Univ. of Georgia Stymies Open-Records Law in Pursuit of NCAA Titles

School also forces students to pay millions in athletic fees to cover programs.


U of Ga.

The University of Georgia is a flagship state university that is arguably more into its sports programs (especially football) than its academics. As a member of the powerful SEC NCAA conference, the Bulldogs are perpetual high-performance losers when it comes to college pigskin, routinely cracking the Top 10 but oh-so-rarely actually winning a conference title, let alone a national crown. When it comes to academics, Georgia fails to crack the top 50 of U.S. News' ranking of "national universities." 

Given the school's athletic ambitions, it should come as no surprise that the just signed a law "signed into law a bill that allows public college and university athletic departments to avoid responding to open-records requests for up to 90 business days." The bill was lobbied for by the University of Georgia's football coach, Kirby Smart, and has been nicknamed "Kirby's Law."

From Inside Higher Ed:

"I'm from Georgia," said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. "I know how important football is there. But the whole process is so troubling. It's really alarming. Now that Georgia has established 90 days as the target, you can envision other states racing them to the bottom."

Sponsors of the bill said it came in response to institutions being flooded with open-records requests designed to elicit information about college football recruiting practices, but the language of the amendment goes much further. Colleges can wait 90 days to respond to any athletics-related open-records request, including how much athletic departments are spending on travel for recruiting or on building new athletics facilities.

Other teams in the SEC are required to respond to such requests in between three days and 15 days. The three months' delay built into "Kirby's Law" effectively covers just about any sports season. 

Coach Smart is pulling down $3.75 million in base salary and has "has already spent more than $500,000 chartering airplanes and helicopters to recruit players and hire staff." In most states, the highest-paid public-sector employee is a college football or basketball coach. USA Today, which maintains a database of how much public colleges subsidize sports programs (private schools refuse to participate), finds that undergrads at University of Georgia are charged $3.2 million a year in student fees to subsidize sports there.

So we can add one more cause for ongoing spikes in college costs: college sports.

As a big fan of college sports, especially football and men's hoops (the only two sports that generate major-league revenue), I've noted repeatedly that most public Division I schools spend millions and millions of tax dollars and mandatory student fees to subsidize mostly mediocre sports "traditions." And let's be clear: Even the NCAA admits that good sports programs do not increase the quantity and quality of incoming students (the so-called "Flutie Effect"); neither do sports increase non-athletic giving to institutions.

According to USA Today's chart, my undergrad alma mater, Rutgers, kicks in fully half of its athletic department budget, to the tune of nearly $50 million a year. Colleges whose academic reputations are way less than stellar—such as Virginia schools James Madison and Old Dominion, Eastern Michigan, and Texas State—all spend north of $20 million a year on college sports. I'm sure that many private schools do the same and, to the extent that such out-of-student-pockets spending is enabled by tax-supported loans and grants, that's an outrage.

At least when certain cities and states stupidly subsidize the hell out of pro sports franchises, those of us living elsewhere don't have to pony up dough to cover teams and activities we don't give a shit about (thank god, we don't all live in Hartford, Connecticut, right?). But when it comes to college sports, it turns out that basically all of us are on the hook, mostly because our state legislatures have decided that part of the "college experience" is to heavily bankroll sports teams that have absolutely no connection to the at-least-defensible mission of providing state-supported higher education. 

Related: College athletes do have a market value—from which they are systematically alienated via awful collusion between schools and the NCAA. Watch "How much is a college athlete worth?"

NEXT: Beverly Cleary at 100

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  1. Sounds like Georgia will have 2 less football players for a while: Georgia freshman football players Julian Rochester and Chad Clay were released from Athens-Clarke County Jail Tuesday morning on a $2,000 bond. Each player stands accused of two felonies on charges related to shooting and possessing a BB gun in their dorm room.…..ny-charges

    1. uptil I saw the bank draft four $7328 , I be certain …that…my friends brother was like they say actualey bringing home money parttime at their laptop. . there aunts neighbour has been doing this 4 only 16 months and resently repayed the dept on their villa and bought themselves a Audi Quattro . check ????????????? Click this link

  2. Is that giant dog taking a dump on the field? I’m not sure that’s SFW.

    1. Came here for the obvious poop comment, was not disappointed.

      1. I’m just surprised I was the only one.

    2. Yeah, and the poop is beige. That dog needs to see a doctor.

  3. ..undergrads at University of Georgia are charged $3.2 million a year in student fees to subsidize sports there.

    Some might frame that as young adults choosing to subsidize athletics. College sports, by the way, I wager will survive the coming bubble pop just fine.

  4. I am an avid college sports fan, but I would like nothing more than to see them disbanded. Colleges are for education, not to provide free minor-leagues for the pro leagues. I would like to see all college sports treated like college baseball. MLB have their own well-established minor leagues. They draft the best players directly from high school. Those that opt for college MUST stay at least three years to be eligible for the MLB. That is one the reasons college baseball does not have a huge following (compared to footbal and basketball). I have no problem with colleges maintaining intramural sports, and even playing other colleges, but college should in no way be a stepping stone for aspiring professional athletes.

  5. -When it comes to academics, Georgia fails to crack the top 50 of U.S. News’ ranking of “national universities.”

    Uh, they are ranked 21st by U.S. News. Dude, love you, but get your facts straight.

  6. Texas sports get $0 subsidy and sends money to the school, so there’s that.

    1. If only Colt hadn’t gotten injured.

  7. Nothing will help the perpetually inept, under achieving Dawgs. RTR


    I dont get to yell that here enough.

    And call response version:

    What’s the good word? TO HELL WITH GEORGIA.
    What’s the good word? TO HELL WITH GEORGIA.
    What’s the good word? TO HELL WITH GEORGIA.
    How ’bout them dawgs? PISS ON ‘EM.

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  10. So, the first part of this blog post talks about students, state government, etc., subsidizing college sports, which implies that these sports programs cannot stand up on their own with current revenue sources and at their current spending rates. The related video argues for paying college athletes. Where’s that money coming from?

    1. At the big schools OSU, Bama, OK, TX, USCw, etc. boosters pay the bill.

  11. Yeah, I had a proggle professor (making 120k+ and constantly bitching about how rich Romney was and how he was evil for having so much money) who LOVED to social signal about how great athletics were for helping disadvantaged kids get into college. How benign and generous of her who has to pay exactly zero in athletics fees!

    Can you tell I’m still bitter?

  12. The University of Georgia have a lot of titles in Sports field instead of Academic Field. I don’t what i say it. I mean Either it’s right or not. I don’t know but i think students must give attention to the eduation because no everyone become a successful player in future. Very players get that position but everyone have good future if he has good education. So, students must think about it. Any way, I’m trying to get best source for assignment masters because i think only these people can help me and other students who suffer while solving the assignment.

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