Do it for the kids, or do it for the fans?

Kirby Smart, on the dilemma posed by guarantee games ($$):

Kirby Smart was asked Monday about the value of playing these FCS games, and whether he would like to continue doing it. He gave a lengthy answer that boiled down to two points:

Yes, he would like to because it’s good for the smaller schools, who tell him that sometimes half their budget comes from guarantee games, and much of that money goes to players’ scholarships. If it means keeping these programs alive, then Smart wants to do so for the sake of the sport.

“My concern is that less kids grow up wanting to play football because less of their parents may have played football and reached out to another sport,” Smart said. “When you take away the opportunities at these universities, you take away a lot of opportunities for kids to get scholarships and go play. Some of these FCS schools are what keep these kids’ hopes alive to play football in college when you might not be an SEC-caliber player.”

But Smart’s second point is it’s going to be hard to keep doing it.

“The league is going to get bigger. There’s going to be more games, and fans want the bigger games,” he said. “Fans don’t usually want these games. It’s a pulling of two separate ways.”

There’s also the dilemma of SEC coaches wanting the easy win for win’s sake, but I digress.

Fans don’t want to spend money on “these games”.  Churlish of us, I know.  But here’s the thing — even if the SEC adds another conference game to the schedule — not that I’m convinced Sankey’s going that route — and even if schools continue to beef up their non-conference scheduling to impress the selection committee, nobody in their right mind is going to quit playing cupcake games altogether.

Beyond that, a pretty obvious compromise I can think of, if a primary consideration is making sure FCS schools’ budgets aren’t hammered, is to allow FBS schools to play a spring game against FCS opposition, charge something for it (before you ask, yes, I’d fork over something for that) and pay the visitor a guarantee fee.  If it takes on the trappings of something more than a glorified scrimmage, which is all something like G-Day is, it’s probably worth more to Mickey to broadcast it.  That’s as close to a win-win as I can come up with.


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

39 responses to “Do it for the kids, or do it for the fans?

  1. Makes too much sense. Won’t happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ran A

    Let’s put it this way… If FBS Schools were a mutual fund – I would get out. Check that – I would already be out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PTC DAWG

      FBS or FCS? You think they are both dying? I disagree.

      Liked by 1 person

      • miltondawg

        I don’t know if FCS is going to die, but I wouldn’t at all be surprised if they go to more of a model like Division III NCAA sports without scholarships. In which case schools with plenty of money will be able to offer financial aid like the Ivy League does and schools already just scraping by will drop or curtail their athletics.


  3. gastr1

    I agree. Since no one is really threatened by the outcome other than the Gators, why not just call it an exhibition and charge half price for it? Even if, say, at the start of the regular season.


  4. practicaldawg

    Playing a spring game against an FCS school sounds fun until you picture the extra ACLs we’ll get from it. I don’t see coaches being on board with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is the risk of an ACL injury any different when you have 1s against 1s or in a scrimmage over playing an FCS school?

      I could see the FCS schools not wanting to play a game like this due to injury.

      Liked by 1 person

      • practicaldawg

        I’m not a sports doctor but I’m guessing the injury risk is even higher for a game like that in the spring due to insufficient conditioning, especially for guys that just got on campus. But anytime you’re going full speed and actually doing real tackles, the risk goes way up. The QBs don’t even get touched at G Day.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Castleberry

    Love the scrimmage idea. Maybe even a 2 for 1 if the opponent is in a desirable location – Dawgnation will travel.

    Also, I think all other scholarship sports at the lower tier schools will feel the pain before football. Their football won’t make as much, but it will still be a revenue generator compared to everything else.


  6. That’s a great model. I’d love to think the SEC’s of the world, recognizing what they have, would voluntarily cut in some of these “cupcake” schools on massive TV contract $ to help sustain their programs if we all agree they’re good for the sport (in addition to the benefits already mentioned they do occasionally act as a developmental league for the big boys, they are a “laboratory of ideas” for scheme on offense and defense, and they create a market for the game in places that may not have their own big program but are usually in a TV market they does). But given that it somewhat feels altruistic I laugh at the idea before I even get it out of my head. Look at how hard NIL was fought. The problem with any great human endeavor is that humans historically are terrible at handling success.,


  7. David K

    For decades everyone played a 10 game schedule. It’s the same now. It’s easier just to look at it like everyone plays a 10 game schedule and 2 scrimmages. If you want to count those 2 cupcake scrimmages as wins for your bowl eligibility so be it, who cares? But everyone should have to play 10 P5 games.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Or maybe the Playoff/Conferences just directly subsidize the FCS programs directly.

    FCS survives, we don’t have to watch them, everybody wins.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. uga97

    The $$ seeping into mid majors programs athletic budgets..just move the burden on them . The $ is there just shift the scheduling.


