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Local government notes include Commission approval of SPLOST project list

Local government notes include Commission approval of SPLOST project list

Local government notes include Commission approval of SPLOST project list

Local government notes include Commission approval of SPLOST project list

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners met last night at City Hall and signed off on the list of projects that will be funded if Athens voters approve a sales tax referendum in November: the latest SPLOST is designed to generate at least a quarter-billion dollars in revenue for various Athens-Clarke County infrastructure projects. 

There is a boil water advisory in place for parts of Banks County: crews are working to fix a water main off Hebron Road in Banks County. 

To the delight of a good many drivers the Spout Springs Road Bridge over I-85 near Flowery Branch is reopening to traffic. The bridge and roadway project are part of the widening of I-85 from two to three lanes in both directions from I-985 to State Route 53 in Hall County. 

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Local News

  • A mobile clinic for coronavirus testing made another stop Tuesday, conducting tests in Barrow County.  From the Northeast Health District…   “We want to make sure as many people as possible have access to testing, and transportation can sometimes be a barrier,” explained Whitney Howell, Clinical and Nursing Director for the Northeast Health District. “A mobile unit will allow us to bring testing to where it’s needed most and allow early identification of cases that might otherwise have gone undetected. Finding these cases before an outbreak occurs protects individuals and the community.”   Like the previously established site in Clarke County, the mobile clinic will provide drive-through testing by referral only. The Clarke site will continue to be available Monday through Friday. The purpose of testing sites being operated by the Northeast Health District is to collect specimens from mildly ill people who do not require medical care or hospitalization and fall into one of the following categories:  Healthcare workers and other first responders  People working with and caring for vulnerable populations, such as long-term care facility staff  People living and working in congregate settings where the disease can spread rapidly If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), you should stay at home and call your doctor or healthcare provider. Your doctor can either perform the test or screen you for referral to a site providing testing. If you do not have a regular healthcare provider, you should call the nearest urgent care center, federally qualified health center (FQHC), or your local health department.  Providers who would like to refer patients to the mobile clinic should call 706-340-0996. Members of the general public who do not have a doctor or healthcare provider may also call this number to see if they are eligible for testing at the mobile location. For accurate and reliable information on COVID-19, visit dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.
  • The Corps of Engineers says all the boat ramps on Lake Hartwell are still open, but a handful are now closed on Lake Thurmond: on the Georgia side of the Lake is Lake Springs; the Corps is also closing boat ramps at Clark’s Hill Park and Thurmond on the South Carolina side of Lake Thurmond. They’re closing because of coronavirus social distancing requirements. “We must close these ramps because many members of the public continued to congregate in groups in adjacent closed areas, violating standards designed to prevent further spread of the CoVid 19 virus,” says Scott Hyatt, Thurmond Project Manager. “To keep people from crossing into the off-limits zones from the boat ramps, we placed barriers near the highway which closes access to the ramps.”Accessible ramps in Georgia are listed below…     Franklin County, GA       Poplar Springs       Hart County, GA       Carter’s Ferry       Cleveland       Crawford’s Ferry       Duncan Branch       Elrod Ferry       Mary Ann Branch       New Prospect       Paynes Creek (exterior)       Powderbag Creek       Rock Springs       Stephen County, GA       Jenkins Ferry       Spring Branch   
