So I’m walking through the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Wednesday after my family and I had arrived from Milan, Italy, for our connecting flight back to Atlanta, and I’m wearing a Bulldogs T-shirt, as I’m known to do pretty regularly. As I pass another group of travelers, one of them looks at my shirt and proclaims with a smile in slightly accented English, “Georgia!”
A nice reminder that the borders of the Bulldog Nation reach farther than you might expect.
The night before, at our hotel in northern Italy’s beautiful lake district, we’d shared our dinner table with a woman who attended the University of Iowa and another from Ohio State. As one of them put it, “a Hawkeye, a Buckeye and four Bulldogs.” We had something in common with the Buckeye, though, because she’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and, in particular, a major admirer of Hines Ward. That made up for the fact that she initially thought we might be from the Illinois Decatur rather than the Georgia one.
Anyway, it was a wonderful trip and now I’m back and trying to catch up on what’s been happening on the UGA sports front, besides the seemingly never-ending discussion of Jacksonville or not.
A couple of items out of the meeting of SEC presidents and athletic directors in Destin, Fla., did catch my eye this morning and are worth commenting on.
The first is the proposed legislation that would cap the number of football signees an SEC school could sign at 30 (up from the original proposal’s 28). The presidents vote on that today. Schools already are limited to adding 25 signees to their rosters, but some schools lately have been signing considerably more than that (37 by Ole Miss and 32 by Arkansas), figuring that number will get reduced to 25 come August by nonqualifiers. Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said that allows him to build relationships with the junior colleges where the nonqualifying players are parked. But SEC commissioner Mike Slive is concerned the practice might get out of hand.
As long as the SEC presidents limit themselves to proposing such a change to the NCAA at large and don’t act unilaterally on this, it sounds like a good idea. But the conference doesn’t need to be adding restrictions that aren’t adopted by rival conferences.
Another legislative proposal mentioned by Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald was offered by Alabama. It would prevent an SEC school’s junior varsity team from playing a prep school or junior college that could have a prospective recruited athlete on it since the payouts from these games could influence the prep or junior school’s coach to encourage players to sign with that SEC school. It seems Tennessee and Kentucky still play JV games against the likes of Fork Union Military Academy and Hargrave Military Academy and subsequently have signed players from those teams.
The proposal sounds sensible, but the main point of interest to me was that the Vols and Wildcats still have JV teams, unlike UGA, which dropped JV play way back in the early 1990s. That set me to wondering if there’s anything to be gained by letting your scout team and bench players get more game experience in a JV outing and if perhaps Mark Richt ought to consider scheduling a couple of these games each year.
What do you think, should the Georgia Bullpups be revived?