Daily Archives: May 26, 2018

The honorable Kirby Smart

You know, for someone who was accused of doing obscene things to his old boss on the recruiting trail with a whiteboard, Kirby Smart sure played things above board when it came to offering Maurice Smith a chance to play in Athens as a graduate transfer from Alabama.

TRO: Given that great experience, what was the reason for wanting one more stop before your college career ended?

Smith: I saw it an opportunity when coach Smart and coach Tucker told the team they were about to leave and go to Georgia. I had never received an offer from them — it was one of the few schools who never offered me. Once coach Smart told me, I wanted to make the move and transition…

TRO: Did coach Smart (Alabama defensive coordinator) or coach Tucker (Alabama defensive backs coach) let you know before they took their jobs with Georgia that they may be moving, and that there would be interest in bringing you along if they did move? 

Smith: Honestly, it sounds funny, but we never even spoke about it. My relationship with coach Smart at ‘Bama was not what it could have been — it was not that strong or close. He recruited me out of high school, but once I was there a couple of things happened and went the route they did just because of him. It wasn’t like I didn’t like him or anything like that. I just didn’t understand what was going on.

Before the National Title game, we knew he was leaving, but he never spoke about it. Obviously, there were the little things: “You do what you do, and you will have success”. That kind of thing. But in terms of a conversation about me following him, that never crossed our minds.

The funny thing is, before the National Championship, once they both knew they were leaving, I kind of knew that we would end up crossing paths, but I never thought it would be in college. Georgia wasn’t even my first choice!

I was actually interested in a couple of other schools. One day my mom came up to me and was like “what would you think about going to Georgia?” And I was like “I dunno”. I wasn’t too fond of it: they hadn’t recruited me; I hadn’t been; I didn’t have a close relationship with coach Smart. I ended up speaking with coach Tucker, he had been one of my favorite defensive backs coaches. Once that happened, I thought about doing it and took a visit. After that it took off from there.

That’s about as straight up as it gets.  Not that there weren’t a few assholes involved in the story.  It’s just that all of them were located in Tuscaloosa.

TRO: Walk us through your transfer process?

Smith: Well, to start, I remember it was after the spring game — a couple of weeks after — I had ongoing thoughts about maybe I should explore different options. That’s what I ended up doing.

I went into coach Saban’s office and told him I wanted to look into other schools. He was like “what do you mean? Transfer?” I told him no, I just wanted to look at options. He didn’t take that lightly; he didn’t know my motive. He kind of went into tank mode, in the sense that he was asking the staff “why is Mo trying to leave?”

I never told anyone I wanted to leave, just that I wanted to explore options. I forget what it’s called, but I was trying to get the release so that I could speak to schools or something like that. That’s when it went south real quick. I was kind of surprised. I didn’t know where the madness or confusion had come from, because I hadn’t asked for a transfer.

The practices went on, and next thing I know things went even more south: coach Saban is telling me I’m not able to come into the facility or workout with the team if I’m going to leave.

Once that happened, things got real ugly.

And that was a week before he even thought about transferring to Georgia.  Nice.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

Today, in mo’ (and less) money

Jere Morehead speaks truth to power.

There also is a new line-item buried within. It’s $1.8 million, which is the new federal excise tax that is being assessed on nonprofits that pay employees more than $1 million in salary. So Georgia is now being assessed a 21 percent tax rate on anything over that amount that it pays coaches. Currently that is on three individuals: Smart, basketball coach Tom Crean ($3.2 million) and football defensive coordinator Mel Tucker ($1.5 million).

The federal excise tax was part of a legislative package passed last year that also will eliminate donations to athletic departments to buy tickets.

“I understand the theory behind passing the legislation [to discourage excessive salaries] but I’m not sure in the current marketplace that it’s going to achieve its goal,” UGA President Jere Morehead said. “So far it has not.”

That’s an understatement if I ever heard one.  Jimmy Sexton ain’t got time for your silly excise tax games, Congress.  And he’ll probably laugh out loud when he hears about this feeble attempt at the state level to rein in coaching salaries.

According to an article by the Daily Bruin, California state legislators have announced a proposed amendment that would restrict the salaries of non-faculty members at schools under the University of California’s umbrella.

The proposal would cap non-faculty salaries at $200,000 per year as well as a number of other terms in it not related to coaches, and will require a vote of two-thirds in the Assembly and state senate as well as a majority vote on public ballot.

Of course, non-faculty members include football coaches, and on its face, this could have a direct impact on the California state schools that play football and their coaches including Chip Kelly at UCLA, Justin Wilcox at Cal, and Dan Hawkins at UC Davis.

Gaming this, of course, would be so easy that Nick Saban wouldn’t even break a sweat.

… when it comes to coaches, common sense leads one to think that boosters and universities would just get creative to pay their coaches what they feel they’re worth. We may see the “base salary” of coaches capped at $200,000, but there’s no limit on the creativity athletic directors and boosters could ultimately use to make up the difference.

A far less likely (but infinitely more fun) possibility is to imagine Kelly or Wilcox teaching a single Football 101 class so they could be considered “faculty.”

Might as well try to legislate our passion for sports.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

1,246,201

When you play a fifteen-game season, it’s hard to avoid having kick ass attendance numbers.

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Filed under Georgia Football