Athens — Interesting meeting of the UGA Athletic Association board of directors on Wednesday.
The big news was the board’s approval of a recommendation by AD Damon Evans to keep the Georgia-Florida football game in Jacksonville through 2016. Basically, the decision not to mess with the game’s 75-year tradition came down to the fact that there wasn’t a clear, compelling, irrefutable reason to move it out of Jacksonville. Or, as UGA President Michael Adams put it: “I think there would have to be overwhelming reasons and overwhelming sentiment to change.” And there weren’t. The reason cited by some -– Georgia’s 3-16 record in the past 19 meetings with the Gators –- was rejected by Evans and, ultimately, the board. “I’m not a believer we are losing the game because we are playing down in Jacksonville, Fla.,” Evans told the board. “I truly believe our team can beat anybody anywhere.” Evans added later that he has studied the records of the series. “The thing I see,” he said, “is that we’ve had success in Jacksonville. In fact, we’ve had more success there than Florida.” Just not in the past two decades. Anyway, here’s my full story on the decision.
Oh, and Mark Richt’s reaction was interesting, too: He didn’t say much. That story is here.
The board also approved spending $1.9 million for design work on a couple of interesting projects: an expansion and total renovation of the concourses at Stegeman Coliseum and the addition of a multi-purpose amenities area behind the north stands of Sanford Stadium.
The idea for Stegeman basically is to move out the outer walls to the point where the roof ends its overhang of the current structure, adding 10,000 square feet of concourse space and what Evans calls a “wow” factor to the 45-year-old coliseum. The number of restrooms and concessions areas would be sharply increased, and the building would be modernized with a glass façade.
The idea for Sanford Stadium is to create a plaza with concessions areas, restrooms and other amenities behind the north stands (in the “Reed Alley” area between the stadium and Reed Hall). The entrances to the plaza would be configured so that it is part of the stadium on game days but accessible from campus on other days.
If design and financing plans come together, Evans expects to go back to the board this winter and ask for approval to proceed with the projects. He’d like for the Stegeman project to be completed by the start of the 2010-11 basketball and gymnastics seasons and for the Sanford project to be completed by the start of the 2010 football season.
You like these ideas?