From Dan Magill to Greg McGarity: the evolution of fan relations

Honestly, it’s not like I take any pleasure out of harping on Georgia’s athletic director’s mission in life.  It’s just that it seems as if every time he opens his mouth, I can’t help but dive for my keyboard.

Hence, this post.

This is now a fundraising event, pure and simple. And it’s not something about which Georgia is wishy-washy or apologetic.

“I understand the argument (that regular fans are being left out), but we also understand to make things work at the university we have to generate philanthropic gifts,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said beforehand outside on of the Intercontinental’s ballrooms. “We’ve got a huge drive going on for the West End project (at Sanford Stadium) and Kirby will talk about that tonight. That’s definitely part of what we’re trying to accomplish. We need them to help and we need their friends to help.”

McGarity understands the argument, “regular fans”, but that doesn’t mean he has to give a shit about anything other than the money chase.  He’s not shy about that, either.

Indeed, this change has been steady in coming. The “Bulldog Club meetings” that were once the popular brainchild of the late Dan Magill had morphed in recent years into what they called “UGA Days,” which were more fund-raising based in nature and always prominently featured the school president. But those gatherings remained opened to media and anyone who cared to attend. And they were usually worth the visit. They always closed with a colorful Q&A between the football coach and the fans, and that’s where you’d usually hear the best stuff.

That was followed by a long receiving line in which the coaches signed autographs and posed for pictures, sometimes for more than an hour.

“We got a lot of goodwill out of that, but we needed to think about a better use of their time,” McGarity said Wednesday. “We’ve tried something new every year. We’re trying to utilize our resources in the most efficient manner.”

“A better use of their time”.  Too bad, Joe and Jane Bulldog.  You and your goodwill no longer show up on the athletic department’s radar.  Just don’t forget to pony up next year’s Hartman Fund contribution, will ‘ya? McGarity’s still counting on you for that much.  I only wish he’d keep his mouth shut while he cashes our checks.  It’s the least he can do.

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49 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

49 responses to “From Dan Magill to Greg McGarity: the evolution of fan relations

  1. Defacto_Dawg

    Exhibit #37 for why I terminated my relationship with the BM Money Grabbers following the 2014 season. The view is better, the refreshments better and cheaper, the travel shorter and my pocket is fuller. I miss the experience but not as much as I thought I would after 39 years, 37 as a contributor and season ticket holder. Alas, they never knew I was there.

    Like

    • paul

      That’s me as well. Thanks to Picture Day, G Day and various other opportunities for meet and greet, I actually felt invested in the program and contributed thousands of dollars to the Hartman Fund each year. No more. Apparently there aren’t yet enough folks like you and I Defacto. By the time there are I’m guessing it will be too late to change the momentum. At least not quickly. The folks at BM will be shocked, shocked I tell you. I’m certain no one could have predicted it.

      Like

  2. William Jackson

    It’s just bad optics. Kirby from Bainbridge and we can’t get him to Albany? Come on.

    Like

  3. saildawg

    Yes, it is making it exceedingly difficult to continue to renew my hartman fund contributuins. The only reason for keeping them is that I really enjoy the people around us, it is nothing but other people invested deeply in UGA football. There is a small sense of community. Otherwise I would come out ahead just buying tix on stubhub as needed. Especially with the next 2 years home schedule.

    Like

  4. Bright Idea

    I had a recent conversation with a wealthy guy who is being lured into McGarity’s lair by another wealthy friend. This guy doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Georgia football but has been sold on the political, social and business aspect of buying a SkySuite and rubbing shoulders with the elite. When I educated him about the competitive state of Georgia athletics and McGarity’s strategy he was shocked, both at my fervor and that UGA was not winning anything. Afterwards, I briefly felt guilty, sounding like a victim of class warfare. Personally I like rich people, never worked for a poor one.

    Like

    • I've Stopped Caring

      I hate to read that. That’s exactly the kind of thing sold to transplanted Atlanta carpetbaggers that ruined places like St. Simons and Hilton Head.

      “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” – Yogi Berra

      Liked by 1 person

      • reality check here

        I live on St Simons. It hasn’t been ruined at all. Hilton Head is crowded but St Simons is not like Hilton Head. The population here has been relatively stable for the 60 plus years I’ve been coming here. There are no high rises here and even at the height of the tourist season it is easy to go out to dinner and the restaurants are great.

        If you really want remote Atlantic beaches try Northern Portugal. Seriously. They are stunning and really, really cheap.

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  5. Fascism creeps along because it’s most convenient to it’s benefactors.

    At some point you have to just take it or storm the Bastille and stop chopping off heads. Only then will you get a little q&a.

