Larger salaries for basketball coaches, new engines for the athletic association’s airplane and contributing $2 million each of the next three years to the university to support academic programs. Those are all excellent ways for UGA’s athletic association to be spending some of the financial windfall that has resulted from an increase of $8.5 million in sports revenue thanks to the SEC’s new TV deal and the Bulldogs’ new media deal.
As detailed by the AJC’s Tim Tucker, that revenue boost also will pay for a lot of other items, including athletes’ scholarships, medical supplies and even new bulkheads in the swimming pool.
So while Damon Evans is in a generous mood, I thought I’d suggest one other possible use for some of that money: a group of 400-plus students who work long and hard supporting UGA’s football and basketball teams, are a big part of the Sanford Stadium game experience and have been known to play a role in victories as they get the crowd and team fired up. They also happen to be the Dogs’ most ardent and loudly heard fans.
I’m talking about the Redcoat Band, of course.
My brother Jon, a Redcoat alum, was telling me about how the band finally is getting its own dedicated practice field over at the Intramural Fields in Athens now that the club sports have moved out to a new facility off South Milledge Avenue. The university is taking care of grading the band’s new field, planting and irrigating the grass and installing the lights. But the Redcoats need to raise $1 million to build a teaching tower for rehearsals (which take up six to eight hours a week of the band members’ time), stands for viewing rehearsals and recruiting, and a building in which to store musical instruments and equipment. A “100 Yards for 100 Years” campaign has been launched, and you can contribute here.
But considering what a big part of the football program the Redcoats are, the athletic association ought to make one of the larger contributions to that campaign — if not the entire million bucks.
As the pregame chant goes, ain’t nothing finer in the land than the Georgia Redcoat marching band! The athletic association should see that it stays that way.