Can UGA sit out an SEC arms race?

Greg McGarity doesn't like the new deregulated NCAA approach to recruiting. (University of Georgia)

Greg McGarity doesn't like the new deregulated NCAA approach to recruiting. (University of Georgia)

There’ve been some interesting discussions recently about the brave new world of college football that may result from the NCAA throwing out part of its rule book, and how Greg McGarity and UGA appear reluctant to follow the trail being blazed by Nick Saban at Alabama.

Even before the recent NCAA move, Saban was already lapping everyone else in terms of exploiting every legal avenue toward establishing an advantage for his Crimson Tide program, getting around the limitations on the number of assistants a school can have on its coaching staff by hiring off-field “analysts.”

Then, in January, the NCAA’s university presidents decided that in an age of texting and social media some of the rules governing recruiting had become pretty much impossible to enforce, so they passed legislation to eliminate a bunch of restrictions. Under the legislation, due to take effect July 1, not only can coaches and anyone else at a school have pretty much unlimited contact via phone calls and text messages with recruits, schools also can add as many full-time recruiters to their athletic staffs as they want and can afford.

Typically, Bama has already jumped on this, hiring former Clemson defensive coordinator and Baylor head coach Kevin Steele as director of player personnel, with his main job being to direct the Tide’s recruiting efforts. Alabama also hired a high school coach as director of player development.

Other programs that can afford to follow Bama’s rich-get-richer template no doubt soon will be staffing up on the recruiting side, but some schools are balking. Big 10 coaches and athletic directors came out last week against key parts of the legislation, expressing “serious concerns” whether the plan is “in the best interest of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches.” Their statement added: “We are also concerned about the adverse effect they would have on college coaches, administrators and university resources.”

Philosophically, UGA has come down on the side of the Big 10, with McGarity telling the New York Times he fears the new rules will lead to something akin to an athletic arms race among the bigger programs. “Some school is going to want to get on the high dive with this and go all in and spend and spend,” McGarity said. “It is going to start a round of competition among schools that is going to be limitless.”

Nick Saban pushes the envelope ... and gets results. (Associated Press)

Nick Saban pushes the envelope ... and gets results. (Associated Press)

You can read “some school” as “Alabama” in that quote.

McGarity told the Times he’s talked with other SEC athletic directors who are opposed to the legislation and he hopes to engineer a conference vote to override the new rules. Opponents of the legislation have until March 20 to gather 75 votes from presidents of Division I universities in order to initiate such an override.

Outgoing UGA President Michael Adams agrees with McGarity. Talking with the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer recently, Adams raised some legitimate concerns about the impact the new rules could have on recruits.

“I think some deregulation on the most ridiculous rules was needed,” Adams said. “But a lot of those rules have been put there because of how competitive coaches are. I don’t know if you ever have a perfectly level playing field, quote-unquote. But I worry about a student-athlete being bombarded in high school, particularly some who need to spend time studying instead of responding to 100 emails per day. All of this is a balancing act, and the pendulum can swing too much in one direction — which it probably had, with some ridiculous rules. But it doesn’t need to swing all the way back to the other side, or we will hurt student-athletes in the process.”

Adams isn’t alone in fearing the new rules will result in the complete harassment of high school kids, as well as massive growth in football staffs at places like Alabama.

But what’s ironic about UGA’s opposition to the deregulation of recruiting and the potential ballooning of athletic staffs is that Georgia is one of the schools that can afford to keep pace with Alabama. As we’ve discussed previously, UGA has one of the most profitable athletic programs in the country and yet ranks in the middle of the SEC in spending. As a result McGarity and company are sitting on a reserve fund of nearly $70 million.

I’ve heard from quite a few fans in recent months who worry that Georgia isn’t keeping up with Saban and Co., and I share that concern.

While I agree that allowing unlimited contact with high school recruits isn’t a good idea, I think the UGA brain trust needs to recognize and react to the fact that, no matter whether these new rules stick or not, they’ve got to be more aggressive and spend more or they’re going to find Saban owns recruiting in this state.

UGA has to step up and play the game. Even without the unlimited-contact rule that might necessitate giant recruiting staffs, Georgia needs to take a page out of Saban’s book and start hiring some off-field quality-control analysts or consultants.

Already last year, the school hired veteran high school coach Daryl Jones as director of on-campus recruiting and, with the departure of recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner, appears content to let him run recruiting instead of putting a member of the coaching staff in charge.