    This is the way of the world and always has been. The people create enough wealth so that a few get fat and then they decide that fate, God, hard work, smarts, good looks, or whatever have earned them their rightful spot at the top and that those who aren’t “in” are lazy, useless, God made them lesser, underserving or whatever and then they abuse their position until the people take it back. Rinse and repeat.

    The reality from a marketing perspective is that certain people want to only hang out with the well heeled. Why not pay $1000 a plate so that you can associate with all the right people and none of the wrong people? It’s worth it to them.

    Just so you know: you don’t matter to them. Never did. They’ve just decided you’re not even worth lying to anymore and they’re pretty sure that as long as they win games you’ll buy the hats and shirts even if they make it clear that they don’t want you around.

    As George Carlin said: it’s a big club and you ain’t in it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dog in Fla

    “That was followed by a long receiving line in which the coaches signed autographs and posed for pictures, sometimes for more than an hour.”

    Greg thinks a long receiving line is a Standing of the Grumps

    Like

    • Russ

      Not sure how it was last night in Atlanta, but at the Houston gig, everyone hightailed it out a side door as soon as the last speaker finished. They did mingle a bit before it started, though. Kirby and Fox both took question, though no one asked Fox anything. McGarity didn’t take questions, obviously.

      There was certainly no receiving line.

      Like

      • Dog in Fla

        “but we needed to think about a better use of their time,” McGarity said….And it goes a little something like this

        Like

  7. LuvsDawgs

    I’m thinking that, as the younger fans age, they won’t be signing up to be season ticket holders. They really think differently than their parents do about media-related things. For example, look at the way they handle “cable TV”. We sign up for expensive and limited service from Comcast, and they get pretty much the same channels for dirt cheap by using Hulu, Chromcast, and/or internet by ways I still don’t feel comfortable using! Apply that logic to buying game tickets, and they quickly see that it IS cheaper to buy individual game tickets from a scalper or StubHub. Oh, and before UGA thinks they’re ahead of that curve, these kids already know that UGA also surreptitiously sells game tickets via StubHub and other online outlets!
    You know what? I’m glad they know and I’m glad they won’t allow themselves to be screwed by UGA.

    Like

    • dawgfan

      If you can get at least a 25-30 mbps internet speed it is very easy to get rid of cable or satellite. Sign up for Netflix and get a Roku stick or Amazon Fire stick and you will have more tv than you can watch that you stream. If you are within 50 miles of Atlanta you can probably get another 25 channels with a decent UHF antenna for free, including the locals. Use Direct TV Now or Sling for other live TV(espn and SEC) They are both easy to sign up for and to cancel. I cut the cord and saved over $100 per month. By the way, I’m a long way from being a youngster too!

      Like

  8. Castleberry

    Any idea what the cutoff was for the invitation? I thought I was special when I got. I traded notes with a friend who donated for the first time last year and he was in, too.

    Like

    • Russ

      In Houston, it was a public event posted on their FB page. Anyone with $35 got in as far as I could tell. I’ve not given money in a long time, and I’ve never given to the AA, only to my school. The event in Atlanta might have been different though, since they had a much larger pool to draw from.

      Like

    • I got an invite, but I’m not a well heeled contributor. I give enough to the AA to keep my tickets in the lower bowl toward the southwest end zone and to Terry for a commitment I made through my firm. No Magill Society or anything like that.

      Like

  9. Athens Dog

    I saw the lead pop up on Twitter and was afraid to click. Alas I had too. All the same from BM. I didn’t get invited. Ha.

    Like

  10. MurphDawg

    When I decided not to renew tickets this year I received multiple follow up emails and calls asking me if I had forgotten to send in my donation. I responded to two of the emails with some of my concerns, one of the biggest being that I was simply seen as a wallet and not an alumnus or valued fan. When McGarity says crap like this, it only reinforces what I already felt. I still love UGA and I’ll be watching every game I have access to this year but I can’t say I feel the slightest remorse in letting the tickets go.

    Like

    • That’s exactly what happened to me and the exact way I responded to the emails when I gave up my tickets this year. I got a bunch of crickets in response.

      I’ll always love UGA and be thankful for the opportunity it gave me in life (hence why I donate to the Tull School). I also have zero remorse about making the decision to give up tickets.

      Like

    • Down island way

      BM did not miss my donations one bit either. There will always be someone to donate when you stop…….just another number!

      Like

  11. I've Stopped Caring

    I should avoid reading posts like this one. Only reaffirms the reality that all things that made me love the Georgia Bulldogs are over and they ain’t coming back.

