Rubber-stamping the road to glory

Seth Emerson once again does the Lord’s work with this piece on what the members of the UGA Athletic Board do (or, perhaps more accurately, don’t do).  If you don’t want to read the entire article, I can save you the time by just referring you to the heart of the story:

There may be a mystery about what the board really does, or doesn’t do, what its role is, and the people who are on it. A major function of the board is to provide perfunctory approval to decisions already made by the athletic director.

Dissent is rare, if nonexistent.

Georgia Way gone Georgia Way, y’all.  One reason for that is nobody knows much about what they’re supposedly expected to oversee.

Does the board asks questions that need to be asked? Would it be better in the long run for the board if there were more back-and-forth?

Keadle, whose background is in the banking industry, isn’t so sure. He pointed out that board members may not have relevant experience.

“None of us sitting on that athletic board understand all the aspects of a Division I major college sports program, what goes into it, how is it financed, the public-private aspects of it,” he said.

And thus they almost always defer to the president and athletics director.

Yeah, we’re in good hands.

And why would a Board member dissent, anyway?  There’s too much sweet stuff to risk rocking the boat for.

When members join the board, they are provided with two complimentary season tickets for football, and one parking pass, and two complimentary season tickets for other sports upon request. Board members attend three meetings per year, in September, February and May.

Once you serve nine years, you reach emeritus status. But the board can also under “special circumstances” name an emeritus member who has only served four years. Emeritus members are no longer among the voting members but bylaws state they “shall have such privilege and rights as designated” by the board.

Free Perk U!  Who’s gonna want to screw that up?

Since the president appoints the board, people tend to not speak up, from Scates’ experience. And emeritus board member status also brings prestige, and greater access.

“So everyone on the board is trying not to rock the boat so you can get that emeritus status, which is much more valuable than any Hartman funds donations (which go towards football season tickets) you could ever donate,” Scates said.

In fact, Scates believes the lure of a potential spot on the athletic board becomes is an incentive.

“Being able to get on the athletic board is a powerful carrot,” Scates said. “One reason you have trouble getting people to talk on the record is because in the back of their mind they want to get on that board one day.”

I wonder what percentage of those folks got their hands on Notre Dame tickets.

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53 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

53 responses to “Rubber-stamping the road to glory

  1. Aladawg

    All of them. They get to be in Jere’s 1000 ticket entourage.

    Like

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Ya think there’s a little nepotism and old boy networking involved in Athletic Board appointments?
    Other thoughts: Lots of advisory boards like that one have no real power; but the perks ain’t as good. I want responsibility on one person too. He makes the big bucks.

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    • 86BONE

      Hog, like my grandfather, a judge, once said…”there is nothing wrong with good old boy politics…..as long as you’re a good old boy”

      Like

  3. Does any of this surprise anyone? When I read the board member heard about the Richt firing via email minutes before the press release went out, I thought immediately that these people have no say in how the athletics program is run and key decisions to be made.

    As you’ve said many times, Senator, that’s a hell of a way to run a railroad.

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  4. These characteristics are not unique to our athletic board. The people that get entrusted with things in this country, in non-democratic processes anyway, are of the “go along to get along” variety. Can you shut up and not make waves and do so while looking, acting and dressing like everyone else? They have training grounds for these people all along Milledge Avenue.

    Personally I’ve always taken the Groucho Marx position: I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.

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  5. 79DawgatWork

    Here’s the thing – the Association is required by law to have a Board of Directors/Trustees/whatever you want to call them. However, the articles or bylaws provide that the University (i.e., the President) appoints all the members of the Board. As such, they are, de jure and de facto, rubber stamps for the University; they are lipstick on the pig, with no real duties, obligations or liabilities, who can (almost assuredly) be removed at any time and for any reason. They are not “independent”, and have no “constituency.” They are puppets, and to think anything otherwise, is to be divorced from reality. Many government-controlled/sponsored non-profits are very similar – since there is no independent outside accountability, liability or constituency, so the board members basically just become rubber stamps for management.

