There’s “McGarity’s Minutes”, so it seems like it’s only fair to give this portion of Seth Emerson’s mailbag a catchy name:
THE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR UNDER FIRE
It seems there are some people who do not understand the difference between a “hit piece” and publishing a letter from an influential Bulldog letterman, booster, and alumni in order to underscore the dissatisfaction the majority of people in the vast DawgNation are feeling about the facts of Greg McGarity’s lack of forward-thinking vision and underwhelming leadership as AD; where almost every single sport is performing worse now than when he took over as AD, and how he is doing nothing to stem the tide of mediocrity within the Athletic Association (not firing Fox or Stricklin for starters) or creating a master plan to improve facilities, which are now so poor that UGA lost the ability to host the NCAA Tennis Championships, which Dan Magill worked so hard to make a semi-annual event in Athens. It’s as if Greg McGarity’s short-sighted penny-pinching is costing UGA in more ways then one, which is one of the many issues I believe Carroll Minick was trying to highlight in his letter-not-hit-piece.
Could you kindly explain the difference so those people would no longer be able to hide behind their ignorance?
– Matthew Cafaro
Actually, the response to the Minick letter, at least judging by social media and the comments on the story, seemed to be around 90 percent in support. (Though not everyone agreed with everything in the letter. I didn’t either.) And, as I’ve told UGA officials who have complained to me about the thrust of my stories this year, there hasn’t been much, if any, blowback from the fan base. We feel, as Chip put it the other day, that we’re reflecting the dissatisfaction of the fan base. But we’re also informing them, such as the $33 million that was in the UGA foundation but the school didn’t advertise.
The people I speak to on a regular basis, donors and alumni alike, want Georgia to be great. They feel that enough isn’t being done now to be great. They want the best for a school they love, and they wanted light shed on these issues. I have no doubt that Greg McGarity loves Georgia dearly. So do his critics. They evidently just disagree on the best way to get to the mountaintop.
McGarity’s statement in May to the athletic board – “let us not be distracted by those who seek to divide us” – struck many as not seeing the point of the criticism, and the stories that give voice to these critics: They’re not seeking to divide, they’re seeking to make Georgia better.
The job of the media, meanwhile, is to inform the public and hold the powerful’s feet to the fire. I hope that’s what we’ve been doing.
“Emerson’s Eternity”? “Seth’s Seconds”? I dunno. Can’t say I see anything unreasonable in what he wrote, but, then, again, I don’t have an office in Butts-Mehre. Fortunately.
What I do find interesting is how McGarity has allowed his athletic department to become such a big issue this offseason. It’s not a typical situation; the closest analogy I can come up with was the unrest that Dave Brandon stirred up at Michigan, and I’m not really sure how good a match that is for what’s going on in Athens. Brandon was an outsider who turned out to be a fish out of water in managing a university’s athletic department. McGarity, on the other hand, is basically an athletic department lifer. (Plus, Brandon got shown the door. We all know where McGarity is.)
In any event, having an athletic director with a management style that tends to suck goodly amounts of oxygen out of the room is probably not the best look for a school’s athletic department. No matter what the press thinks.