Monthly Archives: June 2019

The EADA Chronicles, a continuing saga

To recap quickly:

  • I read the data AirForceDawg assembled at a message board site and reported on it here, along with a few editorial comments.
  • I received a pat on the back about it from Jeff Schultz.
  • Seth Emerson ($$) linked to it in this piece from Thursday.

Yesterday, Greg McGarity responded with certain details about the economics from Georgia’s perspective at the AJ-C.  His main point is this:

“To read that EADA report one would think we had a $52 million profit,” McGarity said. “But that’s simply not accurate because the numbers provided in the EADA report aren’t inclusive of all of our expenses.

“A more thorough review of our finances reflects a balanced budget.”

He lists three specific items not addressed in the EADA data.

Payment to university ($4.5 million)

“Our payment to the university was $4.5 million,” McGarity said. “It’s money that’s used at the discretion of the university, with a lot of it going to scholarship assistance or to endow academic professorships throughout the university.”

Debt service ($9.9 million)

“That’s the payment on the amount of money we owe, which is currently $105 million,” McGarity said. “

That money is from the bonds purchased for projects prior to 2010, which included the 2009 Butts-Mehre expansion, Stegeman Coliseum renovation, and the Reed Plaza expansion on the north side of Sanford Stadium.

“We have a payment of $9.9 million to service that debt we owe.”

Projects ($38.2 million)

“That’s money spent on paying for current and future projects,” McGarity said, “which includes the West End Zone expansion and renovation, as well as money being spent on golf, soccer and several other ongoing projects.”

That, in turn, raises a whole bunch of questions for me.  First, let’s start with the most obvious one.  Who, or what, is responsible for preparing the data and submitting it to the U.S. Department of Education?  According to its website, it’s the schools that compile and furnish it.

The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act requires co-educational institutions of postsecondary education that participate in a Title IV, federal student financial assistance program, and have an intercollegiate athletic program, to prepare an annual report to the Department of Education on athletic participation, staffing, and revenues and expenses, by men’s and women’s teams. The Department will use this information in preparing its required report to the Congress on gender equity in intercollegiate athletics.

So, that being the case, is Georgia following a rigid format that all schools must follow, or is it more that each school chooses what information to include in its calculations?  Before answering that, here are the official definitions of expenses and revenues:

Expenses
All expenses attributable to intercollegiate athletic activities. This includes appearance guarantees and options, athletically related student aid, contract services, equipment, fundraising activities, operating expenses, promotional activities, recruiting expenses, salaries and benefits, supplies, travel, and any other expenses attributable to intercollegiate athletic activities.
Revenues
All revenues attributable to intercollegiate athletic activities. This includes revenues from appearance guarantees and options, contributions from alumni and others, institutional royalties, signage and other sponsorships, sport camps, state or other government support, student activity fees, ticket and luxury box sales, and any other revenues attributable to intercollegiate athletic activities.

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to see how each of those could hardly be more broadly defined.  If the three line items McGarity cites were omitted from Georgia’s reporting, was that at the school’s choosing or by the feds’ bidding?  The reason that question matters is simply because I am skeptical that Georgia was the only school where facility improvements, payment to the university and other things weren’t figured into the expenses total.

If the former turns out to be the case (each school picks and chooses), then the data is essentially meaningless or needs to be significantly fleshed out in the government’s database.  If it’s the latter, and all schools are playing by the same reporting rules, then the basic point of my post stands and Georgia is returning a greater profit on its athletic department’s finances than any other school in the conference.

That’s the first level of questions.  The second level is simply to ask whether McGarity’s methodology in calling for those three items to be included in expenses is appropriate.  I’m going to outsource the answer to that to Andy Schwarz, who responded to the AJ-C piece with a series of tweets that are thought provoking, to say the least.

And that’s before you get to things like the reserve fund and the value of the assets purchased with the funds that Georgia pays debt service for.

Now, to be fair, I don’t think McGarity is pleading poverty in the AJ-C.  What he does seem to be insisting, though, is that any suggestion Georgia athletics is a hugely profitable operation is misleading.  Or, as Mike Griffith unquestioningly writes, Once those numbers are factored in, Georgia’s athletic department budget appears balanced.”  (If you’re looking for a textbook case of lazy journalism, look no further than that.  But I digress.)

What do y’all — particularly those of y’all who review a business’ books for a living — think?  Has the AD made a convincing case that everything’s been accounted for, nice and neat?  Is this nothing more than a matter of semantics?  Or is it valid to question the athletic department’s priorities in how its revenue stream is utilized?

I’ve got a feeling there’s more to come on this.

40 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

$10 here, $10 there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

IPTAY, the Clemson athletics fundraising organization, has, according to its CEO, raised an astonishing $360 million through the past six years.