  10. Remember the Quincy

    Your idea of the spring s rummage is a really good one.

    Personally I don’t like going to the cupcake games, but there is something else to consider. These games are often the only time many, many people get to attend a UGA game. I’ve sold my tickets for most of the home games this year and even against Mizzou, I got $130+ for every ticket. This weekend’s game only fetched about $80 per ticket. For families who love Georgia football and want their kids to have a chance to go to a game, but who aren’t as fortunate as many of us are to be able to fork over big money, these games are their opportunity to make the trip.

    My dad, for years, would give his tickets to these kinds of games to a friend who was a blue collar, hard working guy but who couldn’t make the investment. He’d just put them in the guy’s mailbox and that was it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • One of the posters known as Mark

      When my daughters were little, I took each to see a cupcake as her first UGA game. We’d walk around before the game, go to the Dawg Walk, go in the stadium and see the mascot mausoleum, walk over and stand in front of the cheerleaders for a while and listen to the band from up close. Then, we go to our seats, and when they were inevitably bored by halftime, I didn’t feel bad about leaving and driving home (no traffic!) and listening to the rest of the game on the radio while they slept.

      It was perfect. They got to go to a game with Daddy, I got to spend some focused time with each of them alone, and didn’t didn’t miss much In the way of exciting football.

      Liked by 10 people

      • Remember the Quincy

        Now that I think of it, I’ve done the same with my son and daughter. They both love watching games now so it’s not as big of a deal, but I recall watching us play Southern University as my daughter’s first game, and leaving after their band performed at halftime.

        Liked by 2 people

      • PTC DAWG


        Liked by 1 person

      • Tony BarnFart

        I’m not actually going to the game this year, but Charleston Southern would have been perfect and was definitely in consideration. Just as you want players in the greater football pipeline, this is the perfect avenue to get the next generation of fan/ families in the pipeline. 8yo and 5yos need nothing more than a little Charleston Southern and a less chaotic crowd.

        It’s really nothing more than an 11 game season and a reinvention of a Bullpups JV game. Now, of course you can lose and totally screw yourself, but still. That’s the way to look at it and not get all mad at its existence.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m thankful this year we have the opportunity to play 2 cupcake games at the end of the season to help us get healthy and 2nd & 3rd string players more snaps before going to Atlanta. I feel it would decrease our odds of success if we had a hard out of conference game or two right before playing Bama.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. snoopdawgydawg

    It’s funny how changes in life situation and experience changes views on things. Until kids, I begrudgingly attended these directional state games. My enthusiasm was for the big games.

    well, with 3 under 8, I want to engender the love of falls in athens and the excitement of going into the greatest place to watch a game that exists. With face value going up, donations going up, and demand for tickets going up each year, these noon directional state games are the ones easiest to scalp tickets for kids whose interest may not last past half time.

    I get why those not in my position would be fine with these going away, but like everything else about UGA football, the loss of these games will continue to make it harder for the next generation to develop their love of football in Athens, or will only be available to these of substantial means.

    Tailgating? major issue
    traffic and late night games? major issue
    length of games due to commercial breaks? issue
    ticket costs? continuing issue

    Life’s about change and compromise.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. otto1980

    Agreed with those with kids on the up side of the cupcakes. I know plenty who have attended their first game as an adult with a cupcake, as they are less expensive. UGA has a good mix on their schedule. If I were a season ticket holder the cupcakes are like a spring game, go enjoy down town take more time at the bookstore. if you are late to the game it isn’t a big deal. Parents of students who often are not alums can have a deal where they get tickets.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. spur21

    How many of you remember when there were JV teams? Something similar could be workable to give the little guys a bone with a little meat on it.


  15. classiccitycanine

    I think 2 cupcakes per year is just right, although I would accept one per year. Three is far too many. The advantage of cupcake games is that you get a happy low stress day in Athens, a real live preview of the next generation of talent, and it’s a budget/family friendly way to take in a game if you aren’t fortunate enough to have season tickets. That’s a nice thing to offer once or twice a season, but it absolutely should not make up half the home schedule.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I wonder if Kirby didn’t tip off the real canary in the coal mine. He’s visiting HS’s and talking to parents and player alumni with their own children. The number of young kids playing football and willing to pursue that route through college may be diminishing…rapidly. Choking off FCS may ultimately be the only solution for the P5, but for now keeping the interest, availability and interest alive is what he’s saying is needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Tony BarnFart

    All I know is that all the 6yr olds this weekend better pack up their Capri-Sun filled coolers EARLY and get their little asses into the stadium because Charleston Southern has a long snapppuh that we all better be ready for.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I mean, we’ll never get rid of these cupcake games; I doubt the state would let us cancel the Tech game.