As Adams and McGarity pat themselves on the back for the way they’ve threaded the needle on Richt’s compensation, I can’t help but wonder something that I’ve wondered before. How much is Mark Richt motivated by incentive clauses? Does this sound like somebody who lives to squeeze every nickel he can out of life?
“I’m not gonna work any harder to get these guys graduated because of a bonus or because of a policy. My intention from the first day I got to Georgia is to do everything we possibly can to support these guys and motivate these guys and discipline these guys if need be to take care of their academic responsibilities. It doesn’t change the way we do anything.”
Not to these ears.
Indeed, this whole thing smacks of the NeSmith silliness from a few years ago. The truth is that this attention to incentives isn’t so much about motivating Richt as it is about making a goodly chunk of the fan base (including some who are involved in the decision-making process) feel better. That this kind of thinking has gone from mockworthy to being taken seriously says a lot more about us than it does about Richt, I’m afraid.
I’m not saying that to defend Richt. Westerdawg’s message board post about the coach having nobody to blame but himself for where fan support is now is spot on, in my opinion. But the idea that this new contract emphasis on performance incentives will be some sort of magic bullet that will spur Richt to higher levels of accomplishment is unserious thinking at its worst. I don’t know whether the source for that is Adams, McGarity or both, but if you’re a fan of the program, or of Georgia athletics in general, it should trouble you.
And speaking of Georgia athletics, McGarity’s announcement that David Perno’s continued employment at Georgia is not a matter in jeopardy (“It’s not even an issue.”) makes for an interesting juxtaposition here. Not in the decisions themselves – Richt’s dismissal isn’t even on the table after a successful 2011 season – but in the difference in the firmness displayed in the calls. Empires have risen and fallen in less time than it’s taking to put Richt’s new deal to bed, yet McGarity is able to affirm Perno’s status, despite increasingly shaky results, in the blink of an eye.
Groo’s linked post raises a good point.
It is, though, an attempt to understand the expectations that the athletic department has of the Georgia baseball program. McGarity will be held to his own rubric for evaluating coaches which includes this expectation: “Develop a program that is competitive in the SEC and nationally, understanding that the definition of ‘competitive’ is different from sport to sport.”
That’s what’s puzzling about McGarity’s statements about the state of the program. Over the long term, and that matters, Perno has taken Georgia to half of its College World Series.
All of which makes me wonder if there isn’t something of a double standard in play here. How would the fan base and, more importantly, how would Adams, McGarity and the Athletic Board feel today about Richt if his career in Athens had played out in the context of, say, a sixteen-team D-1 football playoff?
I believe I recently read that Georgia is one of only three SEC schools never to win a conference title in baseball. Given the way college baseball is structured these days, that’s close to an irrelevancy – just ask South Carolina – but can you imagine the hue and cry if that were the case with Georgia’s football program over the past decade or so? (In fact, it was the case in the nineties and you see where that got Goff and Donnan.)
We’re in a weird place, man.
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