College

UGA Athletic Board signs off on facilities upgrades

The University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors held its Winter meeting Wednesday, unanimously approving a $10.6 million facilities funding package that includes upgrades for Spec Towns Track and Foley Field.

From Tim Hix, UGA Sports Communications…

The University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors held its Winter meeting Wednesday to discuss both financial and athletic matters.

The hour-long, in-person meeting covered a variety of topics, including financial reports, mid-season updates on the progress of the UGA teams and reports on current and future facility projects.

A report from J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Josh Brooks took a prominent place on the meeting’s agenda Wednesday. Among the many topics he covered included the following:

• The Top 15 status achieved by 10 Bulldog teams currently competing.

• Brooks introduced new women’s soccer head coach of Keidane McAlpine, 2021 Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year, whose 2016 USC team won the NCAA championship. The addition of McAlpine to the UGA coaching roster brings to eight the number of head coaches that have won at least one national title.

• The enhancement of the program’s social media presence and creative strategies, resulting in engagement rates that are double the average for platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Part of its new creative strategy has included a greater involvement from the students of UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

• Brooks praised the work of the UGA Athletics development team, forthe many events it staged throughout the past Fall season, and also for the continued generosity of Bulldog fans.

• Brooks, UGA President Jere W. Morehead and Treasurer Ryan Nesbit all commented on the importance of sound fiscal policies in Athletics, before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. ‘’The more people I get to know in our business, the more I learn that no one else is in the position we’re in,’’ Brooks said.

The Board unanimously approved funding, totaling $10.645 million, for the following facility projects:

• Full-project funding for interior upgrades to the first floor of the Butts-Mehre Building for the Track & Field and Cross Country programs ($6.4 million).

• Design work for improvements to Foley Field baseball stadium ($950,000) and Jack Turner Softball Stadium ($850,000). Feasibility studies for both projects were completed recently.

• Initial-phase funding for the replacement of the Lindsey Hopkins Indoor Tennis Facility ($1.7 million).

• Waterproofing of the 100 Level East End Zone at Sanford Stadium ($750,000)

Other highlights from the meeting included:

• A financial report from Nesbit, who noted that the Athletic Association’s operating expenses were higher than planned because of the football team’s advancement through the College Football Playoff. Still, it is currently operating under budget at mid-year.

• A glowing academic report from Faculty Athletics Representative, Prof. David Shipley. Highlights of Shipley’s report included:

• Based on Shipley’s personal experience as a professor, the Fall semester was the closest to “normal” since the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020. UGA student-athletes finished with a 3.08 overall grade point average. All women’s teams were at or above a 3.04, with top honors going to the Cross Country team at 3.65. On the men’s side, four teams had collective GPAs at or above 3.09, led also by the Bulldog harriers at 3.41. Thirty-five student-athletes (6.4 percent) had 4.0 averages in the Fall, 137 (24.9 percent) had averages between 3.50 and 3.99, while an additional 338 (61.3 percent) posted GPAs of 3.0 or better.

• Shipley also recognized the Joel Eaves Award winners for the 2021-22 academic year: high jumper Shelby Tyler and offensive lineman Owen Condon. The Eaves award is presented to the male and female student-athletes with the highest grade point average upon entering the fall semester of his or her senior year, based on academic hour rather than eligibility. Additionally, a student-athlete must have earned at least two varsity letters to be eligible for the award.

• Reports from all three student representatives: School of Law student Brennan Cox; junior tennis player Meg Kowalski, a junior from Chicago, Ill.; and redshirt freshman outfielder Josh Stinson.

The Board’s spring meeting is planned for May 25-27 in Greensboro, Ga.

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens.

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