But there are other areas that cry out for additional staffing. As I wrote back in early August, special teams seems ripe for some sort of creative approach like Saban’s, since Mark Richt is loathe to devote one of his precious on-field coaching spots to that crucial aspect of the game.

Why not hire someone like Kevin Butler to analyze video of placekicker Marshall Morgan every day and tell the kid what he needs to work on? It’s allowable under the current rules, as Saban has shown, and it’s needed.

What good is sitting on a $70 million surplus if the conference leader is establishing a new level of excellence that you refuse to reach for?

POOCH KICKS

Hot Dawg Delight. (from Mark Richt's Twitter feed)

Hot Dawg Delight. (from Mark Richt's Twitter feed)

Tuesday’s belated signing of another big defensive lineman in four-star recruit Toby Johnson is a great way for Richt to cap off his largest recruiting class ever. It’s time to quit harping on the ones that got away and instead appreciate the talented group of 33 players who’ve decided to play ball in Athens. … And while we’re appreciating the players we have, check out the the piece CBSSports.com columnist Dennis Dodd did about UGA quarterback Aaron Murray, whose remarkable work ethic is likely to have him leaving UGA owning most of the school’s and the conference’s passing records. … I joined my brothers and daughter for lunch Sunday at Herschel Walker’s new restaurant in downtown Athens, where peak time waits of 35-plus minutes for a table are still the norm. I’d say the menu and service need a little tweaking, but overall the food was tasty and well-prepared and we enjoyed the experience tremendously. Loran Smith takes a look at Walker’s evolution from Heisman winner to big-time businessman in his latest Athens Banner-Herald column. … And while I wouldn’t recommend Herschel add this to his menu, I was amused by Mark Richt’s tweets earlier this week about his birthday treat: a Hot Dawg Delight, which he explained is toasted bread, cooked hot dogs, melted cheese, baked beans and ketchup. “Mmm Mmm Good,” the coach said. I’m not sure that’s anything I’d want to tackle, but my indefatigable brother Jon noted: “He forgot the coleslaw on top!”

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167 comments Add your comment

Michael Reed

February 20th, 2013
10:06 am

I would rather be a program that cares about doing the right thing for student athletes rather than just winning at all costs. UGA is on the verge of a national championship I fully believe that. Bama is ALWAYS one step away from a whistle blower or disgruntled recruit sending them into serious sanctions. UGA needs to only keep upgrading facilities across the board. A full indoor practice facility as a MUST as soon as possible. UGA can afford it and I guardsmen recruits notice we don’t have one.

Michael Reed

February 20th, 2013
10:07 am

guardsmen was meant as guarantee…..

DawgLink

February 20th, 2013
10:10 am

It is really about the dollars. UGA has them, so let’s spend them on more recruiters. Hines Ward and Herschel Walker stock in my mind as 2 quality recruiters.

Columbus Dawg

February 20th, 2013
10:13 am

Saban has NEVER been able to win without tilting the tables his way. He has to have an unethical advantage. He has always done it in more ways than one . Alabama is in the top cheating schools of all time. Anything to win. Richt proved he could coach against Saban in the SECCG. (Except for having called all his time outs in the third quarter). I DO hope the Dawgs get another chance at him in December. I hope one of our new Bad Dawg defensive players takes the crybaby Alabama QB out this time around.

GATA= Get After That @ss

February 20th, 2013
10:15 am

Spell check will get you every time

SimpleDawg

February 20th, 2013
10:18 am

We definitely need to take advantage of expanding the ability to “coach” players through off-field consultants…..it would be stupid not to do so.

I do not believe there should be unlimited contact with high school players. In 90% of the cases, the contact load would be very detrimental to a student’s ability to function as a high school student, and would also reinforce/increase the annoying drama and theatrics involved in recruiting.

UGA does need to use it’s considerable financial prowess to enhance and improve it’s ability to compete on any level and with all rivals.

Sic ‘Em

Sam

February 20th, 2013
10:29 am

Maybe the recruits will just stop reading the emails after the first few? Or put a block on the ones they do not want to hear from. Technology can assist them in managing the deluge.

Buckeye

February 20th, 2013
10:46 am

Whaddup with the old format?

Gene

February 20th, 2013
10:47 am

Saban is smart and unprincipled. As long as he has unlimited resources and no administration constraints, it will be difficult for any school to outrecruit him or beat him on the field.

Twilb Dawg

February 20th, 2013
10:56 am

It does concern me that the UGA Athletic Assoc does not seem as willing as other schools to spend…

RTR22

February 20th, 2013
10:59 am

Columbus Dawg, go to the NCAA website and check on major infractions. Your pristine JAWJA is NUMBER 2 with SIX, ONE behind AWBARN. Get your facts straight IDIOT. Go ahead big boy look up the FACTS and spin it the dawg way……. LOSERS…….woof woof woof and no bite.

