Daily Archives: August 14, 2017

For once, you done good.

As much grief as I give Greg McGarity, it’s only fair to dish out praise when he’s deserving.  Here’s a case for that:

Fans seem to be happy that they are getting a break from noon kickoffs. The Appalachian State game is on Sept. 2 at 6:15 p.m. and the Samford game on Sept. 16 is at 7:30 p.m.

“The number of noon games we have had previously and the reaction we’ve had from our fans and others was that was not a desirable time,” McGarity said. “Frankly, among all conference teams, especially in the central time zone, that’s not a great time, but we all know that’s part of the TV package. We did ask for any consideration. It’s never guaranteed, but we did ask for some consideration for non-noon kickoffs whenever possible.”

He listened and he asked.  You can’t ask for more than that.  From such small gestures of courtesy, fan appreciation is born.

Feel free to make it a habit, sir.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“Money isn’t the asset most think it is in Athens.”

I guess this Dean Legge post about dwindling profits at the University of Georgia is supposed to arouse my anxiety about the athletic department’s management skills.  Speaking as someone who has no problem expressing that anxiety when it’s justified, I have no problem saying there’s no outrage here.

The main reason for that is if you’re someone who has any familiarity with Georgia’s recent financial history, there’s really no news in what Legge writes.  Georgia’s outsized “profitability” of a few years ago was largely fueled by lower than conference norm expenses.  Now that Kirby Smart is forcing Butts-Mehre to play catch up with things like facilities and recruiting budgets, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the profit margin is being squeezed.

The real question here is why anyone outside of Greg McGarity should give a shit about Georgia’s athletic profits in the first place.  What we as fans should care about is simply whether those funds are being spent sensibly to achieve excellence.  When the reserve fund wins a single football game, let me know, and I’ll look upon it differently.

Ah, you say, but Legge points out that Georgia lags in raising money behind its SEC peer institutions.

Twelve years ago not only was UGA the leader in the SEC with donations of $28,305,817. It was taking in about $10.8 million more in contributions than Texas A&M, about $1.5 million more in contributions than the Gators, about $5.5 million more than Auburn, about $13.5 million more than Tennessee and about $17.2 more than LSU.

In the last 12 years, those institutions have zipped past UGA in raising money for athletics according to USA Today’s reporting on all 230 NCAA public athletic departments in Division I…

… Every SEC member institution has increased its donations by anything from a heathy to an incredible amount… but UGA seems to have settled with a modest 18 percent difference when comparing 2005 contributions to 2016. One should also consider the rate of inflation over that time as $1 in 2005 would equal about $1.25 today.

All of that information indicates that UGA either doesn’t care or doesn’t want to raise more money; can’t come up with the projects to raise the money for; hasn’t yet or won’t identify new donors; doesn’t see the need to raise money (lack of vision); or has become comfortable asking donors to remain at their current level of giving only… or, perhaps UGA just isn’t very good at raising money.

Or perhaps Georgia never should have hired Michael Adams.  When you bring on a president who promptly proceeds to alienate a third of the donor base, there are repercussions to the bottom line.  And that’s the thing about alienated people — it’s hard to talk ’em back.

Finally, Legge is shocked, shocked to find that the state legislature’s financial support of the school is dwindling.

But UGA, and every other public higher education institution, has had lower and lower money coming from state capitals as time goes on. For the current fiscal year, FY 2018, the State of Georgia appropriated $473.3 million to UGA. The University of Georgia’s budget for FY 2018 is $1.6 billon. So the State gave UGA only 29% of the funds necessary to function. The other 71% had to come from somewhere else. In years gone by UGA was funded primarily from the State. That’s not the case any more, and it won’t change in the future.

That’s an amazing shock to the system. Public schools have had to learn how to become much more “private” in many ways. The most important lesson learned over the past two decades is that the State isn’t going to pay for UGA… UGA must figure out how to pay for itself. And after two-plus centuries of being able to be flexible thanks to the state legislature, that’s no longer the case.

Guess what?  That’s the story across the South, and indeed across much of the country.  Public support for secondary education steadily shrinks.  It’s hardly a Georgia Way thing.

Legge is right that the athletic department is expected to make up some of the difference.  That, too, isn’t much of a surprise, especially to Jere Morehead, who received that kind of news when the Regents offered him the job.

Which brings us to Legge’s conclusion.

…  Once a power broker at the intersection of money and college sports, UGA’s athletic revenues are now 9th-best in a 14-team league.