    Like

  12. 69Dawg

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, the AA has decided that the large Metro Atlanta area is the only area they GAS about now. There are no more UGAAA Bulldawg Clubs. The locals can still call themselves a Bulldawg Club but the AA is not supporting them. The Alumni Association has taken over all big metro nationwide Bulldawg Clubs. Barring somebody calling the UGA administration’s ass on this there will be no more small local clubs seeing the UGA football coach, he like Saban hasn’t got time for that shit.

    Like

  13. SCDawg

    I can recall going to see Richt speak at the touchdown club in Charleston in 2003. He spoke for 20 minutes or so and I think gave Marcus Howard an award (I know Marcus got an award, just can’t remember who gave it to him). I was able to walk up, shake Richt’s hand, and tell him thanks for finally winning the conference. Lots of others got photos and balls autographed. He stayed until interest died out and everyone who wanted to talk to him got a chance.

    It was only a couple bucks to go.

    Like

  14. 3rdandGrantham

    I’m on ADGM’s side on this issue, which probably puts me at odds with 99% of you here. Buying season tix does not entitle you to special privileges or to have your feet kissed by TPTB at UGA. There are 65K or whatever season ticket holders who continue to renew yearly, so you’re not exactly an elite group of select individuals here.

    The AD has something like 190 mil worth of outstanding debt to pay off, with several huge projects ahead, so I totally get their tact moving forward. We all want UGA to keep up with the arms race, yet we bitch and complain when cost rises or – gosh forbid – the AD initiates fundraising campaigns to entice wealthier donors to help UGA meet its financial and project goals. Give me a break.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Buying season tix does not entitle you to special privileges or to have your feet kissed by TPTB at UGA.

      Is that how you would describe the previous status quo?

      Like

      • 3rdandGrantham

        No — I just can’t understand why many of you are so upset over these various private functions which serve to raise money for UGA. I typically agree with you 90%+ of the time but IMO you and others are way, way off here.

        Besides, as you are well aware CMR spent for too much time doing fundraising for Adams instead of focusing of the program itself, which is partially why he regressed in his later years as coach. Anyone who has any inside connections to the program will be the first to tell you that CMR delegated far, far too much in his last 7-8 years at the helm. With that said, I’m glad CKS isn’t doing many of these tours but instead is focusing on the #1 job at hand.

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    • Bright Idea

      You sir make valid points but it seems they aren’t just making less time for “regular fans” they’re making none.

      Like

    • LuvsDawgs

      No, I get what you’re saying, and the financial aspect of it does need to be addressed. As a business that needs to keep up with their competition, fundraising is a constant. But, there is no way that they can say that both fundraising with the big donors AND events to appease the smaller donors/fans can’t be done.
      A few years ago, they had a program that targeted the female fans, called Football 101 for Women, and my wife went to it about 6 years straight. Without much warning, they just dropped it.
      Kirby’s first summer back, they suddenly dropped a great program called Countdown to Kickoff that the Stinchcomb brothers started. GREAT event that let fans meet with past and current players.
      At both these events, there was no head coach or head coordinators. Why can’t they still do these one day events…that only last a few hours?
      Here in Augusta, besides the Bulldog Club meeting with the head coach, they had a separate & smaller barbecue with one of the assistant coaches…which was always great and much appreciated.
      No…they can certainly do more than they are now. But, who knows? Maybe by the fans bitching like this, the AA will realize it and find a way to do both.

      Like

    • Gaskilldawg

      There is a wide continuum between not wanting to be treated as a body in a studio audience and getting your feet kissed. You know that. I don’t expect to be treated the same as a million dollar donor but as my Hartman Fund score increases yearly I feel ignored more and more. Shit, I would be fine if the AA treated folks such as me as it did 10 years ago.

      Like

  15. Dawg19

    Is Greg McGarity the ‘Butch Jones’ of Athletic Directors?

    Imagine those two at the same school.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Macallanlover

    Continue to be shocked at the level of tone deafness coming from BM. In my eyes, there is a forest fire raging all around McDoofus and he is the only one that doesn’t seem to know it. Well, Morehead and others who are responsible for his still being employed are blind as well.

    Don’t know about you guys but the folks I interact with are as down on what is going on as the comments above. People are bailing, and they won’t come back. Anyone who thinks the freebe generation coming next will ever be able to step up are misreading the tea leaves as well. I know the TV revenues could blind them initially but this will be a major shift going forward and it isn’t that hard to project the future, imo. Very surprised this is continuing to grow, the split is pretty deep, it didn’t just start with Minnock’s letter.