  • Nearly 1,500 struggling small business owners from across Georgia logged in to UGA Small Business Development Center webinars Monday for guidance in applying for federal assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Webinars will continue Tuesday, April 7, and more may be added based on demand. At Gov. Brian Kemp’s direction, the University of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs partnered to create a website to provide ongoing information to help small businesses. SBDC consultants made eight presentations Monday and will oversee eight more today in an attempt to reach as many small businesses as possible. “We will be available to address any questions that small business owners have regarding these emergency relief programs,” SBDC Director Allan Adams said Monday. “We recommend that people check the website frequently for updated information.” The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, 2020, allocates $349 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid current circumstances. The CARES Act provides funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), modifies the existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and provides immediate loan payment relief for current SBA 7(a) borrowers. More information about each program is provided through the webinars, as well as on the COVID-19 Relief website at www.georgiasbdc.org/georgia-small-business-recovery. The informational PowerPoint used in the webinars is also on the site, and a recorded version of one of the webinars will be posted soon. The site will be updated frequently. SBDC consultants from 17 regional offices in Georgia also are available to answer questions. Here are some frequently asked questions and SBDC responses from Monday’s webinars. More FAQs and responses will be added to the website. Can a business apply for more than one loan, such as EIDL and PPP loans? Yes, you can apply for both at the same time. How long will it take for a business owner to receive money from the EIDL advance? The SBA’s goal is to disburse the EIDL advance within 72 hours, although the heavy volume of applications now means it could take a week or maybe more. The PPP disbursement will depend on the lender and its internal process. If I have applied through the SBA website for the EIDL cash advance, do I also have to contact a lender? No. The EIDL advance comes directly from the SBA, so there is no reason to contact a lender. In completing the form for the $10,000 EIDL advance, am I also applying for the EIDL loan? Yes. The $10,000 is an advance on the loan. However, the $10,000 does not have to be repaid. Am I automatically guaranteed the full $10,000 when I apply for the EIDL advance? No. The SBA will determine the amount you receive as an advance based on the information submitted in the application. Are 1099 workers included in the forgiveness amount provided within the PPP? Based on the information available now, the 1099 workers are not included in an employer’s calculation of payroll, but they would be able to submit their own request for a PPP loan.
  • Athens-Clarke County is again making changes to the operating hours for Athens Transit buses. City Hall says bus rides, which are now fare-free, will run on weekend schedules along nine routes, with buses rolling between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week.  From the Athens-Clarke Co government website… In continued efforts to reduce transmission of the Coronavirus yet still serve the public during this challenging time, ACC Transit will continue operating as follows:  Transit services will be reduced to our Weekend Service level of 9 routes operating between 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., 7-days a week. Specific routes, descriptions and schedules can be found at: https://www.accgov.com/8848/Nights-Weekends Lift Demand Response services will operate on an medically essential need only basis, no other demand response services will be offered. All Transit services will be offered “Fare Free”. A One (1) round trip rule will be instituted to prohibit continual riding of the buses. Riders will be required to either debark at the MMTC, the end of the line, or somewhere along the route, each hour or trip. Continuous riding throughout the day is prohibited.  All fix-route services will be operated “Rear door boarding and debarking” only and a “Do Not Cross Barrier” will be placed behind the drivers compartment to promote social distancing between bus operators and passengers A “No Unaccompanied Youth/ Riders under 18 without a parent or guardian” policy will be instituted. The Multimodal Transportation Center’s Building will be closed to the public. Transfers will continue at the covered bus bays at the MMTC. ACCTD Maintenance and Operations Facility at 325 Pound Street will be closed to the public.
  • A candidates forum is scheduled for today, with Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Jerry NeSmith and District 6 challenger Jesse Houle facing off on-line: the event is set for 5:30 on the Athens For Everyone Facebook page. NeSmith and Houle will face the voters in an election that is scheduled for May 19. Early voting begins on April 27. From Facebook… Wednesday, April 8th from 5:30pm to 6:30pm on our A4E Public Page ( https://www.facebook.com/AthensForEveryone/?ref=bookmarks) via Zoom and Facebook Live candidates Jesse Houle and Jerry NeSmith will answer preselected questions from our moderator and then have a brief live Q&A from the Facebook Live audience. To learn more about the candidates running for district 6 please visit their websites. Jesse Houle's website: https://jesseforathens.com  Jerry NeSmith's website: https://jerrynesmith.com To see how these candidates answered our A4E Questionnaire visit https://athensforeveryone.com/voter-guides/2020-election/