The Truth

February 20th, 2013
10:59 am

Schools like GA Tech will cheat every day. Changing the rules helps the honest schools compete with the cheating schools. The cheating schools would use unlimited phone calls and texting everyday. Even though it was against the rules.

GA Tech Lies & Cheats & Everyone knows it. Everyone! Tech fans are a big joke supporting this lying and cheating.

GTBob

February 20th, 2013
11:00 am

Ah, this is cute. UGA, a team that is pretty shady themselves is getting mad at a team that is even more shady and having much better results. If UGA wants to start a clean program, where they aren’t signing players with questionable college attributes, running off players every couple of years, and telling recruits that their coaches will certainly be there when they might not then that would be great. I would applaud UGA in their efforts to become a true college program. As for now though, don’t get mad at other shady programs just because they are doing it better than you are.

GTBob

February 20th, 2013
11:01 am

Schools like GA Tech will cheat every day.

How exactly do we cheat again? If we are cheating then we are really bad at it.

WDE

February 20th, 2013
11:01 am

This will be a nightmare for the families of the recruits wait and see.

Come on now...

February 20th, 2013
11:04 am

HAHAHA. It truly is hilarious to hear bulldog fans talk about how Georgia “does the right thing” and how being a part of a program that does what they do for the good of their student athletes is a bigger deal than winning. Give me a break. If that was the case, they wouldnt put up with and make excuses for all the thugs and future criminals that they sign. It’s just like Tech and Georgia (apart from the larger difference in program strength). Tech wines about, makes fun of, and “rises above” by having a cleaner program overall, but you (and I as a tech fan) know that we would gladly give that up to an extent to have a better program that competes at a higher level.

UGA fans, it’s the pot calling the kettle black talking about cheating, because you do it too, and would do it more if you could get away with it to beat Alabama. Stop being sore losers and acting like your notoriously corrupt players (which leads back to the administration in my opinion) are any better than Alabama’s.

As for the rule change being discussed, I thinks it’s a horrible idea. The recruiting is already enough of a circus as it is.

WDE

February 20th, 2013
11:06 am

GTBob the NCAA didn’t put your bunch on probation for your good looks and winning personalities..it was because you cheat and obstruct.Shady programs?? pot meet kettle..

GR

February 20th, 2013
11:07 am

THE NCAA does not now, nor has it in a long time, cared one little bit about the “student athletes”.
Justice is a word in the dictionary. The rules they make or change have nothing what soever to do with what is best for a kid.

It is best for their ego and/ or pocket books.

realitycheck

February 20th, 2013
11:07 am

Columbus Dawg……..Your facts are way off you old bitter redneck. Enjoy sitting in the grandstand in Daytona this weekend! 33 years and 5 yards……LOL!

Max Sizemore

February 20th, 2013
11:08 am

OK, I get it that “unlimited contact” with high school players is not a good thing. For anyone. But, what is the alternative? The current rules are unrealistic and too difficult to enforce. So, for all you critics out there, was is the solution?

Hey, Bill, if you eat that kind of food too often you might not be around for as long as we’d like. Just sayin’. I have some broccoli you might be interested in.

WDE

February 20th, 2013
11:18 am

Max Sizemore the only solution I can see is allow a player to commit/sign earlier and unless there is a coaching change and STAY committed ie sign on the dotted line and that is it unless there is a coaching change before you start school and the player wishes to go elsewhere..

ugab

February 20th, 2013
11:22 am

Looks like the dawgs are a few steps behind Saban. Saban is not breaking the rules. He is taking advantage of what the rules allow. Saban is using theses rules to his advantage. Why isn’t CMR on top of the rules? Is he not paid enough? How many years have we needed a special teams coach? How many years did we need more strength and conditioning? How many years are we always not on top of recruiting our needs, especially on the OLs and DLs? We are not hearing that next year Saban will need to rebuild his Defense. His defense has plenty of depth. His OL has plenty of depth. We know he has plenty of RBs!!!!(kamara)

ugab

February 20th, 2013
11:26 am

Spend some $ and compete with Alabama!!!

GTBob

February 20th, 2013
11:29 am

GTBob the NCAA didn’t put your bunch on probation for your good looks and winning personalities..it was because you cheat and obstruct.

