Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

One day, we’re gonna need a bigger umbrella.

If you will recall, earlier this year we were treated to the news that Georgia was sitting on a reserve fund of almost $35 million.  Why so much?  Well, chalk it up to you never know:

Another board member complimented UGA’s fiduciary policy, and then Jere Morehead spoke up to make another point.

“We’re depending on our donors to pay for that project, or else our position changes dramatically,” Morehead said. “We need that project to be funded by our donor base so then we can move on to other projects.”

Nesbit said it would be “ill-advised” to go beyond the $10 million set aside for the west end zone project.

Another board member asked what “unforeseen” events would be that would necessitate keeping the funds. Morehead pointed to the SEC revenue, and whether it will be that much 10 years from now.

This, of course, followed on the heels of a series of rationalizations as to why the athletic department needs to maintain such a sizeable reserve — the gist of which boils down to “donors, pay no attention to why we need to raise more money from you” — topped by my favorite McGarity Moment ever:

McGarity pointed to unforeseen expenses that have already occurred: Paying off previous head coach Mark Richt and his staff. That amounted to about $7 million. As for the future, there are still NCAA lawsuits in the system, McGarity pointed out, related to student-athlete pay and concussions. He also pointed to the NCAA in the last couple years allowing schools to pay athletes for cost-of-attendance and for increased meals.

“There are a lot of assumptions that people are making, that this revenue stream is going to be there forever,” McGarity said. “If we end up having to pay student-athletes down the road, where is that money going to come from? … There are a lot of unknowns, and what this allows us to do, and the right way, is to have a buffer there that allows us to cover the unexpected.”

So what’s going on now?  If you predicted the future weather looks even rainier, give your bad self a big cookie.

The athletic association had about $48 million in reserves, money not designated for a particular use, as the fiscal year ended, Nesbit said.  [Emphasis added.]

That’s one helluva bump there.  The underlying math, as you can imagine, is a little bit fuzzy.

Operating expenses were $119.1 million, leaving the association with an “operating income” of $11.4 million, according to financial documents Nesbit shared with the board. As UGA vice president for finance and administration, Nesbit is also the athletic association’s treasurer

Notable expenses included athletic scholarships ($13.2 million), “general and administrative” ($18.4 million), plant operations and maintenance ($10.9 million), women’s basketball ($2.9 million), men’s basketball ($5.6 million) and football ($28.7 million, down from $31.3 million in fiscal year 2016).

The athletic association also had net nonoperating revenues of $18.9 million, including millions donated for projects such as the ongoing $63 million reconstruction of the west end of Sanford Stadium, where UGA’s football team plays its home games, minus deductions such as $4.5 million turned over to the university for discretionary academic-related spending.

The scholarship spending isn’t really an outlay as much as it is a paper transfer from one department to another, but in any event, the real story is that the UGAAA is rolling in money.  It’s McGarity’s job to sell raincoat futures, though, so expect stories of college football’s hypothetical apocalypse to keep flowing.  They’re good for business.  Not to mention they help take donors’ minds off the department’s current mediocrity.

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49 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

“They shouldn’t be paid to play football.”

“…I don’t think paying all college athletes is great, not every college is loaded and most 19-year-olds [are] gonna spend it–and let’s be honest, they’re gonna spend it on weed and kicks! And spare me the ‘they’re being extorted’ thing. Listen, 90% of these college guys are gonna spend it on tats, weed, kicks, x-boxes, beer and swag. They are, get over it! They’re not gonna budget it efficiently, they’re not going to invest it, they’re not gonna shop for the best interest rate for their moped. No they’re not, they’re 19 they just got a fresh Honda, there’s a cute girl in chemistry class, they’re gonna get some new kicks. That’s what they’re going to spend it on.”Colin Cowherd

I suspect a lot of Cowherd’s attitude permeates the thinking revealed by this Washington Post survey.  I’m sure some of you will jump on the racial breakdown of the data, but far more interesting to me is that a majority of respondents support players being paid for their names, likenesses and images, despite the tats and weed that might buy.

As far as Cowherd’s argument goes, Andy Schwarz offers a rebuttal.

“Whenever you get down to the core of it, they’ll say it just doesn’t feel right for these young people to have so much money when they’re so young. And I say, well, how do you feel about Emma Watson, Hermione Granger, having so much money?” Schwarz said. (Watson, the British actress, reportedly earned more than $20 million by the time she turned 18 from her turns in the “Harry Potter” films.)

Which brings us back to the uncomfortable consideration of why people have a specific problem with college athletes being paid.  Again, I’ll leave that for you to surmise.

One other thing I’ll leave for you to speculate about is a suggestion from Andrew Zimbalist about how to resolve the amateurism problem.

