none anywhere currently. Look at Alabama. They hired Saban, who had won a National Championship at LSU and went all in on the money. The East is a bunch of mediocre coaches who have no pedigree, The SEC West has 2 coaches with pedigree who both got their teams into the championship game. It’s really Auburn and Alabama in the SEC, none of the other teams have any coaching pedigree. The East has no Admin or Coaching pedigree so they will remain irrelevant and never win a BCS Championship until both change. Even Alabama has no AD with pedigree but they are lucky they have Saban. Auburn has the best AD/Head Coach pedigree combo in Jay Jacobs and Gus Malzahn so they get my bet as the team to watch in the next 3 years, as long as their spend to revenue ratio is strong.

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  5. rocktherick

    the Senator is right on here. UGA spends less, as a %, than the Championship level teams like Alabama yet we fans somehow hold out hope that we can win without financial commitment by the admin. There’s sporadic articles that come out to prove this, but this one still troubles me, where it notes how much we bring in, but not correspondingly reinvest back into going to the next level. Even the $30 mill indoor, almost all of it came in through donations, not university expense. Check it out:
    http://www.ajc.com/sports/college/georgia-athletics-revenues-expenses-rise/CrE9h59yJKvO6aRu32etOI/

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  6. Huntindawg

    Am I reading this right? Alabama has more in football expenses than Georgia does in profit (comparing 2010 to 2016 – the number given in the article excerpts)?

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  7. Something tells me that if CKS starts to get results, he won’t hesitate to shake that money tree and there’s not much those who hold the purse strings can do about it. I don’t think he’ll go along to get along like CMR did.

    The thing we liked about CMR is that he made it clear that he wasn’t going anywhere. There was never a give me more money or I’m going to ______ moment. Saban did that many times to the benefit of himself and others in the coaching community. Anticipate CKS doing to same if he’s able to win.

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