Daily Archives: May 27, 2017

‘When I recruited this kid I told his mother that I’d take care of him.’

Man, this is a tough story to read.

A few years earlier, the coach, Don Horton, had learned that he had Parkinson’s disease, but these new, intensifying infirmities were more commonly linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated hits to the head and linked to football and other contact sports.

Was his deteriorating health, Horton wondered, a consequence of his many years as a football lineman? Even worse, he worried, was he responsible for exposing hundreds of players to the kind of head trauma now impairing his life? After all, as a prominent assistant coach at Boston College and North Carolina State for nearly 20 years, he had recruited and encouraged scores of athletes to play major college football.

In the still of night at home, Horton asked himself what he should say if a parent of a former recruit called to say that a son was suffering from C.T.E.-like symptoms.

“And I would tell him that he could say: ‘I know how it feels,’” his wife, Maura Horton, responded. “And Don didn’t necessarily like that answer. But that’s the truth.”

His brain was donated after death for research purposes, because he came to believe it was necessary.

By donating his brain, Horton believed he could aid the science and, ultimately, perhaps help people evaluate whether to play, or continue playing, the game.

“He wanted to make a difference if he could,” said Maura Horton, 47. “Don would never tell someone not to play the game, because he loved football and wouldn’t betray it. But he wanted them to see a full picture to make a full decision.”

She added: “Don said, ‘If they would be more reflective and be more upfront about things that were happening to them, they might get out of the game earlier if they needed to. Kids try to hide so much about what’s really happening.’”

If those running the sport don’t grasp the wisdom of that and adapt accordingly, it’s hard to avoid thinking that one day their control will be taken away in the name of caution.

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16 Comments

Filed under The Body Is A Temple

“No I think it’s just football. That’s what’s driving a lot of these donor events, donor gifts.”

Georgia donors, you pays your money and you makes your choice, sort of:

The UGA athletic board was meeting on Thursday, and the subject at the moment was fundraising. Jon Stinchcomb, the former Georgia and NFL player, spoke up.

“With Magill Society donations, they can earmark what it goes towards? So it can go to soccer, or to golf, or the west end zone?” Stinchcomb asked UGA executive associate AD Matt Borman, who was giving a presentation to the board.

“Yes sir,” Borman answered. “The majority of those donors give it unrestricted. But there’s no question that if they wanted it to go to a certain area, and we have a current project going on, we can accept those requests.”

It’s just that for some of you, unrestricted may not mean what you think it means.

As construction begins on the most expensive facility project in recent UGA athletics history, the school already has millions of fundraised money available to pay for it. But that comes with an asterisk: Many of the donors didn’t know they were giving money for that project.

Back in 2015, when UGA unveiled plans for the indoor facility ($30.2 million), the administration said it would split the cost with donors: Half through fundraising, half out of the school’s own reserve funds.

But fans were so eager for the much-awaited facility that they poured in funds. In fact, when the facility was dedicated this past February, athletics director Greg McGarity announced that a total of 475 people had donated $36 million.

So what happened with the extra $6 million? It was simply applied, at least most of it, to the next project: The Sanford Stadium west end zone project, which carries a $63 million price tag, of which $53 million is expected to come from donations.

And by now the Magill Society — which was set up when fundraising for the indoor facility began — can boast just over $50 million in donations.

So the entire indoor facility has been paid for by donations, rather than just half. And McGarity said this week that “small slices” of the money was also directed to facility improvements for soccer and golf.

McGarity was asked if there was any consideration given to, when they hit $15 million, saying thank you, the administration will foot the rest.

“No, I think the key thing is you want to generate as much you can off new brick and mortar,” McGarity said. “For us to cap it at $15 million and say we’re done, doesn’t allow you the opportunity to grow. I think the passion that people know [they have], and once you add certain projects under the Magill Society, they continue to grow.”

I’m not sure I find anything inherently wrong with that.  If you want to give with strings attached, don’t forget to bring the strings.  On the other hand, knowing that most of our fan base cares little about Georgia athletics outside of football, I wonder how pleased some of those Magill donors would be to find that their contributions were being directed to grow the women’s soccer program.  If you’re one of those folks, cheer up, though:  at least you got those sweet Hartman Fund points.

With that in mind, were I a head coach of one of Georgia’s other athletic programs, I’d sure hope Kirby starts winning big soon.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Junior’s throwing a party.

And it looks like everyone’s invited.

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin will host coaches from Tennessee, his former employer, as well as Michigan‘s Jim Harbaugh and others at the school’s camp for high school players next month.

Coaches from five Power 5 programs — Tennessee, Michigan, Arkansas, Illinois and Vanderbilt — will work at Florida Atlantic’s camp June 5 in Boca Raton, Florida. Harbaugh and Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema will be there with their staffs, and other head coaches like Illinois’ Lovie Smith could join…

Several other coaching staffs could join the camp, including Alabama, where Kiffin served as offensive coordinator for the past three seasons before departing before the national championship game in January. Other potential additions include LSU, Georgia, Michigan State and Iowa.

Gettin’ mighty crowded…

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Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Recruiting

Eh, but who’s counting?

I’m not sure if it qualifies as bulletin board material, but the South Carolina Department of Transportation is installing two more highway signs celebrating the Gamecocks’ national championship in women’s basketball than it did for Clemson’s football natty.

Then again, maybe that’s their way of saying South Carolina’s a basketball state now.

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake