Today, in filthy lucre

So, this was a thing.

It was that kind of weird and wonderful night Thursday at the Coca-Cola Roxy at Battery Park. DawgNation brought back the core leadership group of Georgia’s 2017 team to say thanks to them and to show appreciation to the many sponsors and readers that followed the Bulldogs every step of the way this past season. In turn, those players shared background and anecdotes about the 13-2 season, which included a win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl and and a dramatic overtime loss to Alabama National Championship Game at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

It was considered one of the most special seasons in Georgia history. And it was, according to Chubb, Michel, Davin Bellamy, Lorenzo Carter and Roquan Smith .The quintet posed for pictures, signed autographs, swapped stories and hobnobbed witDawgNation sponsors and fans in the Roxy’s expansive venue next to the Braves’ SunTrust Park. The whole affair was quite a study in free enterprise and adulation.

Chubb, Michel and Smith were the feature act. They were the paid stars originally booked and contracted through their respective representatives to be featured at this event. Bellamy and Carter came on board when the buzz began to swell and it became clear that hundreds of fans planned to participate. When the official announcement was released via social media, good buddies Bellamy and Carter raised their hands to be included, and were.

“The whole affair was quite a study in free enterprise…”  Just wondering from those of you in the it’s what’s on the front of the jersey that matters camp:  should the five have had to share what they received with the school?  And, hypothetically speaking, had this event been put on a year ago and the five paid for it then, would that have ruined last season for you?



Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Tom Crean and the Georgia Way

Man, for someone who writes a college football blog, I sure have gotten a lot of requests for my opinion about the hire of Georgia’s new basketball coach.  Okay, here goes nothing, I suppose.

Skipping past the Xs-and-Os discussion — I said this is a football blog, remember? — and moving on to what this might say about Butts-Mehre and a possible change in approach, my answer is simple:  too soon to tell.

Look, they’re paying Crean a lot of money, a six-year contract worth $3.2 million annually, to be specific.  But it’s not like they’re going in hock to do so.  Fox was making north of two million a year when he was canned and there’s enough left in the profit margin to cover the increase comfortably.

That being said, B-M does get credit in my mind for recognizing that there were two slam dunk hires in the market, based on resumes, and both men were prioritized in the job hunt.  I’ll even go farther and say that the criticism I saw in certain quarters from pundits like Thamel and Schultz was unfair.  I’m not going to knock McGarity for setting his sights high and whiffing on his first choice, especially because it sounds as if for once there was actually a Plan B in place in case Plan A, which turned out to be Thad Motta, didn’t come to fruition.

Along those lines, if you know you’ve got the guy you want, then don’t screw around getting the deal done.  Per Weiszer, they didn’t.

The executive committee of Georgia’s athletic board approved the hire Thursday night in a hastily called meeting about a half hour after university president Jere Morehead and athletic director Greg McGarity landed from Sarasota, Fla., the area where Crean lives and where they met to hammer out an agreement.

Morehead and McGarity took part in the athletic board call sitting in a car in the Athens-Ben Epps airport.

McGarity walked to the car carrying a briefcase and talking on his phone after wrapping up a coaching search in five days after firing Mark Fox on Saturday after nine seasons.

So all that’s in the plus column.  Why, then, do I have this feeling of hesitancy?  I think because it was such an obvious move.  Do I think anyone in the athletic department has the first clue about how to hire a successful basketball coach?  Well, take in this stat from Seth:

During his 18-year coaching career Crean has more NCAA tournament wins (11) than Georgia does (seven) in its entire history.

As I put it the other day,

Along those lines, make sure you check out this Jason Butt story about the hirings of Mark Fox and Virginia’s Tony Bennett.  Then remember that Dooley’s last two hires were Ron Jirsa and Jim Harrick.  It’s a rich tradition we have at Georgia.

Crean is a safe pick, which means it’s more justifiable than a reach, but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best hire for Georgia basketball.  That takes work.  Then again, if you can admit to yourself you don’t know much about what you’re doing, then maybe the safe pick is the best pick.

The real question from here is how much support Crean gets from the administration in building the second most important program on campus.  If he’s smart, he’ll sell his new bosses on the financial benefit that accrues to schools from actually winning games in the NCAA tourney.  There really is gold in them hills for a successful newcomer.  (Like it or not, that’s what Georgia would be.)  In the end, though, what I’m curious to see is whether Smart is the new template for how the major programs are managed by Georgia’s administration; namely, trust that the guy you’ve hired knows more about what he’s doing than you do and give him enough room to prove it.

