Sprints Realizes that Firing Richt Won't Be Cheap // 10.08.10

GEORGIAPOCALYPSE

Greg McGarity speaks
The UGA Athletics Association's board met Thursday, and while there wasn't an agenda item about Mark Richt, you can probably figure out that the topic came up organically.

In McGarity's remarks to the board, the new athletic director said "we are expecting to see strong finishes" this season in football and the other fall sports. In an interview after the meeting, McGarity said he continues to receive e-mails and letters from a wide range of Georgia fans.

"You see a lot of individuals that absolutely want change. And then you see others that want change in certain ways. And very few that say, you know, ‘Mark Richt must go,'" McGarity said. "It's all over the map."

I find that remark to be very candid in this respect: Even though McGarity is almost certainly getting emails that say "Mark Richt must go," it's very odd for someone to actually voice the sentiment if the thought hasn't crossed his mind.

I'm not saying that McGarity is about to fire Richt or even seriously considering it, but it's obvious that he's hearing the criticism and willing to acknowledge the most serious option in an on-the-record interview. Higher education officials don't generally say something that specific and bottom-line to reporters; trust someone who's interviewed one of them as a reporter.

But, hey, practices were "lively and energetic" this week. So that makes everything better, right?

The financial aspect of Mark Richt's job security
As much as we as fans might hate to admit it, a lot of what drives all decisions in college football comes down to money: Will it make more financial sense to keep Richt amid a possible downturn in fan interest or let him go before things get too bad.

While the team's performance was mentioned only fleetingly during the meeting, and Richt's status not mentioned at all, there clearly could be financial implications if the season is not turned around.

Not that firing him would be cheap.

According to calculations by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Richt would be owed approximately $5 million if he were to be dismissed shortly after this season. ...

If the contract were terminated by UGA after this season, the longevity bonus due Richt would be $1.86 million, compared to the $3.12 million bonus he would receive for completing the deal.

So it would take almost $7 million to fire Richt. (By the way, if you're interested in this kind of stuff, the AJC article is worth a full read.) That makes it sound hard to fire Richt -- and it probably would be -- until you take into account the fact that tickets and donations linked to tickets totaled almost $40 million this year; a big enough dent to that total, and the $7 million might not be too bad a hit to take. (That doesn't account for the fact that much of that money would be due to Richt anyway.)

All of which doesn't make Richt completely safe, but does serve its intended purpose: Making sure that the administration thinks long and hard before pulling the plug.

OTHER NEWS

This does not sound encouraging
Urban Meyer's latest comment on the John Brantley injury saga.

He was limited mostly throwing, so we would have another guy go in there and throw the ball for him a little bit because his ribs were so sore, but he’s fine now.

You had to have "another guy" throw for him? What, exactly, did Brantley do? Run after the snap when Mike Pouncey missed again?

As for him being "fine now," one would hope. The game is scheduled to kick off Saturday night.

Julio Watch
Meanwhile, Nick Saban seems to think that Julio Jones is ready to go.

We think he'll be ready to go by Saturday and I don't see him having a lot of issues. He's going to have some soreness that he will have to deal with, but he certainly practiced full speed (Thursday) and we were happy to see that.

Ellis Johnson is just thrilled to hear the good news, I'm sure.

Gary Crowton might move to the field
This is presumably so that Les Miles can throw him to the crowd if things get too ugly.

LSU administrator doesn't like playing Florida every year
Verge Ausberry, the senior associate athletics director at LSU, makes a sweeping statement that doesn't seem to have much support based on the article about the LSU-Florida rivalry.

"Florida is our permanent opponent and we have to live with it.

"If you talk to the guys at Florida, they know how tough it is to play LSU. They’d like to rotate, too."

Actually, no one else at Florida or LSU is quoted as saying that they would like to rotate, but the idea that the rivalry is difficult and therefore should change is nonsense. Alabama plays Tennessee every year, a rivalry that used to be as challenging for the Tide as it was for the Vols. And Auburn always plays Georgia -- well, that doesn't really the point right now either.

I happen to think LSU-Florida is a solid rivalry, and I don't think it's asking too much of the two teams to play each other. So I'm glad that Ausberry seems to be alone on this one.

Bryce Brown outlines reasons for leaving Tennessee
We're going to be very careful with this, both because I think Brown's situation deserves some respect, but also because we're only getting one side of the story here. But the other side of the story has chosen to be pretty tight-lipped about it, so you end up with leaked affidavits like this from Bryce Brown.

"Once other football players did arrive on campus, I quickly realized that I did not fit in with the other players in the football program. My teammates were involved in a range of activities that I was not comfortable being around." ...

Brown said that his father, Arthur Brown Sr., is "under a doctor's care for stress, insomnia, anxiety, anorexia, and marital discord."

But, of course, he didn't handle it like a professional, so Derek Dooley won't release him, which seems like an entirely proportional response to the situation.

Oh, by the way, those activities that other Volunteers were involved in that didn't make Brown feel comfortable? Well, let's just say that they raise an interesting question about one of the other Kiffin-era controversies.

According to the affidavit signed by Arthur Brown Sr., that includes allegedly seeing former teammates Nu'Keese Richardson, Mike Edwards and Janzen Jackson in an elevator and being made aware the three were "on their way to rob a convenience store" on the night of their arrests.

He's not going to play for Tennessee. He had a tough time in Knoxville in the middle of what seems to be a difficult time in his life. Release him.

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