I swear I had this post scheduled before the colossal blunder by Damon Evans this week. As evidence, I had a similar post last year, so I'm being consistent. I have to preface this post as such because it's more bad news for the competitive aspect of the athletic department and head man (for now), Damon Evans.
The final Sears Cup/Directors Cup/Learfield Sports Cup standings came out yesterday, right before Damon's other story broke. Damon went from bad news to worse because the standings showed the worst performance by UGA athletic teams since 1997. Georgia finished #20 in the standings. Final standings can be found here.
The problem for Damon is this:
Check out the trend line for UGA. The rise over run to that trend line is a decidedly negative number since 2004, the year Damon took over. UF has been consistently excellent. LSU has been erratic, but has finished above UGA for three years running now. It's hard to look at that graph and see anything but a serious erosion of the athletic competitiveness of The University of Georgia over the past six years.
Look, I get the statistical quirks of the Sears Cup calculations. But, I'm not comparing us to Stanford, who offers over thirty varsity sports teams. UF, LSU and UGA have been the perennial SEC representatives in the Sears Cup top 20 for the last ten years. All three offer the same 19 sports, so the playing field is level among those three (UF has a lacrosse team, but didn't get any points; same for our horse riding program). If UF can compete for the top spot in the standings, why can't we? We offer the same sports. Tennessee also bested us this year (even if you take out their ten points for women's rowing). This isn't MS 312, mutlivariable calculus, or grad level statistics. It's simple math. As much as I hate to admit it, we are falling behind our competition and have been doing so for six years running.
I also get that the athletic department makes massive, massive piles of cash money every year. I understand that academically we are doing as well as we've likely ever done. On both of those points, Damon can be largely credited, along with several other innovative and even courageous decisions. But, if a company consistently turns increasing profits into progressively inferior products, how long before its customers start demanding better results and the profits decline? Or, if we have so many resources, why aren't we leveraging those resources into competitive performance?