Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

Everybody likes to make a little bank.

MaconDawg, you spoilsport.

It stands to reason then that Foley might recommend turning the reins over to a guy who already knows his way around the place.  Could Greg Mcgarity leave his post in Athens to become the athletic director at the University of Florida?

Much to the chagrin of a truly committed group of Bulldog fans, I think the answer is no.

Eh, for the record, I don’t disagree, mainly because I don’t see that McGarity’s done enough since he’s left Gainesville to make him that enticing a replacement for Foley.  (The sneering condom references likely to be contained in a McGarity-to-Florida story alone make it unlikely.)

But MaconDawg’s raised one amusing possibility that I can’t resist touching upon.

And as much as Florida fans might disagree, it is essentially a lateral move. Florida does not offer significantly more in the way of resources, and in fact may offer less in terms of revenue to work with. Admittedly, Georgia’s revenue hasn’t been spent on its athletic director. McGarity makes roughly $600,000 per year, which certainly ain’t that bad. But Foley earns about twice that ($1,230,000) at Florida. McGarity’s current contract runs through 2019 after being extended this time last year, but if necessary I suspect the board could find a few extra dollars to keep him.

Actually, he’s wrong about Florida’s revenues, at least according to the numbers published in USA Today.  The Gators took in about $30 million more last year than did Georgia; they also spent about $30 million more.  But I digress.  What would really be funny is if McGarity were to use the opening in Gainesville as a means to leverage the athletic board into giving him a salary bump.  If only he were represented by Jimmy Sexton…

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

COA, one year later

Remember when everyone was wailing about COA stipend madness?  The conference took action.

In May 2015, the SEC enacted legislation proposed by Kentucky and Georgia, which each had the lowest cost of attendance figures in the conference, that required each school to submit a report to the conference office illustrating “the value of the institution’s ‘other expenses related to cost of attendance’ for the upcoming academic year and describing the methodology for determining such value.”

And now?  Even Auburn’s yawning about it.

“I don’t think (cost of attendance had) much of an impact (on recruiting),” said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, whose school has a $5,586 cost of attendance ranking among the highest in the country. “I know it was a big topic last year. You really don’t hear a whole lot about it this year.”

If this is true…

No SEC coach could cite a circumstance where a recruit was swayed by a difference in cost of attendance stipends between schools, which started paying out the stipends, in accordance with the Ed O’Bannon case, last August.

Even during the barrage of recruiting announcements on National Signing Day, not one time did cost of attendance get mentioned.

… Gus is understating things, because you’re not hearing anything about it.  Players getting paid and yet the Republic survives?  Color me shocked, shocked.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, SEC Football

In it to win it.

If LSU wins the national championship, Les Miles gets a $2.7 million bump.  Not a bonus – a raise of his base salary to $7 million.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

When they tell you there isn’t enough money…

Hey, remember when Jim Delany threatened to take his ball and go home by claiming he’d move the Big Ten to a Division III model rather than pay players?  He later attempted to distance himself from that sentiment.  Not that anyone in his right mind took Delany seriously in the first place.  After seeing numbers like this, why would anyone?

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Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness

Ripped from the pages of an open records request

Chip Towers has done a laudable job comparing the contract Kirby Smart just signed and the last contract prepared for Mark Richt, which he didn’t sign.  A few comparisons are in order, starting with the biggie:

The biggest difference is Smart’s new contract includes the controversial “conduct and ethics clause.” That condition was a major sticking point for Richt and his representation after he agreed to a raise and new contract in January of 2015.

In fact, Richt never did sign that last deal. So technically he was operating under the guidelines of the contract he signed in 2012. Ultimately, though, UGA honored the handshake agreement and paid Richt based on the agreed-upon increased compensation — $4 million – when it fired Richt on Nov. 28.

But while Richt never signed off on that clause, Smart did. It is included on Page 9, Section 3B, of Smart’s the 33-page contract. That contract – executed in late May – was turned over to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week in compliance with an opens record request.

It is essentially a disciplinary clause and it is found in the compensation section of Smart’s new contract. It gives Georgia Athletic Association the right to withhold pay from the head coach in the case of a material violation of “one or more of the duties, obligations or expectations … that do not rise to a level warranting termination.”

Call it the “Jack Bauerle Clause.” The legendary swim coach, who has led the Bulldogs to seven national championships over 36 seasons, was indefinitely suspended and his pay and bonuses frozen in 2014 while his program was under NCAA investigation for providing extra benefits for a star swimmer. After those charges were substantiated, Bauerle was also ordered to repay more than $100,000 in legal fees the athletic association paid to defend the charges.

Financial penalties previously had not been spelled out in any coaches’ contracts. But now they are. Going forward, it is “standard operating procedure” for all of the Bulldogs’ head coaches, according to McGarity.

“I’d just say that events that occur around the country often lead to changes in contracts everywhere,” McGarity said. “Things have to be adjusted all the time, not only here but around the country.”

So Smart’s contract now states that UGA has “the right to withhold or reduce performance bonuses … and other compensation payable to Smart … by a maximum of 25 percent for up to 12 months.” Furthermore, it states that the athletic association can recommend suspension “with or without pay” for up to one year and recommend that the University “take other disciplinary action.”

I’d call that Georgia Way 1, Smart 0.  I wonder if they’re making people in the AD’s office agree to that clause, too.

While that’s big, I find this one more intriguing, just because of some other scuttlebutt I was privy to when word came that Richt hadn’t signed his last contract.

Meanwhile, the narrative has been that Smart is making fewer public appearances. In reality, according to the “public relations obligations” section of Smart’s contract, he actually will be doing more PR. However, his requirements are oriented more toward endorsement and fund-raising opportunities than those of a pep rally nature.

