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Business Headlines

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is dismissing as 'fake news' media reports that the Trump administration is readying restrictions this week on Chinese investment in American technology companies and high-tech exports to China. Mnuchin says on Twitter that reports by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg news are 'false, fake news. The leaker either doesn't exist or know the subject very well' and that any restrictions would not be aimed solely at China but at 'all countries that are trying to steal our technology.' The Trump administration accuses Beijing of predatory practices in its attempt to supplant U.S. technological dominance, including cybertheft and forcing U.S. companies to turn over technology in exchange for access to China's market. It is planning to impose tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods July 6.
  • The Supreme Court handed American Express a win Monday in a lawsuit over rules it imposes on merchants who accept its cards. Under their contracts, merchants who accept American Express generally can't encourage customers to use other credit cards, even though they charge merchants lower fees. The federal government and a group of states sued over those so-called 'anti-steering' provisions, arguing that they violate federal law. But on Monday the high court ruled 5-4 in favor of American Express. 'In this case, we must decide whether Amex's antisteering provisions violate federal antitrust law. We conclude they do not,' Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in an opinion for himself and his conservative colleagues, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. American Express cheered the ruling in a statement after it was announced. 'The Supreme Court's decision is a major victory for consumers and for American Express. It will help to promote competition and innovation in the payments industry,' the statement said. The case the Supreme Court ruled in dates to 2010 when the Obama administration and more than a dozen states sued American Express along with Visa and MasterCard, which had similar anti-steering rules. Visa and MasterCard agreed to change their practices. American Express, which accounts for about a quarter of the credit card market, decided to go to trial. A federal trial court judge initially ruled against American Express, finding that its rules stifled competition among credit card networks and led to higher fees for merchants and higher prices for consumers. An appeals court reversed the decision, ruling for American Express. The Supreme Court upheld that decision. ___ Follow Jessica Gresko on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko
  • U.S. stocks are falling Monday morning following losses in Europe and Asia, and technology companies are skidding after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration plans to limit high-tech exports to China and will limit Chinese investment in American technology companies. Harley-Davidson is falling after it said it will shift the production of some motorcycles to Europe in response to taxes the EU put on U.S. exports. KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index shed 27 points, or 1 percent, to 2,727 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 275 points, or 1.1 percent, to 24,303. The Nasdaq composite fell 107 points, or 1.4 percent, to 7,585. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slid 21 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,663. US-CHINA TENSIONS: Chipmakers took losses after the Wall Street Journal said the Trump administration will limit technology exports to China as well as investment by China. China is attempting to become a global leader in biotechnology, electric vehicles and other industries, and the report said the administration wants to slow Beijing's progress in those areas. President Donald Trump has threatened to put tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese imports over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology and is also pressuring China to buy more U.S.-made goods. Chipmaker Micron Technology, which gets half its revenue from China, lost 5 percent to $54.33 and Intel dipped 1.5 percent to $51.69. Nvidia lost 2.9 percent to $243.55. All 72 of the technology companies listed on the S&P 500 were trading lower. OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX fell 1.7 percent and London's FTSE 100 gave up 1.6 percent. France's CAC 40 shed 0.9 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.3 percent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.8 percent and in South Korea the Kospi was little changed. HARLEY SHIFTS: Harley-Davidson will move the production of motorcycles headed for Europe from the U.S. to overseas facilities. On Friday the European Union put tariffs on motorcycles from the U.S. as well as other goods like bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice. The EU tariffs on $3.4 billion worth of U.S. products are retaliation for duties the Trump administration is imposing on European steel and aluminum. Harley said in a regulatory filing Monday that EU tariffs on its motorcycles exported from the U.S. jumped between 6 percent and 31 percent, which translates into an extra $2,200 per average motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the EU. Its stock fell 1.4 percent to $43.59. DEALS: Broadcaster Gray Television jumped 10.9 percent to $14.20 after it said it will combine with Raycom in a deal the companies valued at $3.6 billion. Campbell Soup rose 7.4 percent to $41.44 after the New York Post said Kraft Heinz is interested in buying the company. Kraft rose 1.8 percent to $64.35. ADRIFT: Cruise lines dropped after a disappointing quarterly forecast from Carnival. Carnival fell 8.9 percent to $57.85 while Royal Caribbean gave up 4.5 percent to $106.52 and Norwegian Cruises lost 5.3 percent to $49.16. BONDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 2.89 percent. ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 1 percent to $69.24 per barrel in New York. It climbed 4.6 percent Friday, its biggest one-day gain since late 2016. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 1.7 percent to $74.03 per barrel in London. OPEC countries agreed to produce more oil Friday, but investors aren't sure the cartel will produce as much crude oil as it says it will. CURRENCY: The dollar fell to 109.65 yen from 109.91 yen. The euro rose to $1.1689 from $1.1663. ___ AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay
  • Sales of new U.S. homes jumped 6.7 percent in May, with purchases in the South accounting for all of the monthly gains. The Commerce Department said Monday that new homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 689,000, up from 646,000 in April. The South reported monthly sales growth of 17.9 percent, while sales were flat in the Midwest and fell in the Northeast and West. For the first five months of this year, new-home sales have risen 8.8 percent as a solid job market and shortage of existing homes on the market have boosted demand. In a sign that buyers are eagerly seeking out properties among a diminished inventory, there was a 17.4 percent surge last month in the sale of homes before construction begins. 'With fewer buying options among existing homes, homebuyer demand is shifting towards new builds,' said Ben Ayers, senior economist at the insurance company Nationwide. Buyers are also facing additional pressures as home values are generally rising faster than incomes and average 30-year mortgage rates have risen to 4.57 percent from 3.90 percent a year ago. Both of these factors are increasing the monthly costs for repaying home loans. Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist at the real estate firm Zillow, said that sales growth was strong, yet construction was still running below historic levels given population growth. 'We're building roughly 2.7 homes for every 10,000 Americans - well below historic averages form the 1980s and 1990s of about 4.2 homes per 10,000 residents,' Terrazas said. Still, the government report on new-home sales can be volatile on a monthly basis, especially when any growth or setbacks are focused in one region of the country. May's median sales price dropped 3.3 percent from a year ago to $313,000. But the decline was largely because the sales growth was concentrated in the South, where new homes are generally cheaper.
