Daily Archives: June 24, 2019

#ThankyousirmayIhaveanother

This may be the mother of all Freudian slips:

UGASports: Although Greg McGarity gets a lot of grief, you’ve been a strong defender of him. What are your thoughts on Greg?

Brooks: I think when you’re the man at the top, everything comes to you. And, there are no easy fixes to a lot of our bigger problems in terms of logistics. But no one loves Georgia more than Greg, no one cares about the people that come to these games, and the student-athletes and coaches more than Greg. He reads every single email and is very responsive and caring to all issues. Greg is very caring of the loyal fan who has been here for 30-plus years and is trusting in their experience. He is not just a money-at-all costs athletic director, but he’s honest, fair, and treats people the right way. [Emphasis added.]

“Just”?  So he is one, but at least he’s honest about it.  LOL.

That’s the kind of thing that can happen when you’re so wrapped up in giving your boss a tongue bath.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Your Daily Gator ponders a world without Holloman.

You heard it here first.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

Canary in the Sanford Stadium coal mine?

Georgia is offering a “4-Game Mini-Plan” for the 2019 regular season, including two SEC games.  I am presuming those are returned tickets from the visitors, but in any event that’s not a good sign for the it-just-means-more conference.  (Although I have to admit if I were a Mizzou fan watching a team on NCAA suspension, shelling out bucks for road trips this year wouldn’t exactly be my highest priority.)

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

“Then it all fell off the cliff.”

If Jimbo Fisher didn’t exist, either FSU or Willie Taggart would have to invent him.

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Filed under ACC Football

Are we expecting the NCAA’s working group to really work?

If this is the best card Mark Emmert has to play with California, he’s got a weak hand.

The NCAA is ratcheting up its opposition to a California bill that would allow college athletes in the state to earn compensation for the use of their own name, image or likeness, beginning in 2023.

In a letter to the chairs of two State Assembly committees last week, NCAA President Mark Emmert implied that if the bill becomes law as it is written, California schools could face the prospect of being prohibited from participating in NCAA championships. That includes 23 NCAA Division I schools, four of which are in the Pac-12 Conference.

I say that because the NCAA faces a much bigger threat than the California bill in Mark Walker’s proposed congressional legislation.  I don’t think Emmert can threaten the entire country with being prohibited.

“We recognize all of the efforts that have been undertaken to develop this bill in the context of complex issues related to the current collegiate model that have been the subject of litigation and much national debate,” Emmert wrote in his letter to the committee chairs. “Nonetheless, when contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships. As a result, it likely would have a negative impact on the exact student-athletes it intends to assist.”

As I like to say, “likely” is doing a lot of work there.

I suspect this is posturing more than anything else right now.  After all, the bill, if passed, doesn’t go into effect for another four years.  The California legislature couldn’t make its intentions any more clear than this:

Late last week, wording was added that says “it is the intent of the Legislature to monitor” the NCAA working group and “revisit this issue to implement significant findings and recommendations of the NCAA working group in furtherance of the statutory changes proposed by this act.”

In other words, “Mark, get your organization’s collective head out of its ass and figure out something that’s more fair than the current ban.”  This being the NCAA we’re talking about, though, it’s probably a 50/50 proposition that it sues to void the law first.

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

“It’s the best way to handle it.”

Eight simple words to make every Georgia fan preemptively cringeGreg McGarity sat down last week to discuss…

He doesn’t disappoint, either.  Here are three quotes for your viewing pleasure.

  • Kirby is driving the Get Out of Jacksonville Train.
    Do those remarks mean Smart wants to stop playing in Jacksonville?“I think so. I think that’s pretty much where Kirby stands,” McGarity said. “He is just a recruiting guru. Anytime something is done to take away from that effort I think he feels like it affects our program, but there’s so many other things going in that game, with that weekend, you’ve got to look at every aspect of it… there are a lot of things to consider. But we’ll all get together and at the end of the day whatever decision we make, it’ll be our decision.”
  • Butts-Mehre isn’t showing enough love to Magill Society members.  “Right now in the Magill Club — I think we’ll call it the Magill Lounge — there are only 200 donors in there. We’ve got over a thousand donors in the Magill Society. So it’s only a fraction of individuals, but it’s sort of a good problem to have. We have a lot of interest. A lot of people have really given large donations. We really can’t move their seat locations until somebody gives up their seat location, so what do we have as an alternative to that? This is an alternative among that group to offer this opportunity.”
  • Non-Magill Society members aren’t showing enough love to Butts-Mehre.  “Right now we’re at $75 for our premium games and $55 for others, but our season tickets have not increased this year, and hopefully we don’t have to increase in the future. That’s always probably the most controversial thing you can do is raise ticket prices. But we’ve not had to do that because we’ve been very successful fundraising.”