Like Richt, Smart must also make “no fewer 12 unpaid personal appearances” before Bulldog Clubs throughout the Southeast and “a reasonable number of appearances” on the Bulldog Hotline and the coaches many other media platforms. However, Paragraph 1F states also calls for Smart to spend at least two days helping the president fund-raise, make no fewer than 12 annual endorsement appearances at the UGA’s request for the football program and that any payments for such “university-related appearances be negotiated and kept by the association.” In addition, Smart must be available for three personal appearance son behalf of Nike or any future equipment provider and up to three appearances on behalf of IMG or any future rights holder.

Smart agreed to these requirements, but with an added caveat: “The Association and University acknowledge and understand that Smart’s primary obligation shall be to the serve as the head coach of the University’s football team,” and these university-related appearances “shall be subject to his roles of directing the team, including but not limited to its practice, playing and workout schedules and the recruitment of potential student-athletes.”

Smart also included the word “reasonable” to another about complying with the AD’s requests for appearances, “subject to Smart’s schedule in fulfilling his primary role as head football coach.”

It’s not a sticking point, McGarity said. “He wants to get out and fund-raise,” he said. “He’s already done that. Kirby’s wired that way.”

That is so much horseshit.  The football coach’s heavy involvement in raising funds for the school became a huge necessity when Adams was still president because he was toxic to a major chunk of the donor class and Richt’s popularity was something of a remedy for that, but it was – at least from what I was told – never exactly something Richt was overwhelmingly fired up to do.  And let’s not forget McGarity’s famous pronouncement upon taking the job about relieving Richt of certain non-coaching responsibilities that were supposedly interfering with his time allocation.

Let’s put it this way:  you don’t put contractual limitations on something you’re wired for, unless your definition of wired and your employer’s differ.

Finally, at least one dumb, micromanaged vestige of the Georgia Way has been discarded.

Smart had Georgia remove a clause in paragraph that required Richt to keep “the recruitment of junior college athletes to a minimum.” Smart signed one “JUCO” transfer in the 2016 class in wide receiver Javon Wims of Hinds Community College and is actively recruiting more for 2017.

Yeah, remind me again about the full-throated support from B-M for Richt.  Good for Kirby getting that set of handcuffs tossed.

Assuming Georgia takes off under Smart – which I hope – it’s the next contract that’ll be really fun to watch.  Especially after Jimmy Sexton fields a few job offers from other schools.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Gettin’ banged for the buck

Groo posits that the worst thing about the announced increase in ticket costs is what can best be described as an additional hidden expense.

Even as the cost to attend home games rises, many of the more attractive games going forward are likely to be off-campus. For Smart, it makes sense for the reasons outlined above. He saw the benefit of the big neutral site games while at Alabama. It also makes sense for Georgia’s bank account: neutral site games come with premium ticket prices and bring in more money than a home-and-home series would with the same opponent.

Fans will be asked to contribute more for what’s likely to be a lesser home schedule. You’ll have the usual SEC slate, and Tech will visit every other year, and more attractive opponents in Athens are likely to be few and far between. Alabama under Nick Saban has hosted only one power conference opponent at home: Penn State in 2010. (That’s no knock on their schedule; they almost always have a challenging opener.) Georgia will have a visit from Notre Dame in 2019 which was arranged before Smart took over. But if you want to see some of the better non-conference games on Georgia’s future schedules, be prepared to travel and pay on top of your increased donation and season tickets.  [Emphasis added.]

Listen carefully and there’s a mournful tone of inevitability accompanying his observation.  Although I do wonder if that can be countered with two points. First, Kirby isn’t ultimately calling the shots on scheduling, at least according to the terms of his just-signed contract.

–Smart is to work “in good faith” with the athletic director in scheduling future opponents, but the athletic director has the final say in scheduling.

Second, while nobody at Butts-Mehre wants to acknowledge the possibility that there is a limit to our wallets’ generosity, you better believe somebody has taken notice of the fact that the cumulative Hartman Fund cut off score to renew the receipt of two season tickets fell from 6701 in 2015 to 1201 in 2016.  Sure, one season doth not a trend make, but in the wake of a coaching change supposedly jazzing up the fan base – #93k, good times, remember? – it doesn’t appear to reflect the sense of enthusiasm for the program that’s being pushed in many quarters.

Moar sure:  yeah, win an SECCG or two and that fall will be arrested.  The question is, will that be enough in the years to come for Georgia fans to continue shelling out “more for what’s likely to be a lesser home schedule”?  We know Greg McGarity hopes that’s the case.  If it’s not, is there any more of a Plan B in place than expecting television revenues to make up the slack?  You know how impressed I’ve been with the business acumen of the athletic department, but, obviously, your mileage may vary there.

In the meantime, you’d better treasure that home-and-home with Notre Dame.  If Groo’s right, we may not see its like again for a while.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Leaving money on the table

If this is true, I have no idea what the Big 12 is doing.

Big 12 administrators will be presented with information this week at the league’s spring meetings that expansion could earn the conference at least an additional $1 billion over the length of its remaining TV rights contract, CBS Sports has learned.

If the league expands by four teams, provisions in its contracts with ESPN and Fox provide money for that benchmark. If the expansion is by two teams, the increase would be $500 million.

There is a catch, but it’s not much of one.

Those rightsholders are contractually bound to provide “pro rata” for any new Big 12 members. That is, any new members would be paid an equal share of the current Big 12 members — approximately $23 million per year.

While on its face that doesn’t necessarily help the 10 current members of the Big 12, opening the existing contract would allow for a negotiation beyond that $1 billion figure.

I guess you can see why every mid-major program in the country is falling all over itself to get the Big 12 to notice it.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Just Bidness