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Category Archives: Political Wankery
Maybe it’s just me, but as far as creative financing goes, this sounds like it’s got Georgia Tech written all over it:
For years, sports teams have tried to defray the multimillion-dollar costs of their new stadiums by asking fans to pay thousands for personal seat licenses that entitle them to buy season tickets.
Flávio Augusto da Silva is taking the concept further. In what may be the first deal of its kind, Mr. da Silva, the majority owner of Orlando City of Major League Soccer, is asking investors from Brazil, China and elsewhere to pay $500,000 each for a stake in the stadium he is building near downtown Orlando. In return, the foreign investors receive annual dividends, two season tickets and something even more valuable: a green card that allows them, their spouses and sometimes even their children to live and work in the United States.
The visa offer is legal, and it uses a 25-year-old federal program, known as EB-5, that is under renewed scrutiny in Congress. Created in 1990, the program was intended to help pay for infrastructure projects in rural areas and poor urban neighborhoods. After bank lending dried up in the last recession, developers turned to the program to finance hotels, condominiums and other projects from Manhattan to Miami. As a result, the number of EB-5 visas awarded grew to almost 9,000 last year, from fewer than 100 in 2003.
Green cards, infrastructure projects and poor urban neighborhoods? That pretty much checks every box Tech could point to for money to spruce up Bobby Dodd Stadium. Now, if they could only figure out a way for coaching salaries to qualify as infrastructure projects…
I realize I risk opening up a can of worms with this post about America’s latest outrage du jour, but I can’t help it, because this was literally my exact thought the first time I heard about the silliness.
In fact, the only time Barnes was ever confronted with the bathroom/sex issue was during a football game at Sanford Stadium, Barnes told the audience.
He was in the men’s bathroom when four or five women burst in and said, “Move over, boys.”
The women’s room was backed up, and they knew there would be more space in the men’s room, Barnes told his audience in UGA’s volleyball arena in the Ramsey Student Center.
“Don’t worry. There’s nothing we haven’t seen before,” they assured the men, Barnes said.
Been there, done that, alright.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be a bathroom monitor at Sanford Stadium facing a horde of desperate women intent on breaking the law by using the wrong bathroom. When you gotta go, you gotta go.
A little of this, a little of that…
- Tyler Catalina’s getting ready for his “business trip” to Athens.
- Coming soon to a college jersey near you? Don’t scoff; I can see a cash strapped mid-major grabbing this kind of ad revenue.
- If NFL careers are supposed to be the benchmark for judging college players, shouldn’t Matt Stafford be one of the SEC’s top five quarterbacks of the last decade?
- Kirby Smart won’t call the defenses on game day.
- Would the Big Ten coaches stand up to Jim Delany and demand that part of the conference’s TV contract stay with ESPN?
- Who could have guessed that the career of the Speaker of Alabama’s House started with the public relations push for Hershel Walker’s 1982 Heisman Trophy?
- The offseason’s most dreaded four words: said in a statement.
- Dawg Post takes a look at what’s changed with Georgia’s recruiting this year. I don’t really see much to the piece, but your impression may differ.
State legislator declines to comment on the exposure of his ludicrous rationale of the law he championed.
The NCAA has become a black market. At some point, Laremy Tunsil’s petty, common, under-the-table transactions as a college football player at Mississippi metastasized into something else, something that looks suspiciously like a smear campaign and a blackmail attempt. This is the ultimate ill of an old-world system that earns millions for everyone but the players: It left a 21-year-old vulnerable to a vengeful shyster operating in an underworld…
The worst part of this subterranean economy is the way it criminalizes the wrong people for perfectly trivial behavior…
There’s not a person in the pro or college football worlds who doesn’t have a pretty good idea of what happened: how Tunsil probably grew sick of having to grovel to the assistant, who made him feel like a thief for even asking; the growing awareness of the future awaiting him in the NFL coupled with the need-it-now frustration; the peekaboo teasers of wealth to come and overtures from the “runners” for agents trolling for clients, offering to front him what he needed in exchange for the ability to steer him come draft time; followed by the rage and the threats of exposure when the mutual use fell apart with the arrival of Sexton in Tunsil’s life.
… would it be much of a stretch for some prosecutor to go after the NCAA under Todd’s Law the next a Georgia player runs afoul of the unlawful benefits rule?
Before you laugh, let’s not forget the passionate rationale behind the bill, folks.
“That’s what really got most peoples’ dander up,” said Fleming, a rabid Bulldogs fan with undergraduate and law degrees from UGA. “I was disappointed when it happened. But I understand the young man comes from a very humble background. His mother didn’t have funds to properly repair the roof on the trailer she raised him in.”