  • UPDATE: Since this recall was first announced, the CDC says 10 illnesses were added to the investigation. Two more states, Kentucky and Tennessee, have also reported illnesses. Health officials are investigating a salmonella outbreak that’s been linked to pre-cut melon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 60 70 people have been infected and 31 34 have been hospitalized after the multi-state outbreak. RELATED: 3 restaurant menu items you should never order Salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melon: What you need to know Most of the people who got sick said they ate pre-cut cantaloupe, watermelon or a fruit salad mix purchased from grocery stores. On June 8, Caito Foods recalled fresh-cut watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe and fresh-cut fruit medley products that were produced at its facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. The recalled products were distributed to eight states and sold at major retailers: States affected Georgia Illinois Indiana Kentucky Michigan Missouri North Carolina Ohio Retailers affected Costco Jay C Kroger Payless Owen’s Sprouts Trader Joe’s Walgreens Walmart Whole Foods/Amazon The FDA has a complete list of the stores and states where the recalled products were sold. Read more here.  If you have any of these products in your fridge or freezer, health officials say you should throw them away or return them to the store for a refund. If you don’t remember where you bought pre-cut melon, don’t eat it and throw it away! RELATED: Doctor reveals the 10 foods he never eats Related Articles from clark.com: Chase is eliminating these big credit card benefits as of August 26 Read More The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018 Read More Best cell phone plans and deals right now Read More
  • China's foreign ministry on Monday expressed concern over reports that U.S. President Donald Trump plans to curb Chinese investments in the United States, and urged Washington to provide a 'good, fair, and predictable' environment for Chinese companies. 'We hope the U.S. side will see these (Chinese) companies' business activities in an objective manner, and provide Chinese companies a good, fair and predictable environment for their investment and business activities,' Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the Trump administration plans to impose curbs on Chinese investment in American technology companies and high-tech exports to China. The newspaper, citing unidentified sources, said the initiatives were aimed at preventing Beijing from moving ahead with plans to develop companies able to compete globally in technologies including biotech and electric vehicles. That follows Trump's threat to hike tariffs on Chinese imports worth up to $450 billion over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.
  • Harley-Davidson, up against spiraling costs from tariffs, will begin to shift the production of motorcycles headed for Europe from the U.S. to factories overseas. The European Union on Friday began rolling out tariffs on American imports like bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice. The EU tariffs on $3.4 billion worth of U.S. products are retaliation for duties the Trump administration is imposing on European steel and aluminum. President Donald Trump has used Harley-Davidson as an example of a U.S. business that is being harmed by trade barriers. Yet Harley has warned consistently against tariffs, saying they would negatively impact sales. Harley-Davidson Inc. sold almost 40,000 motorcycles in the European Union last year, generating revenue second only to the United States, according to the Milwaukee company. The maker of the iconic American motorcycle said in a regulatory filing Monday that EU tariffs on its motorcycles exported from the U.S. jumped between 6 percent and 31 percent, which translates into an additional, incremental cost of about $2,200 per average motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the EU. 'Harley-Davidson maintains a strong commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally,' the company said in prepared remarks. 'Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden is not the company's preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business in Europe. Europe is a critical market for Harley-Davidson.' Harley-Davidson will not raise its prices to avert 'an immediate and lasting detrimental impact' on sales in Europe, it said. It will instead absorb a significant amount of the cost in the near term. It anticipates the cost for the rest of the year to be approximately $30 million to $45 million. Harley-Davidson said that shifting targeted production from the U.S. to international facilities could take at least nine to 18 months to be completed. The company is already struggling with falling sales. In January, it said it would consolidate its Kansas City, Missouri, plant into its York, Pennsylvania, facility. U.S. motorcycle sales peaked at more than 1.1 million in 2005 but then plummeted during the recession. Asked about the Harley decision Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker addressed the issue of tariffs in general but not specifically the situation faced by the company. 'The ultimate goal, if we could get there, is no tariffs or if anything few tariffs on anything,' said Walker, a Republican. 'That's what I'm going to push for, ways that we can get to a level playing field then we don't have this tit for tat on any number of products out there.' Increasing foreign investment in the United States, something Walker was in Washington advocating for at a U.S. Department of Commerce event last week, will also help reduce the trade imbalance and need for tariffs, he said. More potential pitfalls for Harley-Davidson and other U.S. manufacturers could be on the way. Last week German automaker Daimler AG cut its 2018 earnings outlook, a change that it says is partly due to increased import tariffs for U.S. vehicles in China. Daimler produces vehicles in the U.S. On Monday, the vice president of the European Union's governing body said that Europe and China will form a group aimed at updating global trade rules to address technology policy, government subsidies and other emerging complaints in a bid to preserve support for international commerce. European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said unilateral action by U.S. President Donald Trump in disputes over steel, China's technology policy and other issues highlighted the need to modernize the World Trade Organization to reflect developments in the world economy. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration plans to impose curbs on Chinese investment in American technology companies and high-tech exports to China. ___ Associated Press writer Scott Bauer contributed to this story from Madison, Wisconsin.
