Tech-Presbyterian game made at last minute

Presbyterian College built a weight room. Georgia Tech scheduled a football game. Ryan Bamford kept a pen.

The Yellow Jackets will play Presbyterian Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The end product of a frantic scheduling effort, it came about due to, among other things, ESPN’s wishes, the visiting team’s football scholarships and, as is the case with just about everything in college athletics, cash.

Said Bamford, an associate athletic director at Tech, “It was a lot of phone calls and locking myself in my office, trying to find somebody that fit.”

A year ago this time, the Jackets were scheduled to play Southeastern Louisiana in its 2012 season opener followed by Middle Tennessee State. During the season, ACC officials asked if Tech would have any interest in playing Virginia Tech in the league’s Labor Day game on ESPN.

Tech was not. The ACC came back later.

“And they said, ‘Look, ESPN really wants this game,’” Bamford said.

ESPN just started a contract with the league that will pay about $3.6 billion over 15 years. The network tends to get its way.

With that, Bamford, whose duties include scheduling football and men’s basketball games, had a new priority. The first two pieces were easy. Southeastern Louisiana, which had negotiated a $250,000 guarantee with Tech for the opener, was too happy to be released, as it could receive a bigger payday and eventually scheduled Missouri. Tech wanted to move Middle Tennessee State, scheduled for Sept. 8, out of that date because the Jackets didn’t want to play an FBS team on a short week of preparation. That game was re-scheduled for Sept. 29.

That left finding a new opponent for that date. One complicating detail was an NCAA rule that allows FBS teams to count one win over an FCS opponent towards its bowl eligibility only if that team gave out 90 percent of its maximum 63 scholarships over a rolling two-year period. Tech’s strong preference was to play such a team.  That eliminated schools such as Savannah State, which was interested and later was added to Florida State’s schedule.

“[Florida State] figured they’d get to the six wins (not including a win over Savannah State),” Bamford said. “We just didn’t want to take the risk if we didn’t have to.”

Bamford thought he had reached an agreement with Florida A&M and sent the school a memorandum of agreement. He got a call back saying the school was going to play Oklahoma instead.

Over about three weeks in February, Bamford estimated he and athletic director Dan Radakovich made 150 to 200 phone calls in search of an opponent. They consulted a scheduling database to see who had openings. Bamford talked often with ESPN officials and ACC associate commissioner Michael Kelly.

“There weren’t a lot of schools that had openings,” Bamford said. “The ones that did wanted a lot of money because it was late in the game.”

Using the database, Bamford called teams with Sept. 8 games, proposing switches for those teams and their opponents, and offering to help with buyout payments.

Late in the search, Presbyterian athletic director Brian Reese’s phone rang. The Blue Hose already had a game against Tennessee Tech and, moreover, were scheduled to play Vanderbilt the following week. At first, he was not interested. Bamford, though, got Reese’s attention with a $400,000 guarantee, which included money from the ACC. A day later, after consulting with coach Harold Nichols and school administration, Reese told Bamford he had a deal. He sweetened the deal with two games against the men’s basketball team.

Presbyterian recruits metro Atlanta heavily, has a sizeable alumni base there and wasn’t about to turn down $400,000. Over the summer, the athletic department built a $300,000 weight room for its student-athletes, a project that had been about five years down the road.

The deal was completed Feb. 23. The black Bic pen used to sign the contract sits on a shelf in Bamford’s office.

Said Bamford, “It worked itself out in the end, but, boy, those three or four weeks, it was crazy.”

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92 comments Add your comment

[...] Tech-Presbyterian game came together at last minute [...]

Paul in NH

September 5th, 2012
10:25 pm

TV dollars do seem to set the schedule in all major sports for colleges these days – I can guarantee that Duke-Carolina will be the last regular season ACC b’ball game from now until infinity.

Has ESPN told GT when the Miami game will start yet? Pearl Jam is playing the same day and it would be worth the trip to take my son to both.

FL Jacket

September 5th, 2012
10:28 pm

Paul, what’s the closest venue to NH? Boston?

Ken Sugiura

September 5th, 2012
10:29 pm

Paul in NH – not yet. it’s usually two sundays prior, if i’m not mistaken.

Paul in NH

September 5th, 2012
10:41 pm

FLJ – BC in Chestnut Hill is the closest to me. It’s about a 90 minute drive – traffic depending (we have a 1 word description of drivers from MA up here but I can’t put it in a blog post). GT plays up here next year.
The UNH Wildcats will be visiting Atlanta this year. It is only the 2nd most important sport up here – but they will beat GSU in their most important sport.

