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June 2, 2013

The parable of the thrifty

There was a man who was quite rich, not just by regular standards but by all standards. He literally had tens of millions in the bank. He was one of the richest men around. Yet, he wasn't happy. In fact, he was scared of his money. He was scared to spend it. He was scared to use it for important things. He was scared to make improvements to his property, despite his property becoming more and more obsolete, vis a vis his business competitors, each year.

He was scared of what would happen if he needed it and it wasn't there. Despite dependable sources of income, the idea of spending those reserves just scared him.

So he did nothing with it, but patted himself on the back for having so much money in the bank, confident in his ability to keep from spending that money. See, not spending money was what he felt was his smartest move. He felt safe with that. Oh, there were compelling reasons for improving his business facilities, including the possible upside of seeing improvements in his business, but there are costs associated with that. It was the easiest move because he could very clearly see the downside of not having the money if he needed. Mind you, there were no reasonable risks on the horizon, but still, that money was there and it was safe. That made him feel safe in his decision to not spend it. Plus, his business was doing good enough, right?

Part of his fetish with holding on to his money arose from a series of misfortunes and missteps from his colleague just to his north.

What he was missing is how to assess the value of the money put to use, and the risks associated with doing nothing. Doing nothing felt safest, because that is what he could control. That is what he knew. His measure of success was having that money in the bank. And he is very successful by that metric.

That is where I was wrong about the Director's Cup and the direction of Georgia athletics overall. Mike Adams biggest metric for measuring a successful AD is how much money is in the bank. In that regard, Damon Evans and Greg McGarity are rousing successes, though through different means.

I'm not sure what Jere Morehead's approach is going to be with athletics, but I can guess based on his many years as the faculty athletic representative. Mike Adams has very clearly laid out the case for money in the bank over championships, at least (probably) in sports other than football. There is reason to think Dr. Morehead's approach will be different, and I am hopeful because Morehead seems to be more of a true Georgia fan out of passion, rather than position.

I think avoiding Tennessee's issues with debt and spending is a good thing. Having money in the bank isn't a bad thing. Being thrifty just so you can have the most money in the bank is just as a bad use of money as spending it on dumb things. Both scenarios are wasteful though I do see the argument that there is future value of the money not spent. I have full faith in UGA athletics to not spend money on dumb things, but no faith in them to spend money on things that will make the incremental improvements needed to programs go from good to great. We've shown that good enough is, well, good enough.

That is why I'm not so confident in the next football coaching search, whenever that comes. If the worry is more about money in the bank than W's and L's there, we'll get exactly what we pay for. We certainly are in men's basketball and have been in baseball.



Anonymous said...

Does the problem lie with our administration or with the fan base? Very rarely does the Dawg Nation become a force to be dealt with. Look no further than the 2 programs you have mentioned, basketball and baseball. Have you heard an outcry from the majority of Dawg fans concerning either one? I certainly have not. And when Richt and his faithful staff wrecked the football program the majority of fans were happy to keep Saint Mark as the HC. My point is that Dawg fans are just as scared of change as the administration is of spending money. When done prudently, neither change or financial spending are bad. It appears that the majority of our fans and the administration are perfectly matched. If and when UGA does decide to spend money, Foley Field and the concession areas in Sanford Stadium MUST be first in line.

Skeptic Dawg

Stick jackson said...

What would more money get us in men's hoops? The facilities are B+ if one is a Steg hater, A- if one is not. If we were to whack Fox now, who would take the job for nonabsurd sums?

It's not a Happy Time, to be sure, but what would digging into the admitted football-generated miser's hoard fix?

Anonymous said...

You mean you're getting tired of the "We can't be like Tennessee! We can't be like Tennessee!" defense too?

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