  • China and the European Union agreed Monday to launch a group that will work to update global trade rules to address technology policy, subsidies and other emerging irritants and preserve support for international trade amid U.S. threats of import controls. Actions such as U.S. President Donald Trump's unilateral tariff hikes in a technology dispute with Beijing show World Trade Organization rules need to keep pace with changes in business, said an EU vice president, Jyrki Katainen. Katainen said Europe was not siding with Beijing in its dispute with Trump but was taking action to protect the global system of regulating free trade. He said the EU wants other governments to join the WTO group. Companies worry the U.S.-Chinese dispute could chill global trade and economic growth if other governments respond by raising their own import barriers. Even before Trump took office, economists were warning countries were tightening import restrictions and taking steps to favor their companies over foreign rivals. U.S. officials complain the WTO, the Geneva-based arbiter of trade rules, requires an overhaul because it is bureaucratic, rigid and slow to adapt to changing business conditions. Katainen said Europe wants to focus on issues including subsidies to industry, government pressure on foreign companies to hand over technology and the status of state-owned industry — all areas in which Beijing faces complaints by Trump as well as other trading partners. 'I don't expect these negotiations to be easy,' Katainen said at a news conference. But if nothing is done, 'the environment for multilateral trade will vanish.' Trump has threatened to impose tariffs of 10 percent to 25 percent on up to $450 billion of Chinese goods. Beijing responded to Washington's first round of hikes on $34 billion of imports by raising duties on U.S. soybeans, whiskey and other products. Other governments have similar complaints but Trump has been more direct about challenging Beijing and threatening to disrupt exports. Beijing might agree to talks to deflect further sanctions but is unlikely to agree to changes that hamper its technology plans, said Mark Williams of Capital Economics. 'I very much doubt they would agree to anything that would have teeth and punish them,' said Williams. Policies companies object to are 'integral to the growth model China is pursuing,' he said. Beijing agreed to narrow its multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more American goods but scrapped that after Trump went ahead two weeks ago with a tariff hike on $34 billion of imports. Beijing also has cut import duties on autos and some consumer goods and promised to remove limits on foreign ownership in its auto, insurance and finance industries. But the Communist government has resisted any change to its plans that call for challenging U.S. and European technology dominance by creating Chinese companies capable of competing in fields including clean energy, biotech and aerospace. Chinese officials deny foreign companies are required to give up technology. But in many industries they are compelled to work through state-owned partners, which requires them to share know-how with potential competitors. One in five companies that responded to a survey by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China released last week said they felt compelled to hand over technology in exchange for market access. Trump infuriated U.S. allies — from the EU to Canada and Mexico — last month by imposing tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. He said imports threatened America's national security — a justification countries use rarely because it can be easily abused. Beijing has tried to recruit European allies in its dispute with Washington, promising visiting leaders including Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel in May to open industries wider to their companies. On Monday, Premier Li Keqiang, China's No. 2 leader, told visiting French Premier Edouard Philippe that Beijing would allow more imports of beef and other food from France. Li said French companies were welcome to invest. 'China takes a positive attitude to cooperation with the French side,' Li said.
  • Uber argued Monday that is should be allowed to keep driving on the streets of London, telling a court that the ride-hailing app has made significant changes since a regulator refused to renew the company's operating license last year. Lawyers for the company opened their case in an effort to overturn Transport for London's ruling in September that Uber was not a 'fit and proper' company after repeated lapses in corporate responsibility. Uber attorney Tom de la Mare said the ruling led to 'wholesale change' at the company. 'It's profound and very much for the better,' he said at the Westminster Magistrates Court. The regulator had raised a number of concerns about Uber, including driver vetting, the way it reports serious criminal offences and the use of technology that allegedly helps the company evade law enforcement officials. Since then, De la Mare argued, three Transport for London inspections have shown a 'perfect record of compliance.' Uber has said it has also made significant changes to its leadership and has been proactively reporting serious incidents to the Metropolitan Police. De la Mare argues the measures show a 'change of a business that grew very fast to one that has grown up.' Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot will rule whether Uber is 'fit and proper' to hold a license in the capital now, as opposed to whether transport authorities made the right decision September.
  • A survey finds that almost half of European Union businesses have cut back on their investment in Britain since the country voted to leave the European Union two years ago. The report published Monday by law firm Baker McKenzie surveyed over 800 business leaders in six key EU countries. It finds that despite European outrage over Brexit, 95 percent of companies in the countries surveyed say that the U.K. is important to their business. 'Ultimately, business people don't want the relationship with the U.K. to break down completely,' said Eric Lasry, a partner at the law firm. The survey finds that European businesses support a post-Brexit deal that keeps trade relations as close as possible to the existing conditions, and three quarters say the EU should also make concessions to the U.K. to secure a functioning trading relationship. Yet over half of business leaders believe their views are not well represented. Last month, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned that Britain must face 'consequences' for leaving the EU, an antagonistic stance that doesn't sit well with business leaders. Animosity between the EU and the U.K. has slowed Brexit negotiations, and there is an increasing risk that the U.K. and EU will not reach an effective agreement on future trade relations by the time Britain officially leaves in March next year. Irrespective of which trade solution is reached, Mattias Hedwall, a partner at Baker McKenzie, said 'there will be new complexity in doing business with the U.K.. Not only will there be higher costs for trading with the U.K., but also additional administrative burdens that need to be handled'.

Local News

  • Summer is off to a, well, hot start in metro Atlanta, and that is likely to continue through the Fourth of July holiday next week. Monday’s high is expected to hit 92, several degrees above the average for the date, according to Channel 2 Action News. This comes after a Sunday in which heat indexes in metro Atlanta and North Georgia ranged to near 100 degrees in some areas. The pattern should continue, Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said. Forecasts for the next four days call for highs in the 90s, though the average high for these dates is 88. “It’ll feel like 100 the next couple of days with the humidity,” he said. Expect the same all the way through Independence Day. “The temperature pattern all across the Southeast is for above average temperatures,” Monahan said. Monday also has a 40 percent chance of rain, which could mean some pop-up showers for commuters.