Paul in NH

September 5th, 2012
10:44 pm

Ken – Thanks for the reply. I wasn’t sure when they announce (I thought that the networks sometimes reserve the rights to move a game time the week before – assuming they have announced that it is being televised)

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 5th, 2012
10:47 pm

Good stuff, Ken. Thanks for all the interesting info.

Paul in NH

September 5th, 2012
10:50 pm

FLJ – If you were asking about major concert venues, Boston is the closest – although a number of “oldies acts” will play Laconia in the Summer. We’ve had Santana, Dylan and Chicago recently

FL Jacket

September 5th, 2012
10:51 pm

Paul, I watched the UNH strength coach on MVF Nation. I wish I knew where I could find poutin here in Florida!

Paul in NH

September 5th, 2012
11:02 pm

FLJ – I trust your cholesterol level is low. Your best shot at getting poutine is to go down to Lauderdale in January or February. That’s when all of the Quebecers go down there and they love that “heart attack in a dish”.

[...] Tech-Presbyterian game made at last minuteAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Presbyterian College built a weight room. Georgia Tech scheduled a football game. Ryan Bamford kept a pen. The Yellow Jackets will play Presbyterian Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The end product of a frantic scheduling effort, it came about due to, …Tech goes back to work on running gameAccess North GeorgiaGeorgia Tech goes back to work on running gameHouma CourierGeorgia Tech looks for answers from first gameMacon Telegraph (blog) [...]

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

September 5th, 2012
11:29 pm

Thanks Ken, interesting to know what goes on behind the scenes.

Despite the O struggles against VT, I thought Godhigh looked pretty good and Deon Hill as well. It was good to see Bostic making solid contributions too. Hope Perkins gets more cracks this week. If we can get a good lead early, I hope CPJ might consider alternating S Days and Vad the rest of the way.

GT Fan

September 6th, 2012
12:21 am

Thanks, Ken. Interesting stuff.

Jmonty

September 6th, 2012
7:29 am

Let’s see if “no show” Groh can manage to stop some lowly FCS school.

losers in bburg

September 6th, 2012
8:35 am

Pathetic pj doesn’t think they can beat middle tennessee on 5 days rest.

dawgfan

September 6th, 2012
8:48 am

All I’ve got to say after reading this is that any Techie who criticizes UGA for their schedule should not be allowed to vote, drive a vehicle or even obtain a fishing license. You are stupid beyond words and probably can’t chew gum and walk at the same time.

Thanks.

GTVegas

September 6th, 2012
9:08 am

dawgfan – I think, on the surface, it’s safe to say that neither team should criticize the other’s schedule. There are too many unknown factors that drive these things, not to mention the schedules are usually done well in advance of knowing who is good and who is not.

Ken Sugiura

September 6th, 2012
9:11 am

Paul – i stand corrected. most times come out two mondays before the game, but espn/acc can take the dreaded “six-day option” to hold back on determing the kickoff time.
i don’t think that it’s that he doesn’t think he can’t beat middle tennessee on five days, it’s just that he’d rather not take the risk if it’s unnecessary.
gr8 – a lot of the a-backs did some good things. mike degeorge in the sports information office came up with an interesting stat that i couldn’t fit into the notes – bostic made four first downs on seven touches, including his option pass, and three of them were on third or fourth down.

dawgfan

September 6th, 2012
9:33 am

“dawgfan – I think, on the surface, it’s safe to say that neither team should criticize the other’s schedule.”

Well I’m sorry but I disagree. We play in the SEC. You play in the ACC. Only delusional Tech fans think that is the same thing. Everyone else in the known freaking universe recognizes that the SEC is tougher. Also, we have demonstrated a willingness to play other BCS teams besides Tech out of conference. We even leave the state of Georgia to do it every once in a while. Your program has not demonstrated any willingness to play another BCS team besides UGA out of conference. While we’ve been manning up and going to Colorodo, Okie State and playing Top 5 Boise at the Dome, you’ve been sitting in the comfy confines of Bobby Dodd stadium padding the stats against the likes of Wofford and Presbyterian. Your coach is on record saying he wants no part of the Chick Fil A kickoff game. Your program has loaded up on nothing but patsies OOC for the past 4 or 5 years and then you clowns have the nerve to talk to us about playing Buffalo. The fact that Tech fans think they have any argument whatsoever with UGA fans on schedule strength is Exhibit “A” to how painfully clueless you are. It is beyond laughable.

Thanks.