    Like

    • You always seem to be down on the upcoming generation of people. In this case you called them “the freebe generation” as if they will not pay their own way. I gather that you are a baby boomer, and I find it hilarious that anyone from that age group, who are guilty of inheriting the greatest country in the history of the world and driving it straight into a goddamn ditch, would have the nerve to criticize others in that aspect. Get over yourself “Mac.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Macallanlover

        Just for the record, I am a baby boomer, and feel my generation certainly made some significant mistakes that began this path to the bottom. My generation, as much as I would love to separate myself from many of those actions, did indeed act arrogantly when we didn’t know what we didn’t know (should sound familiar to you, and yours.) I am lumped into it and, at least, partially responsible by not being influential enough. But at least, it isn’t the overwhelming majority who never grew up. Truly hope you can say the same at some point, just don’t see that happening, my opinion.

        Now, if you are actually a part of the sorriest generation ever brought into our society, you will have to suffer with that identification on your own. You may not be in favor of what they are driving this to, but somehow I suspect you are. And I fear your group is hopeless, and clueless as they follow the Pied Piper. I don’t pretend to know you, so this isn’t about you individually, it is about the generation as a whole and their naivete.

        Please don’t think I care enough about your opinion to consider your comments as a credible attack on me; you don’t know me, my positions, or or how much I understand. I am pretty sure I have experienced a lot more than you, and have a better perspective on what did happen, and what is happening now. But you aren’t worth the time to debate with, just don’t respond to what you don’t get…and stay out of my way a-h.

        Like

      • 3rdandGrantham

        Hear hear…the absolute worst generation ever are baby boomers. Zero debt to 70 trillion in unfunded liabilities that our very own CBO has said is impossible to pay down, let alone off, which will severely hurt younger generations to come. Yet, in typical fashion, they are obliviously entitled with no freakin clue.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Gaskilldawg

          As a baby boomer (born in 1954) I agree wholeheartedly. Mac is FOS. My generation is far more self absorbed than the millennials. We are so self absorbed that we view those younger folks who have to deal with our errors as the problem.

          Like

        • I’m at the top end of millenials / bottom end of Gen X range (I think there was a recent new name for my group, but it slips my mind) and I never cease to be amused when a Boomer refers to my generation as the ones that are moochers or entitled. Medicare and Social Security are like 61% of the federal budget, but you don’t hear Boomers offering to cut those entitlements since they “earned” those.

          Nevermind the fact that both the federal and state governments basically funded higher education for you when you were at that age and then you decided that it was simply a line item that could be struck once your generation took over so now folks of my age are crippled by student loan debt just to get the same education that the Boomers got for next to nothing and have been telling us all our lives that the only way we could be successful was to get said education. All my generation (and Gen X) have ever wanted was the same opportunity you had, but sure – I guess we get to deal with your irresponsibility on that front.

          On top of that – they decided to leave us with one more big ole turd sandwich before dying off by electing idiots that are ensuring that future generations will have it even more worse off in both the US and Britain to make sure they can live the last years of their lives without the fear that brown people might catch up to them economically and that the jobs that should be phased out because of technology are kept artificially propped up because they refuse to learn new technology. Spoiler alert – coal mining jobs aren’t dying because of bad trade deals or excessive regulations or whatever other bullshit Fox News feeds you. They’re dying because those jobs are increasingly automated and don’t need actual people down in the mines and it’s also just plain cheaper to frack for natural gas.

          Boomers that don’t (refuse to?) get that they’re the ones responsible for the mess we’re currently dealing with need to cut off Fox News and get the fuck over themselves.

          /off soapbox

          Like

          • Gaskilldawg

            AuditDawg siad,

            “Nevermind the fact that both the federal and state governments basically funded higher education for you when you were at that age and then you decided that it was simply a line item that could be struck once your generation took over so now folks of my age are crippled by student loan debt just to get the same education that the Boomers got for next to nothing and have been telling us all our lives that the only way we could be successful was to get said education. ”

            “Boomers that don’t (refuse to?) get that they’re the ones responsible for the mess we’re currently dealing with need to cut off Fox News and get the fuck over themselves.”

            100% on the mark.

            Like

  17. TMC DAWG

    I wish mcgoofy would resign like Hugh Freeze did.

    Like

  18. Imagine how insufferable McGarity will get if we actually start achieving things on the field.

    Dude is a dead man walkin, imo.

    Like

  19. Jt (the other one)

    Regular fans=peasants….

    Like

  20. Ben

    This bit here is why my last purchase of red and black gear was a pair of State Traditions hats instead of licensed apparel. I’m not giving them money until he’s gone or one of his hires wins a title.

    Like