  • The Banks County Sheriff’s Office says there was no fire and there were no injuries when smoke filled a section of the Banks County jail: a malfunctioning air conditioning unit gets the blame.  Two brothers from Stephens County are facing theft charges in Franklin and Hart counties: Nicholas and Matthew Glover are accused in a string of thefts at Victoria Bryant State Park.  There was a dramatic weekend rescue at Panther Creek Falls in Habersham County, with crews extracting a hiker who fell twenty feet: the man was taken by ambulance to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.  From Cherokee County: four workers at a Wendy’s in Canton, fired for dealing methamphetamine from the fast-food restaurant.  Decatur Police say they’ve made an arrest in a possible road rage incident that left a teenager dead. 50 year-old Simmie Reed has been charged with murder and aggravated assault. 17 year-old Janae Owens was shot and killed last Wednesday while sitting at a traffic light with her mother. Reed is in the DeKalb County jail. 
  • It opened in the 1960s: it closes today after more than 50 years in Five Points in Athens. The Waffle House at the corner of Lumpkin and Milledge will serve its last patrons, shutting down because the restaurant operators were unable to reach a lease agreement with the property owners. There is still no word on what will replace the Waffle House in Five Points. 
  • The steering committees that are studying the Atlanta Highway and Lexington Road corridors in Athens convene today: it’s a 4 o’clock session at the Government Building on Dougherty Street.  Madison County Commissioners are meeting this evening, 6 o’clock at the Madison County Government Complex in Danielsville. They’ll look at a plan to hire four more Madison County School Resource Officers.  A Hall County Commission work session is on tap for today: 3 o’clock at the Government Center in Gainesville. Commissioners are scheduled to adopt a new Hall County budget later this week in Gainesville.  There is budget work in Bowman: the Bowman City Council meets tonight at 7 at the City Hall building in that town in Elbert County. 
  • Georgia needs more doctors. In fact, the entire country does. The University of Georgia and Augusta University are working to address this need. In June, 10 residents from the initial class (some pictured above) of the Medical College of Georgia at the Augusta University/ University of Georgia Medical Partnership Internal Residency Program marched in recognition of finishing their three-year residency program. Each was surrounded by their family members, mentors and other physicians who guided them along the way. Several graduates accepted positions in the state. According to a 2017 study by the American Association of Medical Colleges, the U.S. is expected to face a shortage of between 40,800–104,900 doctors by 2030. This is fueled by a growing population, and an increase in the amount of aging Americans and retiring physicians. And in order to meet the national average of 36.6 physicians per 100,000 people, Georgia needs an additional 1,456 graduate medical education positions in various specialties such as family medicine, internal medicine and general surgery. About the program The Internal Medicine Residency Program, a joint effort of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s Health Care System, received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in January 2014, becoming Athens’ first medical residency program. This program takes three years to complete and concentrates on producing community-based physicians. Since the inception of the Medical Partnership residency program, an additional internal residency program has been established at Piedmont Athens Regional bringing an additional 15 residents to the Athens community each year. Combining the two programs, the total number of resident positions in Athens is now 85.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Georgia baseball coach Scott Stricklin just got a contract extension and raise, and he’s not the only “Head Dawg” who is going to make out well in 2018. At least two other UGA head coaches can expect positive adjustments to their current employee agreements going forward. Men’s and women’s track and field coach Petros Kyprianou is expected to receive a contract extension and raise in the coming weeks and softball coach Lu Harris-Champer will have “something done for her, too,” according to Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity. And deservedly so. All three coaches are coming off landmark seasons in the field of play. Kyprianou’s teams won two national championships in the past four months. The men’s team won the NCAA outdoor national championship earlier this month while women’s team won the indoor national title in March and finished second by one point at the outdoor competition two weeks ago. Both titles are incredible achievements considering they came in just the third year of Kyprianou’s tenure. The former UGA assistant was promoted to head coach in 2015 and since then all his teams have finished among the top 10 at nationals. Kyprianou, 40, just completed his third-year of a five-year deal that pays him $335,000 annually. He is expected to earn bonuses for the national championships. He was just named national coach of the year in track and is considered one of the true rising stars in international track and field. For that reason, a considerable extension and commensurate raise is expected. “We’re working through all that right now,” said Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity, who declined to discuss details of ongoing negotiations. “Let’s just say we look forward to having Petros for a long time.” McGarity said there also plans for more facility improvements for track. UGA completed a $1 million complex renovation a year ago that included a complete rebuild of the track just a year ago. Georgia finalized a deal with Stricklin this week that will extend his contract by three years through the 2022 season and include a “modest” pay increase from his previous salary of $575,000 a year. Stricklin’s fifth team is coming off a 39-21 season that saw it land the No. 8 national seed but lose in the finals of the NCAA Athens Regional. That represented the first winning season in Stricklin’s tenure. But the Bulldogs return all the position players and most of the pitching staff for next season, as well as a highly-rated recruiting class that includes one of the top high school pitchers in American. More importantly, Georgia returns its entire coaching staff, with the considerable exception of volunteer coach Pete Hughes (who returned  head coaching job at Kansas State). McGarity said raises are in the works for Stricklin’s staff, including acclaimed pitching coach, Sean Kenny, who was hired before last season. Harris-Champer led her team to the NCAA postseason play for the 17th consecutive season and to the Women’s College World Series for the fifth time this past season. The Lady Bulldogs (48-13) were knocked