Perhaps it is an oversimplification to ask if Georgia wants to be 9th best in the SEC in money – because money < championships. But the truth is that’s the wrong way to look at it. Georgia should be exhausting itself trying to best figure out how it can maximize the monetary potential of its fanbase.

Doing that will increase the chances of championships in the future. Money leads to and follows championships.

Except for all the times when Georgia’s profit margin was bigger, that is.

“Georgia should be exhausting itself trying to best figure out how it can maximize the monetary potential of its fanbase.”  If you’re the Georgia Way, that’s winning.  If you’re a wallet, well, that’s hardly a surprise.

45 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

For a good cause: hanging them with their own words

The plaintiffs in the Alston and Jenkins antitrust cases have filed motions for summary judgment, saying that there’s no need for a trial because the NCAA and the schools have made their cases for them.

To buttress their case, the plaintiffs cited from an array of depositions taken from some of college sports’ most prominent executives, including NCAA President Mark Emmert, NCAA executive vice president Oliver Luck, NCAA vice president Kevin Lennon and Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. The plaintiffs also attempted to turn a variety of NCAA rules back on the association, including the ones that allowed scholarships to be enhanced to cover the cost of attendance.

The NCAA’s and the conferences’ “price-fixing justification based on their ever-elusive concept of ‘amateurism’ is simply their version of a three-card Monte game in which the line defining amateurism never stays in the same place,” the plaintiffs wrote. The defendants “will not be able to carry their burden to prove that the challenged restraints are necessary to maintain consumer demand” in college sports.

The plaintiffs wrote that no defense witness “has identified any kind of study … into whether their compensation rules have any positive relationship to consumer demand for college sports.”

“Remarkably,” they added, Emmert “testified it was not even his ‘primary objection’ that ‘impact … on audiences either watching the TV’ or attending could be harmed by college athletes being paid beyond (cost of attendance). Rather, the dominant rationale Emmert has discussed with NCAA members is ‘philosophical.’ ”

… The plaintiffs cited testimony from Lennon and Bowlsby to attempt to punch other holes in the NCAA’s case. They noted that while the NCAA seeks to limit scholarships to the full cost of attendance and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust case that allowing athletes to receive “cash sums untethered to educational expenses … is a quantum leap” that would irreparably damage its particular brand of sports, NCAA rules already allow athletes to receive benefits that Lennon testified are “not related to the principle of amateurism” and not tethered to educational expenses.

As just one example, the plaintiffs cited the gifts that football players can receive for playing in bowl games — and they wrote that Bowlsby testified, “I’m not sure how [gifts provided in gift suites] could be tethered to education.”

The plaintiffs argue that not only has the provision of cost-of-attendance-based scholarships and other new benefits like transportation and lodging for family members of athletes playing in the College Football Playoff or the Final Four has not hurt consumer demand, it also, according to an NCAA expert in the case “may actually ‘foster’ demand because consumers may feel positively about colleges doing more for students.”

Meanwhile, the plaintiffs argue, NCAA rules “ban myriad forms of benefits … that are tethered to education. For example, NCAA rules do not allow schools to offer guaranteed post-eligibility scholarships to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree at a school of an athlete’s choice, or to subsidize vocational training, or to offer financial incentives for academic progress or a degree.”

In addition, wrote the plaintiffs, while the NCAA contends that limiting athletes’ compensation helps to keep athletes better connected to an educational environment than they would otherwise be, in order to “collectively generate billions of dollars in revenues,” the conferences “surrender control over scheduling games to broadcasters.” To back this up, the plaintiffs filed a nearly completely redacted appendix comprising a multi-page table it titled “Defendant Contract Terms”; one column of the table was labeled “Scheduling Provisions.”

Referring to that that table, and again citing Bowlsby’s deposition, they wrote: “Defendants admit that their ‘stated beliefs and [their] actions are too often inconsistent with one another’ due to television- and revenue-driven conditions like ‘[late] 9:48 tip-off[s]’ on school nights, ‘three days of competition in a row’ and a host of other concessions that place TV broadcasters’ needs ahead of athletes.’ ”

Brutal.

Here’s some more real world tethering for you.

Chris Dawson and Tom Rathbun launched their company, Trailheads Apparel, Feb. 2, followed a few days later with a GoFundMe page that raised $645 in two days.

Not bad for college student entrepreneurs.

The only problem was Dawson and Rathbun are University of Iowa swimmers, who, as college athletes, are prohibited by the NCAA from using their names, photos or athletic links to promote their own businesses.

