Category Archives: Political Wankery

Race to the bottom

Nathan Deal is all in on Senate Bill 323.

Our AJC colleague Dan Chapman asked him Wednesday why he signed Senate Bill 323, which allows the athletic departments at UGA, Georgia Tech and other state colleges to wait 90 days before responding to Open Records Act requests. Athletic associations, like all state agencies, previously had three days to acknowledge the requests.

“The members of the General Assembly felt that that was necessary and I’m sure Greg and you have already tried to figure out how long it takes for the University of Alabama to respond to similar inquiries already being made of the University of Georgia as well,” he told Chapman. “We’ll see how long it takes you to get a response from them.”

I never thought I’d see the day when the overriding goal of my state government would be for this state to become more like Alabama.  Or that most people would think that was swell.  Maybe we ought to scour their books for a few more ideas.


Filed under Political Wankery, Whoa, oh, Alabama

It’s not Kirby’s Law: today’s lesson in civics

If you want to get a taste of what’s really behind Georgia’s new Open Records law (hint:  it ain’t recrootin’), start by taking a look at this Jon Solomon piece about the money spent by schools on search firms when they replace head coaches.

At Georgia, after Mark Richt was fired, there was little doubt who the Bulldogs had pegged at No. 1: Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Georgia paid $42,175 to CarrSports Consulting for Bill Carr’s help in the search.

Carr didn’t act as an intermediary for Georgia and didn’t contact anyone connected with Smart, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. Instead, McGarity said Carr helped by talking with him on the phone and meeting in Atlanta for multiple days to discuss every facet of the search.

“You talk about strengths and weaknesses of a number of candidates,” McGarity said. “You look at things as simple as YouTube videos. How does an individual handle a tough situation? Are they able to be an effective communicator? Some candidates have a lot more available online than others. With the ability to search and take the time necessary to do that, you have so many more tools at your disposal that can help elevate candidates or dismiss candidates.”

McGarity said Carr helped in case Georgia had “blind spots” when discussing candidates. He also helped prepare the Bulldogs for the transition of a new staff.

“In some ways, we had been operating for 15 years in one way,” McGarity said. “So having someone assist in that transition period on what we should expect and how we should approach certain things administratively was extremely beneficial to us as a staff.”

“Ah,” you say.  “Bluto, it’s been more than ninety days since Kirby Smart was hired.  Wouldn’t this information be available now, even under the new law?”

It would.  But look what you’re getting at this point –  a fairly dry assessment of McGarity’s management decision that’s placed in the general context of how every school handles this.  What’s lost now is the context of judging McGarity’s comment at the time of Richt’s presser that he intended to retain a search firm going forward.

As we know, that was a complete load of crap.  McGarity spoke to Carr in mid-October.  The reality was that Kirby Smart was the man he wanted from the beginning; any preference to conduct a patient search to hire Smart went out the window when word leaked that South Carolina was talking with him about that head coaching job.

Now none of this is exactly a serious threat to the American way of life, certainly, but it is an indication of how Georgia’s athletic department goes about its business. Except that ninety days out, our impression of the contradictions in McGarity’s statement loses the impact of immediacy.  Which is what he wants, and, with the benefit of the new law, gets.

Maybe that doesn’t matter to you.  Maybe it goes out in the wash when Georgia wins the SEC this season.  But if you’re somebody like me who’s shaken his head over the years about the way Butts-Mehre operates and how that’s had an impact on the performance of Georgia athletics, it’s not exactly a cause for celebration.  If it would help to see this in a more graphic way, try to imagine how Michael Adams would have operated had this new law been in place two decades ago.  Yeah, me, too.


Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

Nick Saban never had a law named after him.

Raise your hand if you thought an early distraction in Kirby Smart’s career would be him spending time denying his role in the passage of a state law on records disclosure.


Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

Don’t cross the streams.

The most inevitable thing you’ll see today about Georgia football…

… has nothing to do with, you know, football.


UPDATE:  Okay, the second-most inevitable thing you’ll see today about Georgia football. Here’s your new champ.

I’m sure somebody can explain how this helps recruiting.



Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

Today, in great moments in journalism

Okay, it may not be Woodward and Bernstein, but, honestly, you’ve gotta give Marc Weiszer a major tip of the cap for using an open records request to get the details on Kirby Smart’s day lobbying the state legislature to change the open records law.  I love it.


Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

Casey Cagle’s dream is now a reality.

You can almost see those championship trophies lining the wall in Butts-Mehre now, can’t you?

Georgia’s public college athletic associations now have far more time to respond to open records requests under legislation signed into law Monday by Gov. Nathan Deal despite an uproar from First Amendment advocates.

The legislation, Senate Bill 323, allows the athletic departments at UGA, Georgia Tech and other state colleges to wait 90 days before responding to Open Records Act requests. Athletic associations, like all state agencies, previously had three days to acknowledge the requests.

Deal’s office did not immediately comment on his decision to sign the legislation.

Thereby proving that Deal is the only smart one in the bunch on this.


Filed under Political Wankery

I’m Greg McGarity, and I approved this message.

Dear Friends,

As a long time member of the Georgia House of Representatives, I have been a tireless supporter of University of Georgia athletics, both because I know for many of you it’s the only part of our state’s secondary education infrastructure to which you pay attention and because I believe it is crucial for us to play on the same field as Alabama and everybody else.

That is why I helped lead the charge for the passage of Senate Bill 323 in the just ended legislative session.  The bill, which awaits Governor Deal’s signature, is vital to our state’s interests because, in the words of Sen. Cowsert’s chief of staff, “It had to do with football teams or athletic departments that are recruiting people in state of Georgia. They had a (shorter) window where the documents were not yet public, but other states had 90 days.”

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of the Nick Sabans of the world coming into our fair state, hiding under cover of their Open Records laws and stealing our local talent away to play for championships that our beloved Dawgs are being denied because of some legal technicality that gives these other SEC programs access to important information about which high school players may be under consideration for the opportunity to wear the red and black.  I may be a longtime conservative Republican who believes the concept of limited government as envisioned by the Founding Fathers to be sacred, but Thomas Jefferson never had to recruit a coveted five-star quarterback.

I write to each and every one of you today because while SB 323 represents a big step forward, our work is not yet done.  Just yesterday, I read the sports section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and discovered that the newspaper is still disclosing what should be confidential information about certain recruits whom Kirby Smart may (I emphasize the word “may” there because I don’t want to tip Kirby’s hand, of course) be pursuing.  I mean, really, do we want Butch Jones to know that Cartersville five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence has a scheduling conflict in his choice to attend either Georgia’s or Tennessee’s spring game?  I think not.

Clearly, there is more work to be done.  And that’s why I need your help.  More to the point, that’s why Kirby Smart needs your help.  Whatever you can provide – financial contributions, suggestions on new legislation that would stop this information from crippling our recruiting, urging your state legislator to support this mission – would be deeply appreciated.  It’s very important that we hear from you.

As the Lieutenant Governor said at the time of the bill’s passage, “I hope it brings us a national championship.”  We deserve no less.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Very truly yours and Go, Dawgs!

Rep. Earl Ehrhart




Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery, Recruiting