out of the national championship tournament in two games. “We’ll get around to that eventually,” McGarity said of an extension for Harris-Champer. “We’ve got a lot of stuff going on.” Georgia sure does. Add all that to the tremendous year just logged by the Bulldogs’ football team, which reached the national championship game, and it has been a very good year for UGA. The school finished No. 8 in the Learfield Cup all-sports standings and second only to Florida in the SEC. And that came in relative down years for men’s and women’s tennis and swimming. The financial cost of such athletics excellence is high, hence UGA’s record $143 million budget for 2018. Earlier this year, football coach Kirby Smart received a contract extension and pay raise that nearly doubled his salary to $7 million a year. The Bulldogs 10 on-field assistants in football will earn nearly $10 million more in 2018 than they did last year. That doesn’t include the bonuses earned by the staff for winning the SEC Championship and reaching the finals of the College Football playoffs. Meanwhile, Georgia is wrapping up construction of a $63 million locker room and recruiting lounge addition at Sanford Stadium. That comes on the heels of the $31 million indoor, 1-year-old Payne Indoor Athletic Facility. They’re already building new seating and luxury suites on the East End. All that will be in play this fall. McGarity said they’re not done there. Coming online soon are plans to expand the football complex in a project that “goes way beyond” enlarging the Bulldogs’ weight room and training facility, he said. Beyond football, the athletic board just approved funds to plan the renovation of the Dan Magill Tennis Complex that will cost “at least” $23 million and include the construction of a new indoor facility. They just completed $8 million worth of improvements to Stegeman Coliseum, extensive renovation projects for swimming and volleyball facilities and just approved $1 million for equestrian. “That’s just the cost of doing business nowadays,” McGarity said. The good news is revenue continues to pour in via donations, football ticket sales and television deals. The SEC just paid Georgia a record $42.8 million in its revenue-sharing arrangement, tops among member institutions. McGarity said the Bulldogs continue to focus on doing what they need to do to stay in the front of the pack of the ultra-competitive SEC. He said they have a plan for doing that, whether it means facility improvements, pay raises for coaches or continuing to pour money into the increasingly expensive world of student-athlete wellness and services. “We have a long list of improvements we want to make for the future and the priority is determined by a number of factors,” McGarity said Friday. “But the bottom line is we’ll always be looking to do whatever we need to do to improve and enhance all our sports. At the end of the day we’re going to do what we believe we need to do to be competitive.” If this last year is any indication, 2018-19 could be a very good year. The post UGA vows to do whatever is required to remain at top in the SEC appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Patience paid off for Scott Stricklin. The Georgia baseball coach has agreed to terms for a contract extension and pay increase that will keep him with the Bulldogs at least through the 2022 season. His previous deal was due to expire after next season. “I couldn’t be happier,” said Stricklin, who came to Georgia from Kent State in 2015. “It just gives us stability and shows the confidence that Greg McGarity and Jere Morehead and our administration has in our program. We have been able to have success even with (the previous) contract expiring. But they believed in us, they believed in Georgia and they believed in the program.” Stricklin said he would be receiving a “modest raise” to remain as Georgia’s coach. Financial terms were not disclosed by either side, but Stricklin earned $575,000 annually under his previous agreement. “It’s not about money,” said Stricklin, who was not represented by an agent. “If I had an agent he’d be upset with me because I only want to be at Georgia.” Keeping Stricklin to this point was an anomaly of sorts in this day and age of ultra competitiveness in college athletics. Stricklin just completed his fifth season with the Bulldogs and it was the first year they finished with a winning record and reached NCAA postseason play. Georgia (39-21) was awarded a national seed (8) and had the second-best conference record (18-12) in the SEC. However, the Bulldogs lost to Duke in the finals of the NCAA Athens Regional. After five years as coach, Stricklin’s record at Georgia is 143-140-1 overall and 61-86-1 in SEC play. But UGA’s administration has shown extraordinary patience in giving Stricklin time to execute “a complete rebuild” of the baseball program. McGarity said that was a because of the plan and timeline that Stricklin gave him at the time of his hiring in June of 2013. “When (baseball facilitator) Ted White and I first met Scott, he discussed in detail his plan and vision for this program and he emphasized it was going to take some time,” McGarity said Friday. “At that point, his first two classes had basically already been done. Scott said he was going to honor all those commitments, but he wanted to build through the high school recruiting process. I remember taking notes and he said the plan was we should start seeing some improvement in Year 4 and we should be nationally competitive in Year 5. “That’s what we saw, and I feel comfortable that Scott has followed his plan and I have every confidence that his plan will continue to materialize.” Georgia lost a lot of key pieces from this year’s team to graduation and the professional baseball draft, including all-star senior Keegan McGovern, junior designated hitter Michael Curry and pitcher Kevin Smith. But the Bulldogs also have every position player returning from the 2018 team and saw Cole Wilcox, a right-handed high school pitcher from Ringgold who was considered a Top 20 major league prospect, choose UGA over the pro baseball. Georgia began to show marked improvement at the end of last season when it won the last three SEC series of the season. That continued into this year as they set a school record for fielding percentage, recorded the second-lowest staff ERA in 50 years and clubbed 64 home runs while hitting .282 as a team. Probably the most impressive accomplishment under Stricklin has been his ability to recruit at a high level despite being saddled with a short-term contract. “These recruits know the players we have in front of them,” Stricklin said. “They knew it was just a matter of time before we started winning in a big way. It came up with some of the kids that we were recruiting the last couple of years. But they all had confidence that we were going to get this thing turned around and they wanted to be part of it.” The post Breaking News: Baseball coach Scott Stricklin receives raise, extension from UGA appeared first on DawgNation.