Crean lacks a couple of Smart’s advantages.  He’s not a Georgia guy and there isn’t the same passionate backing for men’s basketball that there is for football.  The faster he wins big, the easier things get for him.  (Especially if he can manage to stay on the good side of the liquor barons.)

Maybe it’s a new era for Georgia athletics.  Or maybe it’s simply an easy way for Morehead and McGarity to say, “hey, at least we tried”.  That’s something we won’t know for a couple of years.  In the meantime, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.


UPDATE:  Interesting note from Seth Emerson:

Finally, just some inside baseball-type information, but indulge me. The scene when Crean was hired Thursday night was a bit surreal. Greg McGarity and Jere Morehead got off a plane at Athens-Ben Epps Airport after returning from interviewing Crean in Florida. Three reporters, yours truly included, were there to greet McGarity and Morehead, who declined comment but then climbed into McGarity’s car, where they led a hastily called teleconference with the UGA Athletic Board executive committee. Reporters were invited to call in – McGarity wrote down the number and gave it to this reporter to call – and we listened to them approve Crean’s hire and six-year contract, with McGarity and Morehead still sitting two cars over in the airport parking lot. When it was over the two administrators drove by, rolled down the window to make sure we had everything we needed, confirmed the press conference was Friday, and we all said goodbye. … Surreal, but all in a night’s work for administrators and reporters.

Hmmm.  Maybe the times, they are a-changin’, after all.


Filed under Georgia Football

This monetary aggression will not stand, man.

With the Big 12’s release of its tax return, here’s a summary of where the P5 conferences stand in terms of financial distributions to their members:

  • Big 12:  “The conference reported nearly $371 million in revenue for a fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017… the per-school payouts to roughly $34.3 million…”
  • SEC:  “… the 14-team Southeastern Conference’s returns showed $650 million in revenue, or an average of about $41 million per school.”
  • ACC:  “… $373 million for fiscal 2016, distributing that money among 14 full members and Notre Dame…”
  • Pac-12:  “The Pac-12 reported that it distributed an average of $28.7 million per school in fiscal 2016.”
  • Big Ten:  “Citing a document from the University of Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported in June that it was projecting revenue from the Big Ten of $51.1 million for the 2018 fiscal year (the one that’s ongoing), up from $36.3 million for 2017.”

As the cliché goes, one of those numbers is not like the others.

A $10 million a year revenue gap between the SEC and Big Ten?  I’m sure Greg Sankey’s bosses will shrug that off, just like they did before… oh, wait.


Filed under ACC Football, Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Musical palate cleanser, seasonal edition

It was Sly Stone’s birthday yesterday.  How ’bout a little “Hot Fun In The Summertime”?


Filed under Uncategorized

A narrative I can get behind

Paul Myerberg characterizes his SEC spring football preview this way:

USA TODAY Sports’ overview of what to expect this spring from the five major conferences continues with the Southeastern Conference, home to Alabama, Georgia and a bunch of other teams chasing the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs.

It’s nice to be rooting for a program that’s not perceived as merely part of a bunch of others.


Filed under Georgia Football

Same as it ever was.

Baylor’s gonna Baylor, y’all.

Two Baylor football players have been suspended from the team stemming from allegations of sexual assault, coach Matt Rhule confirmed to KCEN-TV. The suspensions come about a month after another report stated two unnamed players were being investigated for an alleged incident that took place in November at an off-campus apartment, which also involved female members of the university’s equestrian team.

Rhule did not get into any specific detail about the suspensions or the allegations. However, he did maintain throughout his answer that the processes at Baylor in handling the allegations were done “the right way” — clearly, a major sticking point for the university in the wake of its scandal involving sexual assault and abuse towards women.

“I can’t get into too many of the details on this specific incident. I really don’t know too many of the details on this specific incident,” Rhule said in a video interview with KCEN, “but I do know things have been handled the right way. And I do know that we’re trying day in and day out to educate all the young men in our program about what you can and cannot do.”

Whatever you’re doing, Coach, I’d say it’s not taking.


Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues

The best years of their lives

I’m curious to hear what some of you think about this exercise in opening the doors to the sausage factory, via a former Purdue football player.  His conclusion after four years on scholarship:

People will probably ask me what the solution is and I don’t have the answer. Current players can discuss compensation, nameless marketing, coaching ethics, schedules, useless degrees, etc… Former athletes could discuss post-graduate education, company partnerships, and resources to find careers. The possibilities are endless but the first thing is acknowledgment. If I knew what I know now, that Engineering degree looks a lot better.

He wanted an education, but wound up getting a job.  That’s what he signed up for, right?


Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football