The law has two possible penalties, one criminal, one civil, Fleming said.
“We plugged it into a law about alumni being overzealous,” he said. “Now it’s a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. It can be up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
“On the civil side, the university can sue the person who does this for any damages sustained, like losing a TV contract, not going to bowl games.”
Or being shut out of a national playoff game because of a star player’s sudden suspension or ineligibility, maybe?
Like I said, yeah, I think I’m kidding. But I can’t quite bring myself to say it would totally surprise me, either. If enough people were pissed off… er, uh, got their dander up about that, it would be good politics, if nothing else – and it’s not like our fair state doesn’t have a track record of going after the NCAA when there’s enough money involved.
Pretty funny, hunh?
I got a couple of emails yesterday about MaconDawg’s much ado about nothing post regarding SB 323 asking me what I thought about it. Honestly, some of what he writes strikes me as spot on and some not so much.
For example, he’s got the big picture right.
And so it should not be terribly surprising that the Georgia legislature passed a bill (really an amendment to a bill) which now gives state athletic departments 90 days to acknowledge their receipt of information requests (commonly called Freedom of Information Act or “FOIA” requests) rather than the prior statutory 3 days. Journalists, including journalists with SB Nation, have come out swinging against this. I want to be clear about something right up front: I agree with them. At its heart this new law is designed to keep information hidden from the public for longer. Anyone, whether the bill’s proponents, the Lieutenant Governor, or Kirby Smart who tells you differently is lying right to your face.
But it’s when he turns to explaining a number of reasons why this isn’t as a big deal as it may seem that I have to differ with him. Start with this:
And here’s where opponents of the new law are missing the boat. Under the existing law in Georgia, and almost every other FOIA law in the nation, there was no firm deadline on how long they had to get me all the documents. Courts have awarded penalties (usually attorney’s fees) in cases where the institution is clearly stonewalling. And a court may make the state show what affirmative steps it has taken to gather and provide the information. But at no time has anyone in the UGA Athletic Association been under a duty to get me all the information which I seek within 3 days. Never. And there is no firm guidance regarding what information is immediately available.
This law, at least as I read it, doesn’t eliminate university officials’ duty to respond to my request in a reasonably timely manner. It gives them 90 days to tell me they a) don’t have the information I requested, b) need additional information to determine whether they have it, c) won’t be turning it over because they don’t have to (for reasons of student privacy, for example), or d) will get it to me sometime before the Big Bang Theory gets cancelled.
That’s not inaccurate as far as it goes, but then he adds this as a conclusion: “This new law does not prevent the UGA Athletic Association from obfuscating and buying time. Nor however does it allow them to do so where they couldn’t before.” Well, except for that whole thing about not even letting the requesting party know whether any information exists in the first place for an additional eighty-seven days, I suppose he’s right.
And this strikes me as somewhat wishful thinking:
… Also bear in mind that there’s nothing in this new law that requires athletic associations to wait 90 days before responding. If I make a fairly simple request for readily available information I’d still expect that the folks in Athens will probably get it to me within a few days, as before.
The issue, it seems to me, won’t be over how simple a request is, or how readily available such information may be. It’ll be how comfortable the athletic department is about letting the world know it exists when the request is made. And that is really what lies at the heart and soul of the new law – that some potentially unpleasant matters are time sensitive and don’t have a particularly lengthy shelf life. Why should we expect Butts-Mehre to respond any sooner than it absolutely has to in such cases?
No, the world isn’t going to end because of SB 323. And, like MaconDawg, I don’t expect the school to use this new law as an excuse to behave in an egregiously nefarious way. But if this law is such a benign thing, again, all I can go back to in response is to question the way in which it passed, as I did in this post:
So, ultimately, here’s what you’re being asked to swallow here:
- In the midst of recruiting, organizing the program and his very first spring practice preparation, Kirby Smart somehow found the time to show up for a friendly chat with the folks in the Georgia General Assembly.
- In the midst of a typically contentious session, members of the Georgia General Assembly found the time to ask what could be done to help the Georgia football program.
- Kirby Smart casually mentioned that Nick Saban has an easier time of responding to open records requests but didn’t make a big deal of it, even though he’s described as “the key influence to members of the General Assembly deciding to act”.
- Just as casually, Georgia legislators tacked an amendment on to an existing bill that gives Butts-Mehre unprecedented scope in responding to open records requests in the future.
- Even though the bill’s scope clearly exceeds the stated nonsensical goal of protecting recruiting secrets, neither Georgia’s athletic director nor its president had anything to do with it.
Georgia wasn’t acting like it was such a small thing when it pushed for this, so why should we believe it’s a small thing now that it exists?