  • RUTLEDGE, Ga. — Driving East out of Atlanta, keep going on until there’s no evidence of civilization, exit onto Newborn Road and head south into the middle of nowhere. Turn left onto Centenniel Road, drive about a mile, then hang a right onto the gravel road known as Keencheefoonee. Proceed through the wooden gate, turn left at the horse stables pull into a dirt parking lot. Then walk downhill along an asphalt path through a shady white oak forest and emerge into sunlight and arrive at the happiest place on Earth. No, you’re not at Disney World. This place is better. You’ve arrived at Camp Twin Lakes, which for this one day at least is known as Camp Sunshine. Georgia coach Kirby Smart puts his arms around linemen Kendall Baker and Lamont Gaillard as the Bulldogs listen to a presentation by a nurse at the infirmary at Lake Twin Lakes on Wednesday. (Chip Towers/DawgNation) Longtime Georgia Bulldogs’ fans know the drill. UGA’s football team has been making this trek an hour and change south of Athens annually for most of the last 35 years. Vince Dooley, along with wife Barbara, was appointed to the Camp Twin Lakes board of directors in 1983 and the Bulldogs have been making a midsummer visit here every year since (well, every year accept for those under coach Jim Donnan, according to camp administrators). For the unenlightened, Camp Twin Lakes is a retreat in which children with cancer and their families can get away to enjoy outdoor recreational activities for the summer. It has air-conditioned cabins for “glamping,” swimming pools, lakes, a farm (complete with miniature cows and alpacas), sports playing fields, a zipline, a gymnasium and much more. All of the available activities are retrofitted to accommodate children battling different forms of cancer. And, of course, there’s an infirmary to attend to any children who might get sick — or just scrape a knee raising their buddy on one of the many trails snaking the expansive property. It’s here that one sees a whole different side of Georgia coach Kirby Smart. He completely drops his guard and relaxes. He back-slaps and jokes with his players. He peels off at the sight of any of the campers or there families. During the hour-long tour, he seems to know somebody personally at every corner and stops to chat, falling behind the tour and then double-timing it catch back up. The familiarity is because Smart has been coming to Camp Twin Lakes a very long time. He first started coming when his older brother Karl was diagnosed with leukemia in the 1990s. His brother has long since been well, but Kirby has kept coming. He came when he was an assistant coach at Valdosta State and when he was the Miami Dolphins and Alabama. “It’s convenient because I have a lake home that’s 30-45 minutes from here (on Lake Oconee),” Smart said Wednesday. “So through the years, when I was with the Dolphins or Alabama, I’d stop by. A couple of those years Karl was still here as a counselor, so being able to stop in here to see him and everybody was good. Now that he’s head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, he brings his whole team with him, including wife Mary Beth, twins Julia and Weston and little Andrew. Wednesday they had a good time posing with a cardboard cut-out of Kirby and Karl on display in the camp’s courtyard. Andrew kept asking everybody when the dodge-ball game would start, and was front and center and in the middle of everything when it did. “He needs to get smacked around a little bit,” Smart said with a chuckle. “He’s a little too brave for his own good out there. The players are scared to bean him because they know he’s mine.” “Nobody’s like Kirby,” said Mo Thrash, one of the original founders of Camp Sunshine who serves as the Bulldogs’ tour guide and taskmaster each year. “He’s come every year since he’s been out of college. He’d always call me and say, ‘Mo, can I come to camp?’ He show up, spend an hour, hour-and-a-half with me walking around the camp saying hey to kids. No press, nobody around, just being himself. Then he’d leave. He did it every year. Then he became Georgia’s head coach. He’s just very special.” Wednesday was the first of two trips that the Bulldogs will make to Camp Sunshine. In all, Smart said about 70 players signed up to participate. About the other half will come next Wednesday. The first group seemed to include a lot of freshmen and first-year players. Notre Dame transfer Jay Hayes, wearing his new number 97 Georgia jersey, was front-and-center for many of the activities. So was long and tall true freshman Tommy Bush, until they went to alpaca pin. The nearly 6-foot-6 tall receiver, wearing the No. 12, eased to the back of the pack when the group was asked to pet the odd-looking creatures. The many interactions with the campers and staff were entertaining to observe. The players were split into two groups and toured opposite ends of the complex. When being shown the cabins where the campers stay, the girls of Cabin 10 came pouring out and high-fived every player. “Oh my  God, they’re all so tall,” one of the young teens shouted. The residents are not all Georgia fans, either. At the intersection of two paths, a young man named William yelled, “go Gators.” To that the jersey-wearing group responded with a collective, “boo!”, then just laughed it off. In the cafeteria, Smart made a beeline to a young man wearing Alabama gear, including a crimson-and-white cast on his right leg. Colton, who’s 14, said he first met Smart when he was an assistant for the Crimson Tide. “Now he tries to talk me into being a Georgia fan, but he knows I won’t convert,” Colton said. Thrash showed the team the lake and pointed to the zipline and ropes course far across on the other side. “What’s the weight capacity on that?” Smart asked loud enough for everyone to hear. “We’ve got some people here we think can break it “Be sure to keep Fernando off it,” he added, referring to support staffer and former Georgia and NFL offensive lineman Fernando Velasco. At the heart of it all, though, is a serious message. “You guys are heroes to these kids; you’re heroes to me,” Thrash said when he huddled up the team at the outset of the tour. “So go in here, look around the place, see what we do, say hello to the kids, get to know them a little bit and have a good time.” Said Smart: “I want them to appreciated what they have. You look at some of these kids and see how they have to struggle and go through things. Some of them are well now and they come back because they’re the hope for so many other kids who are going through what they did.” For the team, it was a well-earned reprieve. They’ve been working out and doing conditioning every morning for the last two weeks. That includes Wednesday when the players signed up for the trip had to report to the Butts-Mehre football complex at 5:30 a.m. “I don’t know if everybody slept the whole way down because I was asleep as soon as the bus pulled out,” junior tight end Isaac Nauta said. Participants