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    • In that sense, it’s similar to McGarity hiring a search firm to confirm a hiring decision he’d already made. Pure CYA, in other words.

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      • Just Chuck (The Other One)

        I once sat on a committee appointed by the Dean of our institution. He would regularly bring things up for a vote and all we had to go on was the information he provided. Of course everything passed. If anything went wrong or someone criticized the decision, his response always was “You voted for it.” I am no longer on that committee.

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        • I’ve also had the experience where the membership of an organization supposedly has an election for officers. The ones who really run things get together and decide who the candidates will be in advance so that the membership can only consider their pre-approved candidates. Its BS and they know its BS and they like it that way because they are in charge of it.

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          • Mayor

            Senator (and others in the legal profession who post here), you may be surprised to learn that the vaunted State Bar of Georgia operates much the same way. They rarely have contested elections for officers. The contenders are already officers “in the chain” and all have secret agreements with each other to line up so they all advance to President one office at a time. About as democratic as the old Soviet Politburo.

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  6. 79DawgatWork

    Yes – your belief that there are “decisions to be made” is the initial fallacy and error in your reasoning. In fact, there are no real or substantive decisions to be made by the Board. The Board members have no real fiduciary duties, since they are beholden to the University/President/management – i.e., the one’s whose acts they are being asked to approve.
    If the Board members were “independent” or had a real “constituency”, they would owe fiduciary duties – i.e., to act in the Association’s best interests – to those constituents, and could be sued if they violated those duties. However, there is a zero-point-zero percent chance that Adams/Jere/McG is going to sue the Board members for approving something that Adams/Jere/McG asked them to approve in the first place! That is the agency problem in this situation…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. DoubleDawg1318

    So does this mean we can stop with the whole “McGarity doesn’t have any real power. He’s just an empty suit.” argument? I for one am happy to lay it all at his and Jere’s feet in hopes we only need to replace one or two people rather than an entire network.

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    • Not exactly. There are folks higher up on the food chain, like the Board of Regents and big boosters, to whom McGarity and Morehead must answer. That’s not to say either is a puppet, just that neither has totally free rein to operate.

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      • Cojones

        Now you are getting into my GOBs’ territory. Fans forget the Dr Thomas Lawhornes, Francis and the other talking mules, plus, those liquored-up others that hold sway over our athletic dept decisions.

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  8. Spike

    Where do I fax my resume?

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  9. Macallanlover

    Sadly, this “Board” is very much like many in this country in doing absolutely nothing to impact the direction/integrity of the organization. I don’t know what power this particular Board has, perhaps none, but the Board of Directors at virtually all public companies do have power, and are simply negligent in not representing the shareholders by being engaged.

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    • Normaltown Mike

      that’s true but UGAAA isn’t a for-profit org and there are no shareholders.

      We (the fans) are enamored with a team in a sport with zero to no direct accountability to the fans. I don’t see any way to square that circle.

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      • Macallanlover

        Yes, I know that. Was just saying that the term “Board of XX” implies power and influence but that is rarely the case whether by charter, or neglect. There are ways to “square that” in non-profits but the enamored part makes it unlikely. A fool and his money……

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  10. Q

    Seth, doing the lords work. Love it.

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  11. I've Stopped Caring

    This was not a problem when Vince Dooley or Joel Eaves were in charge. Scarcely few others did before or have since.

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    • Normaltown Mike

      Who was AD when the Jan Kemp scandal occurred?

      What about when we hired Ray Goff to lead our football team?

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      • Dooley was not involved in the Goff hiring decision. Knapp led that process as VD looked at his political future.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chi-town Dawg

          Also, I believe VD wanted Erk for his replacement, but Knapp/Fred Davidson vetoed him an pushed the Ray Goff angle.