It’s needed to, in order to keep up with the college football Joneses.

Despite the consistent support of IPTAY, Clemson’s pockets are not as deep as its competitive peers. According to figures compiled by USA TODAYSports, during the 2017 fiscal year, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Auburn, Louisiana State, Tennessee and South Carolina each generated at least $135 million from ticket sales, television and licensing deals, student fees and contributions.

Clemson generated $112.6 million.

The biggest discrepancy between Clemson and its peers is the lucrative linear television networks established by other conferences. In each of the past three years, the SEC, anchored by its SEC Network, distributed at least $40 million to its member schools. The Atlantic Coast Conference never distributed more than $26 million in any of those years.

It’s done better than keep up.

According to the USA TODAYSports compilation, through the 2016 and 2017 academic years, Clemson generated more revenue from contributions than Alabama, South Carolina, Penn State, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Iowa, Washington and Michigan State.

In each of the past four years, IPTAY raised at least $20.5 million in its annual fund, which supplies cash directly to the athletic department, according to a copy of the organization’s annual review. In 2018, it raised $38.2 million in its annual fund, $15.1 million in major gifts, including cash, real estate and securities, $5.1 million in planned gifts and endowments and $6.6 million in premium seating and suites in Memorial Stadium, the basketball arena Littlejohn Coliseum and the baseball park Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

If you’re interested in the quid pro quo, here’s a breakdown of what IPTAY contributors receive.  All in all, it’s a well-oiled machine.

13 Comments

Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake

Give the people what they want.

Seth Emerson ($$) posits a reason why Georgia is steadily upgrading the attractiveness of its schedule over the next decade or more:

The actual turnout at Georgia home games in 2018 was very different for games against Power 5 teams than it was in the other games. While every game was officially announced as a sellout, Georgia (like other schools) keeps track of actual attendance by counting tickets scanned at the door. Here is the breakdown for actual attendance last year, in order of highest to lowest turnout:

Auburn: 83,646

Tennessee: 81,227

Vanderbilt: 79,186

Austin Peay: 78,050 (season opener)

Georgia Tech: 76,203

UMass: 67,764

Middle Tennessee: 66,191

* Note that for each game, the total includes 4,128 credentialed people, a figure UGA came up with to include staff members, security, media, concession workers, etc.

This all tracks with Georgia’s actual attendance for 2015-17, which we wrote about previously. Since 2015, Georgia’s attendance for games against Power 5 opponents averages 77,598.4 per game. For non-Power 5 games, it’s 69,328.6 per game. You might say that it’s only about 8,000 per game, but that adds up over time.

Indeed it does.  And remember, as Seth notes, when it comes to college football attendance, Georgia is one of the fortunate ones, with a rate about 20% higher than the average.  But you keep throwing out home schedules as crappy as last season’s was and you risk watching falling attendance bleed into ticket purchasing as your fan base slowly gets out of the habit of coming to Athens to watch a game.

Kirby Smart deserves an enormous amount of credit for recognizing the risk and taking steps to blunt it from growing.  If it were up to McGarity, we’d be looking at schedules much like 2018 as long as Butts-Mehre could get away with it.

Yes, we are wallets.  We also have our limits.  Asking us to shell out more for what is at heart entertainment means at some point more has to be offered to entertain us.  And, no, that doesn’t mean just winning.  If it did, we’d fill the stands for UMass every season.

46 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Now this is how you do fan friendly.

This morning, I’ve got nothing but love for Louisiana-Lafayette.  Check out its new concession prices:

Fan Favorites Concessions Pricing:
–    Hot Dog, $1.00
–    Popcorn, $1.00
–    Fried Potato Chips, $1.00
–    Cheese Quesadilla, $2.00
–    16oz Domestic Can, $2.00
–    20oz Fountain Soda, $2.00
–    20oz Bottled Dasani Water, $2.00
–    Hamburger/Cheeseburger, $3.00
–    Pretzel, $3.00
–    Frito Chili Pie, $3.00
–    ICEE, $3.00
–    Cheese Nachos, $3.00
–    Large Popcorn, $3.00

Premium Concessions Items Pricing 
–    16oz Craft Can, $4.00
–    16oz Craft Draft, $5.00
–    16oz Domestic Draft, $4.00
–    Premium Hot Dog, $4.00
–    Premium Hamburger/Cheeseburger $6.00
–    Smoked Sausage/Hamburger Po’boy, $8.00
–    Boudin Ball (3) w/ Dip, $7.00
–    Shrimp & Grits, $8.00
–    Vegetarian Jambalaya, $6.00
–    Fried Mac & Cheese w/ Dip, $6.00

You can take a family to a football game and not break the bank on concessions.  What a novel concept.  Kudos to the Ragin’ Cajuns.