range from players like Nauta and senior center Lamont Gaillard, who have been every year since they arrived on campus, to junior running back Elijah Holyfield, who was making his first trip Wednesday. “My freshman and sophomore years I was kind of trying to do too much,” Holyfield said. “Finally I said I’ve got to go this year because everybody was talking about how much fun it is. I knew I had to do it before I left Georgia and I loved it, so I’ll be back next week as well.” It was especially re-energizing for the freshmen, who have known nothing but regimen and brutal intensity since they arrived on campus May 31. “I think they can finally see that there’s a human side to everybody and you can go out and have fun,” Smart quipped. Camp Sunshine unique to the University of Georgia. Located 51 miles east of downtown Atlanta, the camp is located in the heart of Bulldog Country. No other teams make the pilgrimage to the East Georgia outback. Just the Bulldogs. “It’s only a Georgia thing,” Thrash said. “We’d love for other teams to come in. But it’s always special when the Georgia Bulldogs come in. They’re part of Camp Sunshine.” A happy place indeed. The post Camp Sunshine is strictly a Bulldogs’ thing, and something Kirby Smart loves appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to a feature on DawgNation where our writers answer (or try to answer) the best questions submitted by Georgia fans. If you’d like to submit a question, please email us at ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com. Or you can tweet us here or here. Look for the Question of the Day every Monday through Friday. Previous QODs can be found on our question of the day archives page . What is draft projection for Yante? Sure did hate seeing him leave.  Thank you, John Vaughn, Newnan The fact that your question was submitted using only his first name speaks volumes about how Yante Maten is thought of within the Dawg Nation. He achieved one-name status at UGA, like Herschel or Dominique. It was well-earned as Maten was named 2018 SEC Player of the Year, joining Dominique Wilkins (1981) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (2013) as the third Georgia player to earn the honor. He left the Bulldogs as Georgia’s first three-time All-SEC honoree in more than 25 years and just the sixth in program history. So he did some incredible work at UGA, and it was recognized locally and regionally. Nationally, however, Maten is not as well known. Nonetheless, he certainly has generated a lot of interest from the NBA. That’s not to say he is in line to become a lottery pick come Thursday at the Barclays Center in New York; he definitely won’t be in that group. But there has, and continues to be, considerable intrigue surrounding Georgia’s star power forward. 'I love Atlanta. I went to the University of Georgia. So…this is my backyard.' – @UGABasketball's @YoungMoney__11 pic.twitter.com/GWVxeZ0V5B — Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) June 8, 2018 To answer your question, I reached out to Austin Walton, Maten’s Atlanta-based sports agent. Walton told me that Maten has been invited to work out for 14 NBA teams. Among them, he worked out for the Atlanta Hawks and the Los Angeles Lakers last week. Maten also worked out for 21 teams at his pro day. And that’s on top of his appearance at the NBA combine and at the all the teams that saw him at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. In summary, every NBA team has gotten a good long look at Maten. “He’s had a lot of exposure,” Walton said. “We had to turn down some things just because we haven’t had enough time. He was seen by every team at least three times and 14 of them much more than that. High exposure, for sure.” And apparently they like what they’re seeing. Maten certainly did his part. Maten led all prospects at the combine with 18 reps of 185 pounds in the bench press. He also had the No. 2 time among big men in the three-quarter sprint and finished in the top 3 in shuttle and lane agility drills. Meanwhile, he measured at 6-foot-8½ and 246 pounds with a 7-1 wingspan and only 8 percent body fat. “He tested well,” Walton said. “He showed them he’s agile enough to play with guards and forwards and strong enough and long enough to play some 4 and maybe small-ball 5. His numbers bear that out. He’s one of the most polished offensive players in the draft. The biggest thing is he can bring that type of effort defensively.” Looking at the many mock drafts that are out there, most are projecting Maten as a second-round selection. Walton guesses his client might go “40 to 60.” “There’s probably some possibility he goes undrafted,” Walton said. “But he’ll sign an NBA contract no matter what, whether he’s drafted or not.” Maten, who hails from Pontiac, Mich., finished his career ranked all over the Georgia record book: No. 2 in points (1,886), No. 4 in rebounds (889), No. 3 in blocks (198), No. 4 in free throws made (518), No. 4 in free throws attempted (686), No. 5 in field goals attempted (1345), No. 6 in field goals made (655), No. 13 in free throw percentage (.755) and No. 15 in field goal percentage (.483). If he is drafted, Maten will become only the fourth Georgia player since 2011 to do so. Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie were each second-round picks in 2011 and Caldwell-Pope was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2013 draft, by the Detroit Pistons. KCP, now with the Lakers, is the only Bulldog currently playing in the NBA. Which is not to say there’s not a lot of Bulldogs playing pro ball. Leslie is playing in Paris, J.J. Frazier played in France and Italy last season, Charles Mann is balling in Luxembourg, Gerald Robinson is in Monaco and Thompkins just won the European championship with Real Madrid in Spain. But most folks are betting that Maten will be able to make a living in the NBA, and maybe for a while. “He’s a very skilled offensive player, one of the most polished post scorers, or mid-post scorers, out there,” Walton said. “His size isn’t traditional, but the way the NBA is going where you’re playing a little bit of position-less basketball, he has a 7-1 wingspan and is strong enough to play inside and shoots the ball well from anywhere on the floor. A lot of teams like him.” Worth tuning into the draft, for sure. Thanks for the query, John. Be sure to send another one our way soon. Have a question for DawgNation reporters Chip Towers and Jeff Sentell? Email us at ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com. The post What are the NBA draft projections for Georgia’s Yante Maten? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Knowshon Moreno. That’s the name that pops in my mind when I contemplate this new NCAA redshirt rule. I was offline and otherwise occupied last week when news initially broke that the NCAA had passed the rule. Since then, I’ve had a chance to read up on it and learn a little more. Essentially, it gives freshmen four games to play without losing the option of redshirting and thus still having another four years of eligibility for competition. What are my thoughts on it? Mainly, wow. I’m not at all surprised the NCAA adopted this rule or the one regarding transfers. The movement to provide student-athletes with more freedoms and liberties in general has intensified considerably in recent years and has been a long time in coming, frankly. But the extent to which coaches can utilize this new redshirt rule to the team’s advantage — to effectively try out first-year players, or deploy them at opportune times — surprised me. Of course, the question I’ve heard more than any other since the new rule was adopted is what kind of effect will this have at Georgia? Where it could be particularly useful for the Bulldogs is getting an early look at some of these elite signees at positions where there otherwise doesn’t appear much room for impact. And that’s where it takes me back to Moreno’s freshman year. Moreno was famously — or infamously, I should say — redshirted his freshman year at Georgia, even though it eventually became clear he was at least as good and probably better than most of the running backs that were being utilized that season. Making it worse was, after Moreno proved himself to be one of the most special talents in the country in  his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons with the Bulldogs, he decided to turn pro. That was quite understandable and justifiable considering he was the first running back taken and 12th pick overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. Again, the spirit of this rule is not for the coaches to be able to test out the young talent that they have, necessarily. But this new legislation provides them with more flexibility to insert a player in a game later in the season. That would have been useful for Moreno, who initially was slow in mastering Georgia’s offense in preseason camp and was buried behind three very good tailbacks at the time: Thomas Brown, Kregg Lumpkin and Danny Ware. That explains why there was no mention of Moreno in the “Fall Outlook” portion of Georgia’s 2006 Media Guide. Under the running backs section, it said the position “figures to be a strength for the Bulldogs” and mentioned that the top-3 rushers from the previous year returned in Brown, Ware and Lumpkin, respectively. There was a mention of a junior walk-on named Jason Johnson and fullbacks Brannan Southerland and Des Williams in the preview, but none of Moreno. It’s also important to recall that while Moreno was a big-deal recruit from New Jersey, he wasn’t as big of a deal as a lot of the backs we’ve seen the Bulldogs ink lately. He was ranked the nation’s No. 10 back by Rivals (73rd player overall) and No. 9 by Scout. Georgia’s Zamir White is the consensus No. 1 back in the 2018 class and James Cook is considered the No 3 “all-purpose back” in America and No. 41 overall by 247Sports. So it wasn’t until the Bulldogs got well into the season that they realized what they had in Moreno. In preseason camp, he was taking reps behind the three guys ahead of him. It was actually in scout-team work against the No. 1 defense that Moreno began to distinguish himself. It’s in that role where we got the first reports of Moreno hurdling a defender. That’s something we wouldn’t witness in a game until two years later. And there was a perfect opportunity to execute a make-good of sorts on Moreno. Brown, who ended up being the starter on the 2006 team, suffered an ACL injury against Vanderbilt in the seventh game of the season.Georgia still had Lumpkin and Ware to turn to at that point. But imagine if the Bulldogs would’ve unleashed Moreno at that point. As it was, they lost that game and close games to No. 8 Florida (21-14) and Kentucky (24-20) in subsequent weeks. We know now that there’s no doubt Moreno could’ve made a difference. Coach Mark Richt still refers to not playing Moreno that season as one of the greatest regrets of his career. In Richt’s defense, he didn’t want to give away a whole year of eligibility on Moreno to play what at the outset would’ve looked like a backup role. Had this new rule been in place, that wouldn’t have been a concern. Richt could’ve deployed Moreno for as many as four games. If he wasn’t making an impact, he could’ve sent him to the sidelines. We know now that wouldn’t have happened. Now, coaches have strategies they can employ when it comes to utilizing freshmen. They can plan to give them extensive work against non-FBS opponents, such as Georgia has in Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee State in two of the season’s first three weeks. Or, if there are late developing players or depth issues that materialize as the result of injuries or other attrition late in the year, there will be no reason for hesitancy in turning loose one of the Bulldogs’ previously non-utilized players. It opens new possibilities when it comes to roster management. It’s like having a practice squad from which to execute a call-up whenever the need arises. Only, in Georgia’s case, there’s a good chance there’s a blue-chip prospect waiting in the wings. The flip side of that, for coaches and teams at least, is a player can more readily transfer to another program if he doesn’t like the way he has been utilized. And schools can no longer restrict a player’s options in that regard. That’s certainly a fair exchange, I’d say. If that designation happens to be a major rival that competes in the same division of the same conference, so be it. I understand coaches’ concerns that rampant transferring at the first sign of adversity or discontent could turn college football into the wild, wild west every offseason. But it has been that way in basketball for a while and the system hasn’t collapsed. No, the redshirt rule in particular seems like a win-win on both the side of the student-athlete and of the institution. It hasn’t been often that we’ve been able to say that about any new NCAA legislation. Georgia had 16 true freshmen take the field last season, but only one who could’ve benefited from this rule. William Poole, a defensive back, played sparingly in the Bulldogs’ first three games of the year, then not again until the Kentucky game in Week 13. Georgia also played him against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, but probably wouldn’t have had a full year of eligibility been the cost. As it was, the Bulldogs had already burned it. That’s the difference now. At four games coaches will have to decide whether it’s worthwhile to keep utilizing a player. Conversely, there’s nothing holding back Georgia or any team from giving a freshman a look. Meanwhile, you have to wonder if there might be a Moreno or somebody like him at another position on Georgia’s roster this season. This almost always is the case. The post Imagine if redshirt rule had been in place for Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno in 2006 appeared first on DawgNation.