Athletic Director McGarity shares state of sports at UGA
By Jonathan Branch
The Madison Kiwanis Club received a special visit from University of Georgia (UGA) Athletic Director Greg McGarity last week during the club’s weekly luncheon at the ChopHouse Grille restaurant in Madison.
Along with Georgia swimming and diving coach Jack Bauerle, the athletic director enjoyed lunch before addressing the club on the state of the University of Georgia’s athletic program and his thoughts on recent storylines in college athletics.
Following a brief introduction from Bauerle, McGarity began his speech with a list of the athletic accomplishments Georgia has experienced in the last year.
“We’ve had an OK year athletically,” said McGarity. “We won one SEC title this year.”
In the most recent SEC All-Sports standings, Georgia was ranked second among all conference teams in terms of success in all sports.
“Overall in the SEC landscape, we have the second best program,” said McGarity. “We want to be first, but second is OK for now because we only had one conference championship. We want to be at the top.”
McGarity also pointed out the academic achievements UGA’s student athletes have accumulated in 2012.
“Academically, we were off the chart,” McGarity said. “We had the highest grade point average (3.05) for all our student athletes. You reach the 3.0 mark and that’s pretty good stuff.”
McGarity attributed that success to the athletic department’s approach of always handling things the right way.
“The very most important thing is running your program the right way,” said McGarity. “You run it the right way. You don’t take shortcuts. You hire the right people. You put them in place and empower them to make decisions. The outcome will be wins and graduating students.”
He also noted the recent substance abuse issues that have reared among several starters on the UGA football team and dismissed the notion that Georgia’s substance abuse policy is too tough. The policy, the harshest in the SEC, calls for players to serve suspensions after their first offense.
“This is a policy that has been in place almost 20 years now, and it was put in place for a reason,” said McGarity. “Our young people know the consequences. If we get beat up for that, I’m fine with that. We’re trying to do things right.”
The Athens native and UGA gradaute then gave a brief synopsis on the changing landscape of college football and the new playoff system recently agreed upon by NCAA conference commissioners.
“What you’ll definitely see is a four-team playoff in 2014,” said McGarity. “What you’ll see are four teams, but the big question is how will they be selected? Is it a committee? Is it computers? That’s what these group of commissioners have to figure out.”
“Could you imagine being on the selection committee?,” McGarity continued. “It’s not like the NCAA Men’s Basketball selection committee that select 68 basketball teams. Those 69th and 70th teams have a bunch of losses. With a football committee, could you imagine the discussion and amount of dollars involved in the selection of that fourth [team] but not the fifth team?”
McGarity paused before joking, “I don’t think anybody wants to serve on that committee.”
McGarity wrapped up the luncheon with a Q&A and photo session, but the athletic director plans to return to Madison soon and had kind words about the town.
“It’s good to be here,” said McGarity. “When Jack said ‘Let’s go down to Madison and talk to a group down there,’ I said ‘let’s go.’”
He added: “I know my wife likes to come here so much now. It’s small town America and places like this are special.”
Printed in the June 21, 2012 edition