In his new book, “Unwinding Madness” — co-authored with Donna Lopiano, former director of women’s athletics at Texas, and Gerald Gurney, past president of the Drake Group, a think tank focused on ending academic corruption in college sports — Zimbalist argues for Congress to provide a limited exemption to college athletic departments from federal antitrust law. This exemption would allow schools to impose universal caps on coach pay and other athletic spending in exchange for the schools agreeing to a series of measures, such as balanced athletic department budgets and expanded postgraduate health care for athletes. Zimbalist’s proposal also would allow athletes to earn money through sponsorship agreements and the sale of merchandise.

“If they’re students and amateurs, then it doesn’t make sense, ethically, to pay the coaches millions and millions,” Zimbalist said. “This would tend to promote more competitive balance across the schools, which, presumably, is a good thing . . . and it would save tens of millions for schools in their budgets.”

“This exemption would allow schools to impose universal caps on coach pay and other athletic spending in exchange for the schools agreeing to a series of measures, such as balanced athletic department budgets and expanded postgraduate health care for athletes.”  Seriously, can anyone imagine a more DOA proposal?  A salary cap on coaches?  Balanced athletic department budgets?  That’ll go over smoothly.

Let’s face it:  Jim Delany’s not looking for fiscal sensibility or ethical sense.  He’s looking to maintain conditions that allow his conference to pay him a $20 million bonus.  Those of you who buy his BS are deluding yourselves.  P5 romance, for the win!

99 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“And that is what college athletics is all about.”

Fuck you, Jim Delany.

55 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“These aren’t what I paid for.”

Speaking of bucket list events, I’m thrilled to be going to South Bend this weekend to see the Dawgs play.  I got my ticket through the secondary market and have it in hand.  Two of my best friends aren’t so lucky, as they’re still without, despite ordering weeks ago.

From the looks of this piece, they’re not alone.

Ard said he went by Cook’s house on the Eatonton side of Lake Oconee on Tuesday. He said there were “a bunch of notes” on Cook’s door from people still desperately seeking the tickets they’d ordered. Ard said one gentleman drove up while he was at Cook’s house who said he’d just driven three hours to see about getting the 15 tickets he still had not yet received.

“So there are still are a lot of upset people out there that still haven’t received anything,” Ard said.

Nice feel good story there.

Whether it’s the result of incompetence or outright chicanery, I can’t say.  (Most likely, a bit of both, depending on the source.)  What I can say is that everyone ought to have seen it coming, based on the math.

UGA was allotted only 8,400 tickets from Notre Dame for its season ticket/donor base. UGA ticket manager Tim Cearley said Georgia fans were seeking as many as 20,000 tickets after those orders were filled.

Obviously, you can’t blame all the problems on Georgia’s decision to restrict ticket allotment to the very top of the donor food chain, but you can’t totally absolve Butts-Mehre from the situation, either.  It’s too late to do anything about it now, but in the future, it would seem to be the least the school could do if it’s going to continue the practice of showering the big boosters with goodies — and we know it will — would be to work with an established ticket broker to help the fan base avoid being screwed.

I mean, if you’re a fan who’s been planning this trip for months, how soul crushing is it to have all the joy sucked out of an event in this way?  I wouldn’t expect Georgia to provide a guarantee, but with a little thought and some astute use of leverage, there are things the school could do to help its fans having a time like this ruined.  Just a thought.

73 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

It’s a poor man’s game.

Here’s a shocking point of view.

Champions Way, a new book by New York Times reporter Mike McIntire, is the latest inquiry into the seedy underbelly of college sports. The “corporate-athletics complex,” as he calls it, corrupts universities, skirts federal tax laws, bullies the IRS, relies heavily on private donors, and sets players up to fail after their sports careers are over by pushing them into academically vapid curriculums.

I sat down with McIntire to talk about his new book and the state of college athletics. He told me that college football has become “too big to fail.” Too many people are making too much money, and the system has evolved into a profit-driven enterprise that has very little to do with college.

I never would have guessed.

If anything, McIntire pulls at least one punch when he claims that UAB shut down its football program over money.  As was noted at the time, that was largely contrived bullshit.  It was just another example of how schools juggle their books to make their athletic departments look poorer than they really are.

It’s hard to square claims of widely based poverty with the continuing scramble of schools jumping up to play D-1 football.  Not that they won’t keep trying.

11 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

“Travis knows he can make the most money possible by criticizing ESPN…”

I’m the last person who thought it was possible to feel sympathy for the WWL, but Clay Travis seems bound and determined to prove me capable of it.  Sheesh, what a dick.

15 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Wednesday morning buffet

The opener is coming.  You should work up an appetite with a few nourishing tidbits.

16 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, SEC Football, Stats Geek!