They put us on probation because DRad felt like telling CPJ something he wasn’t allowed to tell. If you consider that cheating, and something that gave GT a competitive advantage in football games then good for you. Even the NCAA didn’t make that claim.

SEC Fact Finder

February 20th, 2013
11:36 am

The comments by some on here are just off the chart with bias opinions and made up facts.

Like; “Bama is ALWAYS one step away from a whistle blower or disgruntled recruit sending them into serious sanctions.”……That can be said about any school including UGA.

“Saban has NEVER been able to win without tilting the tables his way. He has to have an unethical advantage. He has always done it in more ways than one . Alabama is in the top cheating schools of all time”…….another made up fact, that just reeks of pathetic lies and hurt feelings. How many times has Saban been placed under review by the NCAA? The Book Scandal at UA started under Shula and was stopped under Saban. Zero, that is the answer.

“Saban is smart and unprincipled. As long as he has unlimited resources and no administration constraints, it will be difficult for any school to outrecruit him or beat him on the field.” Glad you think you know how the UA Adminstration works and glad ot know you have a full understanding of the inner workings of the Capston.

All schools have issues, the decision made by each school directly reflects the committment to their athletic successes.

SEC Fact Finder

February 20th, 2013
11:37 am

“Capstone”

Columbus Dawg

February 20th, 2013
11:37 am

I can not believe that an ignorant Alabama D.A. is on a blog on an Atlanta GEORGIA newspaper blog calling someone a redneck. When have any of you backwards moron Bama idiots EVER seen a year where the University of Georgia Bulldog Football Team was not eligible for post season play, or not eligible to play it’s games on television. Not one. The University of Alabama Football Team however, due to NCAA infractions, were banned for post season play for the 1995, 2002, and 2003 seasons. Hey Bama, we ain’t skeered, and hope to see you soon.

Class of '98

February 20th, 2013
11:38 am

The gnashing of teeth over what Saban does at UA is pointless. They beat us by five points and five yards, and if the game were played a hundred times, UGA would have won half of them, if not more.

Stop panicking, Bulldog Nation, our time will come.

Columbus Dawg

February 20th, 2013
11:44 am

I almost forgot to mention that the Prez of the joke institution “NCAA”, Emmert is an old friend of Saban’s, but that probably has nothing to do with it. Bama and Auburn are cheaters and the state of Alabama is the biggest joke of the UNITED STATES. If you were going to give the United States an enema, you would have to go in through Alabama.

Buckeye

February 20th, 2013
11:46 am

class of 98,

Another classic example of dog delusions. 350 on the ground didn’t help the cause.

WDE

February 20th, 2013
11:47 am

GTBob we do consider that cheating and so does the NCAA hence the probation…thanks for playing!

WDE

February 20th, 2013
11:53 am

Buckeye speaking of classic example of delusions tell us again how your bunch would have won the NC if you could just have gone to a bowl game this year?? And are your bunch going to be allowed a bowl game this year or are you in time out till the 2014 season?

Come on now...

February 20th, 2013
11:54 am

Class of ‘98…

Yall have been saying that for over 30 years!

Bill King

February 20th, 2013
11:56 am

Max Sizemore:

Thanks for the concern, but it was Mark Richt who ate the Hot Dawg Delight, not me!

Vampire Bill

February 20th, 2013
11:57 am

I do like the idea of off field consultants and the place kicker point made earlier is an excellent example. Love to see our incredible Alumni NFL.ers working closely with the current Dawgs.

Under The Bleachers

February 20th, 2013
11:59 am

Columbus Dawg

February 20th, 2013
11:37 am
I can not believe that an ignorant Alabama D.A. is on a blog on an Atlanta GEORGIA newspaper blog calling someone a redneck. When have any of you backwards moron Bama idiots EVER seen a year where the University of Georgia Bulldog Football Team was not eligible for post season play, or not eligible to play it’s games on television. Not one. The University of Alabama Football Team however, due to NCAA infractions, were banned for post season play for the 1995, 2002, and 2003 seasons. Hey Bama, we ain’t skeered, and hope to see you soon

Columbus Dawg

February 20th, 2013
11:44 am
I almost forgot to mention that the Prez of the joke institution “NCAA”, Emmert is an old friend of Saban’s, but that probably has nothing to do with it. Bama and Auburn are cheaters and the state of Alabama is the biggest joke of the UNITED STATES. If you were going to give the United States an enema, you would have to go in through Alabama.

