When it comes to recruiting, Georgia’s biggest disadvantage isn’t the school’s higher admission compared to other schools wearing orange. It isn’t Urban Meyer or Nick Saban. It isn’t the past couple of season being sub-par.
The biggest hurdle Georgia has to overcome lies within the Athens-Clarke County and UGA police department.
Before going any further, let’s clarify one thing. This is not a ‘let’s bash the police’ post. The service that law enforcement provide to our communities is invaluable, and we at TGT are grateful for the protection that they provide on multiple levels.
But in Athens, local law enforcement is also a detriment to the athletic department and the university overall. Some ‘journalists’ like to tout that UGA’s football program has run out of control with 11 arrests this year. But a simple look at the details would reveal that of these transgressions, a majority of them are a result of a suspended driver’s license or forgetting to pay traffic tickets. But negative press is negative press, and it’s forced Mark Richt to rule with a heavier fist and hand down a two-game suspension to Caleb King being jailed for not having paid a traffic ticket.
We’re not saying that not paying traffic tickets is ok. It’s not. But the fact of the matter is that while athletes and UGA students are hounded by local officials hungry to make extra revenue, similar offense for other athletes at other schools are either swept under the rug or witnesses in Knoxville or Gainesville conveniently forget the details of an incident.
Isn’t it a cruel twist of irony that on the same day King is suspended, Florida reinstates Chris Rainey, who sent threatening text messages?
The bottom line is this – there is a culture of fear apparent between UGA students and athletes and law enforcement in Athens. Frankly, it’s hard to fault any athlete not wanting to spend four years in Athens because they fear being arrested for an offense that in many other place results in a monetary fine.
Until the University and local law enforcement can figure out how to cooperate, the Bulldogs will find themselves at a disadvantage.
– Lugnut Dawg