And while we’re on the topic of G-Day, it appears I’m not the only old-timer who’s noticed the change in emphasis from the fan’s perspective. Here’s Bill King on that:
But, while G-Day used to be mainly for the fans, letting thousands of potential future paying customers into the stands for free to soak up some of that Between the Hedges atmosphere — and for coaches to see how young players react to performing in front of a crowd — nowadays fans’ warm bodies are wanted in Sanford Stadium seats primarily to provide an impressive backdrop for a national telecast and impress high school prospects.
As athletics director Greg McGarity said this past week in one of his periodic emails to boosters, “We all recognize the influence a packed house can make on prospective and current student-athletes, so let’s show up and have a day of excitement for an entire nation to witness on ESPN, along with those of us in attendance in Sanford Stadium!”
Be still, my heart. Don’t forget to smile for the cameras, peeps.
The amusing thing here is that but for Kirby pushing the game for recruiting purposes, you know McGarity would have been totally comfortable with business as usual. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that G-Day routinely bumped heads with the Masters.
You would think that Georgia’s outstanding 2017 season would be enough to gin up plenty of excited fans for Saturday’s game — no doubt McGarity is relieved he won’t have to agree to have someone fetch condoms for a rap star this go ’round — without needing any fake juice for the cameras. Evidently the brass expects that to be the case, so now we’ll get to see their awesome management skills put to the test.
Unfortunately, the days when early arrivals could sit wherever they wanted have fallen victim to the athletic administration’s growing need to micromanage every facet of the game-day experience.
Upon entering the stadium at the G-Day game this year, fans will be given a “commemorative pass” instructing them to sit in a particular section (though not assigning specific seats). If there’s a section you prefer, you’re encouraged to enter through the gate closest to it, though there’s no guarantee you’ll get the section you want.
All of this is in the name of ensuring “that each guest has an enjoyable experience” in the face of “expected high demand and temporarily reduced seating,” as an athletic association press release explained.
Believe it or not, I’m trying to keep an open mind about this, though I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being as curious about how this plays out as I am to see what Justin Fields looks like.