[...] a right knee injury during …Georgia Tech goes back to work on running gameBoston HeraldTech-Presbyterian game made at last minuteAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Preview: Presbyterian Blue Hose at Georgia Tech Yellow [...]

just the truth

September 6th, 2012
10:13 am

I think someone needs to find a job or go back to school. A little too much time spent on the vents.

flabuzz

September 6th, 2012
10:19 am

The reason ESPN came back to GT the 2nd time was bec WVU dropped FSU and that was originally scheduled as the Labor Day game. That’s why FSU had to scramble top get Sav St,.

albanyjacket

September 6th, 2012
10:25 am

Dawgfan, in the past few years we have played MSU (SEC!~!) twice (and won)…a little before that we played Auburn (SEC!) twice, and won..also Vandy(SEC!) and won. This year we play BYU, and they are hardly a patsy. What are your out of confrence games this year?

GTBob

September 6th, 2012
10:28 am

Well I’m sorry but I disagree. We play in the SEC. You play in the ACC. Only delusional Tech fans think that is the same thing.

When you don’t play any of the good teams in the SEC you can’t really beat your chest about how tough your conference is. You guys may only play one ranked team this season and that team almost lost to Vandy. If all of your current starters quit right now you would probably still go undefeated.

albanyjacket

September 6th, 2012
10:31 am

Right on, GTBOB! The best team they will play all year is this week against Missouri, and they may well lose that one.

Paul in NH

September 6th, 2012
10:40 am

“Your program has not demonstrated any willingness to play another BCS team besides UGA out of conference”

Apart from Vandy and MSU – 2 teams from the oh so tough SEC.
Oh and Kansas – a team who beat the oh so tough Colorado Buffalos the same year that Colorado beat UGA

dawgfan

September 6th, 2012
10:54 am

“When you don’t play any of the good teams in the SEC you can’t really beat your chest about how tough your conference is.”

You must have been living in a cave when we played LSU just this past December clown. Oh, I know Bob they blew us out right? Well, when you play in a piece of crap conference where the champion loses to James Madision you can’t really pop off when UGA loses to the #1 team in the country now can you Bob? Plus, your ignorant post ignores the fact that we have no control over our conference schedule. None. Zilch. Nada. You just don’t like it that you can’t live vicariously through Bama and LSU. That’s all Techies have when it comes to UGA. Its all you’ve ever had. It is the most pathetic sight in all of the sporting world.

I’d love to see the Joke By Coke grow a pair and play TWO TOP 5 teams in the Dome like UGA did last year. We’d see if your coward punk football program could do any better. Georgia Tech football is all talk and no walk. What a disgrace.

Thanks.

macrotech

September 6th, 2012
11:18 am

dawgfan, we played one top 5 team last season….granted, it’s not two, but we won ours! We understand that uga doesn’t pick and choose who they play in conference…it doesn’t change the FACT that the past couple of seasons, y’all have avoided the teeth of the sec. USCe is the best team on your side of the conference, but because they had to play the tougher sec schedule, y’all landed in the sec championship game….THEN, y’all get waxed! YOU talk about Tech fans living vicariously through Bama and LSU….YOU live vicariously through the mighty ’sec’. In truth, most of us on the blogs are sad for you…not because you’re a uga fan…to each their own! But, because you have SUCH hatred in your heart that you’ve forgotten what sunshine looks like. We recognize that your misery is projected at us because these blogs give you the vehicle to do so without having to face anyone. I do believe that there is hope for you, though! After all, you ARE polite enough to say, “Thanks” after most of your post….you’re welcome!

GTBob

September 6th, 2012
11:19 am

You must have been living in a cave when we played LSU just this past December clown.

You mean when you were gift wrapped an SEC title appearance without winning a single difficult game? Yeah, I remember that. I am pretty sure we will see the same thing happen this year with a similar result in the title game. Must be nice to be able to skate by all the time.

GT Lee

September 6th, 2012
11:46 am

” I do believe that there is hope for you, though”

No there isn’t. dwagfan should just eat a 9mm bullet and get it over with.

GTVegas

September 6th, 2012
12:08 pm

dawgfan – I really should be kicking myself for trying to make a rational comment to someone with the moniker, dawgfan. You have made quite the fool of yourself and should really just go back to the deep fryer where you belong.

I really don’t know who I consider more stupid, dawgfan or myself for trying to respond to him with a rational, non-demeaning comment. Well, live and learn.

GTVegas

September 6th, 2012
12:10 pm

GT Lee, I am not sure dawgfan will understand your comment. It assumes that he understands the metric system.