Columbus Dawg comments……

__________________________________________________________

This coming from a guy who lives in the States Largest Cheating Cesspool. Sending kids to Athens for official visits who steal out of the Locker Room, student athletes riding around with serial numbers shaved off handguns, high school coaches who have been caught recruiting other high school players, the use of illegal players, known payoffs to high school coaches to steer players to certain schools, theft of county funds to support athletes…and on and on…..

Too bad your obsession with other schools such as Alabama leaves you stale to focus on your own issues. That is what “Victims” do, they make excuses while failing to pick themselves up/

__________________________________________________________________

Fan of College football

February 20th, 2013
12:00 pm

For Columbus Dawg>>15 National Championships umm How many does UGA have? Bizinga & BTW Wal Mart appreciates your business to purchase UGA items. Roll Tide & going for # 16 this year.. Those 5 yards you imbreds always whine about got your asses to a Sissy Bowl. So suck it up candy ass.

James

February 20th, 2013
12:02 pm

No, dude, what is ironic is that Georgia has tons of money, tons of talent but not NC’s. But I think you all have given up on that. Any other major SEC school, that would be an obsession.

You even supported a raise. The end of that SEC Champ game still bothers me, always will I suspect. Hated to even send in my contribution because I know as long as Richt is here, we will be good, but never champs.

JB

February 20th, 2013
12:03 pm

Hire extra help ay Georgia. You are kidding. Bobo has been making $350 a year for the last 3-4 years while the SEC is in the 500K to a million for the same job at other schools. The OC at Clemson…CLEMSON is a 1.3 mil per year. Dawgs are pretty cheap with the cash for some reason. Richt with a 750% winning percentage and the dean of SEC coach’s until a week ago was at about the bottom. VanGorder left after only being offered like a 10,000 dollar raise AFTER WINNING THE FRANK BROYLES award for nations best assit coach. Dawgs have always been cheap.

Columbus

February 20th, 2013
12:10 pm

As so many are forgetting, including columnists, the new coach Wilson is an experienced special teams coach so I would think that he would be the one who will now handle special teams coaching and/or managing other coaches who are coaching special teams….as far as kickers go, yeah they need special attention from a qualified coach or mentor-type

Bud

February 20th, 2013
12:10 pm

Should Nick Saban be banned from college football for his immoral and illegal behavior outside the football field. If Penn State was penalized should’nt Alabama be .

Class of '98

February 20th, 2013
12:11 pm

“Yall have been saying that for over 30 years!”

And it’s as true as ever.

I noticed you declined to state your allegiance. Probably because you root for a local Atlanta team who has beaten us once in about 13 years.

UGA89

February 20th, 2013
12:13 pm

I agree with the hiring of a ST coach and a new indoor facility but I’d also like to see improvements with Sanford Stadium. New flat screens at the concession stands and upgrades to the bathrooms!!!!

Class of '98

February 20th, 2013
12:13 pm

“you inbreds”

An Alabama fan accuses others of being inbreds? Harvey Updyke’s family tree is a straight line.

Bud

February 20th, 2013
12:14 pm

Is the rumor true that Steve Spurrier has hired Ray Golf as his new offensive coordinator?

Class of '98

February 20th, 2013
12:16 pm

“350 on the ground didn’t help the cause.”

I could come up with a clever retort if I had the slightest idea what this meant.

Isn’t Ohio State something like 0-for-14 against the SEC? The Arkansas game doesn’t count because the Suckeyes used ineligible players, and because, well, it was Arkansas.

Jim

February 20th, 2013
12:24 pm

IT DOESNOT MATTER! Even under existing rules, UGA significantly undersigns. Last year it was 17 and this year it was 5 that they undersigned. It would HELP, it UGA strapped it on and recruited to the max limit.

Come on now...

February 20th, 2013
12:24 pm

‘98,

I did state my allegiance, in my first post on the thread. Tech fan since the day I was born AND A GRADUATE (unlike the vast majority of your fans).

JB,

Although Clemson IS an ACC and much less high profile job than at UGA, it must be pointed out that he is probably being paid that much because he’s doing incredibly well at his job, unlike Grantham. If Grantham coached his players to the point of being worth $1.3 million per, you would have won that SEC championship game and subsequently the national title.

Tell the Truth

February 20th, 2013
12:26 pm

Does anybody know where Jan Kemp is these days?

Dirty Dawg

February 20th, 2013
12:27 pm

I think that the money would be better spent by hiring investigators to absolutely scour every Alabama ‘booster’s’ behavior…even the tree-killers…its bound to uncover a ton of crap…then just maybe the NCAA will castrate the bas$&ards. Of course the Tide would just form their own athletic association.