Athens – Another interesting day on the Dogs beat.
I went to the Tate Student Center – great building, by the way – to hear Michael Adams present his “campus budget update” to faculty, staff and students. The UGA president outlined the state’s and school’s dire budgetary challenges, revealed the six dates UGA employees will take unpaid furlough days (Oct. 30, Nov. 25, Dec. 24, Jan. 4, March 8 and April 30), and said afterward the Athletic Association will be a full participant in the furloughs. Details here.
From an athletics perspective – this is, after all, a sports blog – the bottom line is:
– Six unpaid days off for all Athletic Association employees, including coaches.
– Some flexibility on when those days are taken, so the coaches can coach and the necessary support staff can provide support when the teams are playing or practicing, then take alternative days off within the same calendar month.
– Six days in which the Athletic Association offices will basically shut down.
And this will be an interesting situation to watch: Workaholic coaches are going to be ordered not to work on their furlough days.
Adams was clear on that last point, saying: “By Regents’ policy, furloughed employees are not to report to work or do work on behalf of UGA on furloughed days.” Asked later if he can imagine offensive-line coach Stacy Searels taking a day off in mid-season, tackle Clint Boling said with a laugh: “I wish. But I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Of course, in the interest of context, we should note that the impact on athletics is a tiny, tiny piece of the budget/furlough story.
“The University of Georgia has gone through some really tough challenges in the last 220-plus years or so,” Adams said near the end of his address in the Tate theater. “We’ve survived wars and plague and pestilence and all sorts of things, and we will get through this. We’ll come out, I believe, leaner and cleaner. I hope we are not leaner and meaner.
“But with the exception of the post-World War I Great Depression, this is clearly one of those economic times you will look back and talk to your children and grandchildren about. . . . I am certain that, a year or two years or five years from now, we will look back at this as a serious bump in the road but one we survived and managed and learned from.”
A couple of other things of note from yesterday:
– The men’s basketball schedule is finally set. (Full schedule here.) Mark Fox’s first season as the Dogs’ coach will be a test, to say the least.
There are five non-SEC games against teams from power conferences, only one of those in Stegeman Coliseum (Jan. 5 vs. Georgia Tech). The others are: vs. Illinois (Big Ten) at Gwinnett Arena, vs. St. John’s (Big East) in New York’s Madison Square Garden, at Virginia Tech (ACC) and at Missouri (Big 12).
Plus, there are home game against Rick Majerus-coached St. Louis of the Atlantic 10 (Dec. 2) and against Pepperdine (Dec. 30).
The SEC schedule opens on Jan. 9 at Kentucky, which, as you know, also has a new coach (John Calipari).
– And finally, at football practice, Chris Davis was working at center with Ben Jones sidelined by the ankle injury sustained the day before. Still not known how long Jones will be out. More here.