The Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors met on Tuesday, and as usual there’s some news:
Mark Richt has navigated some difficult seasons to produce back-to-back SEC East champions, and his compensation has been increased by about $400,000 to $3.2 million as a result. The raise is appropriate – it’s enough to acknowledge the performance of the program over the past two seasons, but it also doesn’t go crazy and put Georgia at the bleeding edge of SEC (and national) salaries.
Richt might consider passing on some of his raise to one of his former players. Shawn Williams’ role in the 2012 turnaround continues to get praise from no less than Richt’s boss. “Kentucky was a tough, tough game,” said athletics director Greg McGarity. “And then Shawn Williams stepped in, and made a few comments, and it just kind of seem to turn the tide….He’s one of my favorite players of all time.”
Richt and his staff now have the job of making the changes brought on by Williams’ leadership a lasting part of the program rather than a one-off push as the finish to the 2007 season turned out to be. There was no news concerning adjustments for the assistants, but AD Greg McGarity expects to discuss that with Richt soon.
Student attendence has been an issue since the 2011 season, and the school took steps in 2012 to rework the priority system and get tickets into the hands of students who wanted to come to games. But it was clear that the student section was just too large to begin with, and that’s been addressed now.
Georgia will take 2,000 student tickets and set them aside for a new “Young Alumni Program” designed to get recent alums (within the past five years) on the road to becoming renewable season ticket holders. The young alums will have no donation requirement the first year they buy tickets. This is similar to a program that was available when I graduated in the 1990s that subsidized the required donation for the first couple of years, but I guess that program had been ended at some point.
Anyway, this is a win all around. The student section gets reduced to about 16,000 seats (though, on average, fewer than 12,000 students have attended each game since 2009.) The school now has a way to reach out to the next generation of season ticket holders for whom the initial donation might’ve made the leap from student tickets to season tickets too steep. And though the school misses out on an initial donation from these recent alums, it still receives full face value for those tickets. The school will receive $448,000 a year in additional revenue (assuming a seven-game home schedule) by selling these 2,000 tickets at $40 face value rather than selling them to students at $8 per game.
Also of note
Fans visiting Foley Field this year will see welcome improvements to the facility even if a more ambitious overhaul or replacement is still needed down the road. The athletic department also boasts a stable and strong financial position, and the news is also positive on the academic front.