There’s plenty of pap interspersed throughout (“Nobody likes a warm beer”), but the gist here, to what should be nobody’s surprise, is the relentless focus on cash flow.  Some portion of the nouveau riche is disappointed that throwing the big bucks in the pot haven’t gotten them everything they want — those sweet secondary prices for Notre Dame tix were fine, Greg, but some primo 50-yard line North stands seats would be finer, thank you very much– and that’s left the athletic department scrambling to come up with a bone or two to throw in the meantime.

The tradeoff is there for all to see.  The Magill folks get moved to the front of the line and the rest of us will be told to be grateful that their contributions are all that stand between us and a ticket price bump.  (That’ll come, anyway, after he gets them in their new seats.)

That part is unsurprising, but the attempt to throw Smart under the bus regarding the aftermath of a departure from Jacksonville is less so.

I assume McGarity believes the fan base has bought into the Smart recruiting narrative so completely that he’ll be able to shield himself after another money-driven decision from the criticism of a major chunk of Georgia’s fan base.  With regard to that, the best thing those of us who would prefer the Cocktail Party stay where it is have going is that Jacksonville appears to be as enamored with Georgia football as we are.

Such is what passes for genius and The Georgia Way.

53 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

TFW you really are a basketball school

At Connecticut, the UConn athletic department saw its annual deficit grow to $41 million in 2018.  The solution?  Leave the AAC.

The Courant has confirmed through sources that UConn is indeed headed to the Big East for all sports the conference sponsors. The conference doesn’t sponsor hockey, so UConn will remain in the competitive Hockey East, and it does not sponsor football. That raises plenty of questions as to what will happen to UConn’s football program.

That may leave plenty of questions, but there aren’t a lot of good answers.  Dennis Dodd reports (and Dan Wolken confirms) that the AAC won’t allow UConn to remain as a football-only member, so that leaves two options:  find another conference (the Big East doesn’t support football) or go independent.

Just because those are options doesn’t mean they’re attractive options.

Looking for a new conference makes some sense. It would give UConn guaranteed TV revenue. But it puts the Huskies in the same situation as it faces in the AAC: guaranteed games against opponents UConn fans have no investment in. Early speculation is the Mid-Atlantic Conference would make some sense, but how excited will fans be to watch Akron, Toledo and Central Michigan? Football attendance has plummeted the last 10 years and likely wouldn’t see a bump with those teams.

Going independent could set UConn up with opponents fans might get excited about. But it comes without guaranteed money going in and could come with struggles to set up opponents in the first few years because so many programs set schedules years in advance. UConn could always try to set up a TV deal, but again, nothing is guaranteed.

On top of that, the school has to pay the AAC $10 million to leave and some entry fee to join the Big East.  How bad does its arrangement with the AAC have to be to lay out that kind of money on top of a $41 million deficit?

Quite simply, the AAC and UConn were just never a good fit. The Huskies got caught when the biggest Division I athletic conferences realigned earlier this decade. UConn hoped to find a home in the ACC or the Big Ten and gladly would have taken a spot in the Big 12 if the first two didn’t work out.

UConn lacked long, big-time football history but trends showed good football would lead to a good payday with TV contracts. So officials banded together with others who were left on the outside — Houston, Central Florida, Memphis, etc. — and constructed the AAC.

Geographically, it only made sense for TV dollars. Some of the biggest markets were brought into the fold. And while the $1 billion, 12-year deal the AAC just inked with ESPN is nothing to laugh at, the annual payment of about $7 million for UConn just isn’t close enough to what the Power Five conference teams receive.

UConn officials also felt the AAC-ESPN deal limited the school’s exposure, moving many games to a streaming service platform and off linear TV.

If they’re trying to measure their take against what P5 teams are pulling in from TV, good luck with that.  Nor does UConn has a financial situation comparable to basketball powerhouses like Kentucky or Louisville, both of which are able to supplement conference broadcast revenues with robust basketball programs.  Still, overall, it’s a plus for the Huskies’ basketball programs.  As for football,

It will be a disaster for UConn football.

Fewer than nine years after the Huskies played in the Fiesta Bowl, they’re waving the white flag on ever reaching such lofty heights again. They’re surrendering any hopes of eventually being invited to the ACC or the Big 12. They’re acknowledging that they have screwed up so bad the last half-decade in football that the only way they can save their athletic department is to cut and run from a conference that’s actually trying to compete with the big boys.

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for Randy Edsall, except he’s part of the problem the school faces.

When Randy Edsall came back to UConn in 2017 after back-to-back disastrous hires in Paul Pasqualoni and Bob Diaco, the idea was that he could make the program attractive enough to get back in those conversations. Instead, two years into Edsall’s second stint, it has gone backward and ended last season as the worst program in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

UConn football has cupcake written all over it for the foreseeable future.  Enjoy life on the road, fellas.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major