“We tried our best not to put anything about swimming in it,” Dawson, a UI senior and freestyle swimmer from Centennial, Colo., said about their online pitch for the company that produces T-shirts with slogans like “Camping? It’s in-tents.”

But the GoFundMe page included the founders’ names and bios saying they met as swimmers at Iowa, which resulted in a report to Lyla Clerry, UI associate athletics director for compliance.  [Emphasis added.]

They are being punished for literally using their names.  There’s an education in that, somewhere.  Maybe Emmert can explain his philosophy to them.

Meanwhile, at Nebraska, they’ve decided to use some of the athletic department profits to pay students.  Not student-athletes, students.

Nebraska Athletics will provide $5 million in scholarships to nonathletes, potentially providing additional aid to hundreds of students each year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Chancellor Ronnie Green and Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst unveiled the Husker Scholars program Friday during a meeting of the NU Board of Regents. It will provide the first scholarships for incoming freshman in the 2018-19 school year.

… NU President Hank Bounds said if the $5 million were divided into full scholarships, more than 500 students would be able to attend college at little cost. Dividing it further could provide college aid to more than 1,000 students, which would elevate the degree attainment in Nebraska.

And if that $5 million were divided among the student-athletes who helped generate the revenue in the first place?  Crickets.

It’s certainly laudable that the school is making an effort to ease the financial burden on some students.  The method is ironic, though, to say the least.  It should make for a great future soundbite if Nebraska finds itself having to pay players market compensation one day and takes the money for that out of this new scholarship fund.  Of course, if the school were that upset about it, it could always take the money out of coaches’ and administrators’ salaries… er, never mind.

9 Comments

Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Money talks.

Home games walk.

Notre Dame and Wisconsin will make it official Monday during a news conference at the Under Armour store on Michigan Avenue: Their football series is on.

Lambeau Field will host in 2020, Soldier Field in 2021. Two monster programs slugging it out in two NFL cathedrals.

Too bad those schools don’t have cathedrals of their own to play in.  Oh, wait… that’s not the issue.

Given the proximity of each NFL stadium to the respective sides, it’s fair to want this series to be a home-and-home. However, neutral site games have proven to be big money makers in college football scheduling.

I get the economics to a one-off game at some high bid neutral site.  And I get how Georgia-Florida and Texas-Oklahoma manage to combine making money with longstanding tradition.  Giving up a home-and-home two-game series, though, seems a little strained.  Maybe that’s me.

Then again, if this pays off, perhaps it’ll start a trend.  Who will be the first school to bid out all of its home games to neutral site settings?  C’mon, fans, you’ll love the novelty of it!  Plus, less wear and tear on the home field and those sweet donations still roll in.  Talk about your ultimate win-win-win…

21 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Shoot the messenger.

Booch can’t understand why he gets a hard time for sloganeering.

Win the East when you’re expected to, dude, and maybe it’ll come to you.

4 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

The first year is always the hardest.

David Greene tells an interesting story about his first season with Mark Richt.

Like Eason, Greene’s first year as the starter coincided with a new coach. There was a culture adjustment for the whole team, including Greene.

“They coached us and I think we practiced probably harder that first year than we ever did,” Greene said. “Probably a little bit harder than we should’ve. I think everybody was gassed by the end of the year, that first year. Our legs were toast. That first year was a complete grind.

“At least going into the second year you kind of knew what to expect, and our bodies were able to get prepared for it a little bit more. But Year 1 was a challenge. It wasn’t so bad in September and October, but it got to November and I was hitting the wall a little bit. Because I hadn’t done it before, and my body hadn’t been through it as well.”

Georgia started that season 5-1, highlighted by that memorable win in Knoxville.  The Dawgs went 3-3 down the stretch, capped by a disappointing bowl loss to Boston College.

Does some of that effect explain last season?  It’s not hard to see that it could, especially when you consider that Smart, like Richt, had never run a program before.  Not to mention that Smart also had to deal with the fallout from a 2013 class that provided little depth by the time 2016 rolled around.

He’s got better numbers and more familiarity this season.  Let’s hope that pays off much like it did for Greene and Richt in their second season together.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Musical palate cleanser, crazy for that girl edition

I saw over the weekend that Mark Knopfler celebrated his birthday, so let’s celebrate, too, with my favorite Dire Straits song, “Expresso Love”.

That’s the E Street Band’s Roy Bittan tickling the ivories.  Great lyrics and — it almost goes without saying — great guitar work.

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Filed under Uncategorized