GTville

September 6th, 2012
12:10 pm

I remember Bobby Bowden back at the beginning of his streak. BB said if you want to be the best, you have to play the best. As dawgfan stated our coach and AD are on the record very regularly stating they want to schedule easy opponents. I know at the end of the season everyone just looks at the WL record, but as a fan I would rather go see GT play big time opponents every week. Recruits would likely take GT more seriously too. To get respect, you need to earn respect. I will be in ATL this weekend for a rare visit, but will not commit my day and money to watch a team I have never heard of…where is Presbyterian…is it the church team?

GTville

September 6th, 2012
12:11 pm

Ken: Great article, you always find unique viewpoints to write about and it is interesting, so thank you.

5150 UOAD

September 6th, 2012
12:15 pm

dWagfan asked on the UGa blog IF there was ever ANY doubt they would beat BUFFALO…..I will say i asked IF THERE WAS ANY DOUBT LSU WOULD kill UGa dWags?

Wasting time....

September 6th, 2012
12:22 pm

Tech vs Presbyterian game is a waste of time and money! These games are silly….Fla States first two games…Murry st and Savannah state..Be real people. STOP THIS JUNK!

5150 UOAD

September 6th, 2012
12:22 pm

GTville WHO do you want us to PLAY?
with the upcoming 9 games ACC schedule UGa will be our only BIG OCC game probably.
Tech has tried to get many SEC teams over the years. Ole Miss backed out. We played Auburn. We played Miss St. We played VANDY. We have tried and tried to play the VOLS but that will not. We had BAMA but that game was moved to the late teens/early twenties(probably after Saban). Tell me WHO do you want us to play? TECH has tried and played big name schools. Did you forget Notre Dame?

dawg2

September 6th, 2012
12:27 pm

Don’t judge all dawg fans by the smart a@@ “dawgfan” remarks. I’m a UGA fan but also pull for GT..hope both teams kick a@@ till they play each other…then let the best team win.

Supersize that order, mutt

September 6th, 2012
12:39 pm

@ dwagfan…..I might remind you that the ONLY REASON you played LSU last year was because you backed into the SEC championship game by not having played ANYBODY worth a damn in the SEC during the REGULAR SEASON. That is obviously the luck of the draw in in-conference game rotation. But what OOC team did UGA play last season or this season that was better than the best OOC team Tech played (not counting Tech – UGA game)? Tech is playing BYU this year? Do you equate Buffalo or Florida Atlantic with BYU? If you do, then you are stupider than we thought.

GT Lee

September 6th, 2012
12:42 pm

GtVegas, hope the Black-and-Deckered finger is better. Maybe I should have said .45 hollow-point? If dwagfan is still clueless, I’d be happy to help. During my 6 years’ employment with Uncle Sam I did qualify as an expert marksman!

GT Lee

September 6th, 2012
12:44 pm

Supersize, your last comment should read that dwagfan is stu-stu-stu-stupider than we thought!

Vampire Bill

September 6th, 2012
12:49 pm

Presbyterian College ?? Isn’t that in Gwinnett County off of Sugarloaf ?

headley lamar

September 6th, 2012
12:52 pm

Gonna take alot of hotdogs to get people to show up for this one.

GT Lee

September 6th, 2012
1:02 pm

hedy lamar, dwagfan says he has a hotdog for you…..hope you like Vienna sausage

Supersize that order, mutt

September 6th, 2012
1:08 pm

@ Headless……after a very polite and classy remark after the game Monday night, I see you are back to your old ways. Why can’t you show class all the time?

Al Bundy

September 6th, 2012
1:10 pm

If Presbyterian watches the game film from the VT game we might lose. All they need to do is throw the ball to whoever Sweeting is covering. I’m still steaming over that game!

dawgfan get back to work… they need cleanup on aisle 3.

GT Lee

September 6th, 2012
1:19 pm

In other news

September 6th, 2012
1:26 pm

Presbyterian will have fun on the Flats!

GT Lee

September 6th, 2012
1:29 pm

” I’m still steaming over that game!”

Well just take it out on the next fat lady who needs a pair of shoes, Al….then again, you do still have 4 years eligibility left, right? What with you scoring 4 touchdowns in 1 game (Polk High) maybe you can help us out at B-Back…give ole CPJ a call and see what he says!

5150 UOAD

September 6th, 2012
1:33 pm

headley lamar
September 6th, 2012
12:52 pm

Gonna take alot of hotdogs to get people to show up for this one.
=================================================

I guess there were not enough hotdogs and cokes to fill the Septic Tank of the South in Athens for the buffalo game.