As an aside (and also as a lead in to the next post), this brings to mind something we discussed here once about how Georgia ought to consider discounting concession prices for cupcake games as a lever for putting asses in the seats for games with less attendance.  You don’t think something like that might motivate more families to come?

33 Comments

Filed under College Football

Thank you for your support.

Treading in AirForceDawg’s footsteps again, here’s an interesting data trend line for those of you who think Richt’s and Smart’s financial backing from Butts-Mehre have been similar.  It’s a spreadsheet of Georgia football expenses for the last four fiscal years (2014/5-2017/8) as tallied by the Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool.

Football Men’s Team Expenses
26154335
38884925
36387975
44909546

From $26 million to almost $45 million… quite the increase there.  All of which reminds me of something I read at a blog once.

I mention this story not in a fit of jealousy, nor to condemn another program’s wasteful spending. Rather, it’s a perfect example of what the Georgia Way is up against. Regardless of where you think Richt falls on the performance spectrum, you cannot deny that for the bulk of his time in Athens, he was not allowed the resources to duke it out with Georgia’s main rivals.

Forget about the IPF. Georgia was one of the last schools to give out multi-year contracts to assistant coaches. (Ironically, the administration got away with that because of staff loyalty to Richt.) Saban bulks up support staff; Richt is forced to come out of his own pocket to pay bonuses to his assistants. Georgia’s recruiting budget was far short of what other conference schools were allocating until this year.

If you manage an SEC football program, there’s a difference between being committed to winning and being financially committed to winning. Everybody wants to win. The hard part is figuring out how to allocate resources to make sure that happens. And, no, that doesn’t mean spending money like a drunken sailor. (We’re looking at you, Tennessee.) It simply means that if you think your rightful place is among the Alabamas, Floridas and LSUs of the world, you’d better take a hard look at what they’re doing and make sure you’re giving your coaching staff the opportunity to keep up with them.

Is Smart a better head coach than Richt?  Yeah, he is that.  Has he received better support — far better support — to succeed than Richt got?  Numbers don’t lie, peeps.  It’s actually possible to accept both points without feeling like you’ve compromised yourself.  Especially when it works.

What you should be pissed about as a Georgia fan is what might have been accomplished if the athletic administration had been in all along as it’s been for the past two or three years.

65 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Representin’

While I’m not surprised to see this, it’s still a little sad.

That’s entertainment.

Maybe SEC schools could use some of that sweet, sweet profit their athletic departments are generating to rectify that, but I’m guessing nah.

40 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., SEC Football

Your Daily Gator indulges its inner StingTalk.

During the Richt era, I enjoyed reading the message board threads concocted at StingTalk and other Tech blogs that would torture cherry-picked statistics into doing whatever stupid pet tricks would work to show that the Jackets were bound to beat Georgia that year.

Of course, we don’t call it Mark Richt Field for nothing.  But I digress.

Anyways, check out this item at Alligator Alley for something with a similar flavor.

… I thought it would interesting to take a look at the Gator’s 2019 schedule and see which games are projected to be close and which ones the gators should have the edge and/or not have the edge based on the 247 Composite ratings for each team’s projected starters. This analysis looks at the raw rating and an adjusted rating using the 247 Composite Ratings

The Adjusted Rating is simply the Raw Score factored for what class the player is in (Freshman = 85%, Sophomore = 90%, Junior = 95%, and Senior = 100% of the raw ratings). Granted, there are probably hundreds of ways you could do this and multiple ways of accounting for experience, I understand that…but teams are applied with the same factors so whatever disagreements you might have with the factor, at least it impacts each team equally.

Disclaimer – This is NOT an analysis that predicts the outcome, it is a talent evaluation that forms the starting point to determine where some of the potential match ups advantages and disadvantages might be during the game, and thus impact the game planning for both teams. It is simply a data point for consideration…

Yeah, right, bubba.

*Week 9 – Florida vs Georgia (2-2 DRAW – Coaching Edge to Florida)*

Based on the numbers, this should be an offensive shoot out. Both teams have the edge over the opposing defenses. The question here will be which quarterback can better exploit that…usually I would give that edge to Fromm, but I also think Henderson, Wilson and Dean are far better than anything he will face all year…so it is likely going to come down to how much the Safeties for Florida can do their job!

I’m giving the coaching edge to Florida, I am just not sold in Kirby’s game day management and I think Florida will be motivated to get this in the win column!

I keep thinking I’m gonna run out of material for these Daily Gator posts any day now, but it seems I’m underestimating the Florida fan base.  Thanks, fellas.

36 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...