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          • Erk wasn’t vetoed so much as insulted by the interview process.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Macallanlover

              Any truth to the story that Erk had accepted but wanted it kept quiet until he could tell the team and admin at GSU first, then heard a report that he had been hired on the radio while driving home? Doesn’t sound likely but does sound like Erk.

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              • That’s the story about Dooley’s pick, the NC State coach. UGA leaked word prematurely and he backed out.

                Erk was ticked he was being asked to interview like any other candidate. Also there was some concern about his pension that UGA wouldn’t make any effort to clear up. In the end, he decided the job was more trouble than it was worth.

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        • VD has been highly prevalent in politics long before Vince Dooley was around…
          And I’m new here so forgive my comment below if this isn’t an accepted viewpoint here, but it got me thinking (watch out when that happens🤓):
          Is it just me or was Vince Dooley’s REAL accomplishment in his decision to park Cavan at a lake house to ensure Herschel signed w us? An 18 y/o carried us to our only national championship in recent-ish history…and then we blew our shot at two others when we had more talent on the roster…

          Sorry, always pissed me off that Dooley seemed to be against statues until he got one…and only now, FINALLY…the greatest college football player of all time will get one? Almost 40 yrs – and zero titles – later, and the only thing connecting our program to a championship pedigree is #34…that man should have had a statue LONG LONG ago.

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  12. gastr1

    I can’t figure why there’s no story about how we have not taken on any debt. Can’t anyone see what the real story is here? I’d like to compliment the board for doing a great job on that front.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      I doubt any of the non-faculty members have knowledge of where the money goes.

      Just be prompt, follow the lead of the University president, and keep your mouth shut.

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  13. Everything I read just made me want to take this pencil on my desk, and shove it in my head.

    Good that we are finally getting some truth on these things….things we always guessed.

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  14. doofusdawg

    As long as they are transparent and have good communication with the public and are good stewards of the budget then they are happy. It;s all about the process with this group.

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  15. Cousin Eddie

    To sum up the article, “It’s the spineless blindly approving the ignorant.”

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  16. The Dawg abides

    After reading that, kudos to Jon Stinchcomb for speaking out about an overall lack of vision by the AA, specifically having no master plan for facilities or athletics.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. PTC DAWG

    And this is different from most paid “Board Of Directors” in what way?

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  18. dawgfan

    Pay them $100 per meeting attended and stop the freebies. These people are doing less than school board members. I hope UGA is at least handing out 1099s for the value of the tickets and parking.

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  19. Jack Klompus

    Good article- well written. Considering the comments that Seth made at the end about other schools essentially doing the same thing, it seems that the whole point of the story is that the Board is irrelevant. Hope he continues to dig deeper.

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  20. ATL Dawg

    What a fucked up organization.

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  21. southernlawyer11

    I’m not sure how much you can change what the “Athletic” (not football) board can do until you rewrite their charge or mission statement. So while everyone knows that it’s WIN, WIN NOW, WIN BIG in FOOTBALL, they are probably left with few options but rubber stamping things lest they risk running afoul of their primary mission (to oversee that the basic operational functionality of every sports program is not compromised…think: reserve fund).
    In other words, the dynamics of the Board is likely built around having to reign in an overly-zealous AD who risks the finances at-large. There is probably little within the governing documents that clearly guides them in the near term for ADs who fiddle while Rome burns.

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  22. I’m new here but I have been watching UGA football since the year Vince coached against his brother in the Gator bowl back in the 70’s. Georgia football has not been the same since the Jan Kemp incident, the administration has handcuffed the program and it continues to this day. That is where that goofy slogan”the Georgia way” originated from.

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  23. Bob

    I used to mock Auburn for the Bobby Lowder crowd and all the shenanigans that that group pulled. And I would not want that at UGA, but damn it, at least they gave a damn about their University and its program. They might be as screwed up as a soup sandwich in how they went about their business, but goodness gracious our guys are class A wimps.

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  24. DawgPhan

    It’s amazing that gift some rich people a couple of free football tickets is all it takes for them to completely give up any integrity.

    Like