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS A record Georgia NFL draft class was predicted more than a year ago, and it appears the Bulldogs could be on the verge of making that vision a reality. RELATED: Why Georgia 2020 NFL class could produce record numbers Eight Georgia players are expected to be selected according to the most recent 7-round mock draft from CBSsports.com, a number that would match the program-high picked in 2013. Seven Georgia players were drafted last year. The 2020 NFL Draft is scheduled to take place April 23-25 in Las Vegas, but it will be closed to the public on account of the coronavirus pandemic. The mock draft, authored by Ryan Wilson, appears as follows: First Round No. 10 Andrew Thomas, Cleveland No. 26 D'Andre Swift, Miami Second Round No. 39 Isaiah Wilson, Miami Fourth Round No. 112 Jake Fromm, San Diego Sixth Round No. 193 J.R. Reed, Indianapolis No. 204 Solomon Kindley, New England No. 212 Rodrigo Blankenship, New England Seventh round No. 248 Charle Woerner, Houston Georgia receiver Lawrence Cager might be another candidate to slip into the draft, even though he was unable to workout at the NFL combine on account of his post-ankle surgery rehabilitation. Defensive lineman Tyler Clark is another UGA player who has appeared in some mock drafts, and tailback Brian Herrien was among the 10 Bulldogs at the NFL combine. Graduate transfer Eli Wolf posted an individual workout that included some impressive results. But Wolf, along with others like defensive tackle Michael Barnett and linebacker Tae Crowder saw their NFL draft hopes diminished when Georgia Pro Day was postponed, and then canceled, on account of the coronavirus. The only true first-round lock in this year's Georgia draft class is Thomas, though it seems very likely Swift will also be a first-round pick. The players' stock is a matter of position, with offensive tackles in great demand, and tailbacks seemingly undervalued. Indeed, there has been recent speculation that Wilson, as raw as some scouts believe him to be, could end up a first-round pick because of his massive size and potential. Swift, meanwhile, is viewed by most as the top tailback in the NFL draft and will be the first at his position off the board. Fromm's draft stock is a little bit more difficult to determine, as he's sure to have interviewed well. Coaches love the possibilities a fast processor and accurate thrower like Fromm could bring to the table, particularly if adjusting his footwork can add velocity and distant to certain throws. RELATED: Jake Fromm identifies deep ball passing issue Reed's drop to a third-day projection has been somewhat puzzling, with analysts citing a lack of athleticism. Reed has been one of the most reliable open-field tacklers in the SEC, and he was rarely caught out of position or beaten deep. Blankenship is another wild card of sorts, as most kickers don't find their way into the NFL draft. It would seem Smart's relationship with Bill Belichick could provide Blankenship a great boost if this projection is accurate. Flashback to 2013 NFL Draft *-still active First Round No. 17. Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh No. 30 Alec Ogletree, St. Louis* Third Round No. 82 John Jenkins, New Orleans* No. 84 Shawn Williams, Cincinnati* Fifth Round No. 134 Sanders Commings, Kansas City No. 161 Tavarres King, Denver Sixth Round No. 188 Cornelius Washington, Chicago No. 191 Bacarri Rambo, Washington DawgNation Georgia NFL draft stories Mel Kiper Jr. Top 10 position rankings feature several UGA players Isaiah Wilson's NFL draft stock rising, per 7-round CBS mock Georgia football Mauler' Solomon Kindley on Atlanta Falcons radar Andrew Thomas in first-class form at NFL combine Isaiah Wilson sheds light on 2020 Georgia O-Line Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason reunite anf NFL combine Lawence Cager message at NFL combine high ceiling' D'Andre Swift draft stock makes Georgia football RBU' again Jake Fromm evaluation, comparison, per former Super Bowl scout Brian Herrien shares Nick Chubb story at NFL combine The post Georgia football could have record 2020 NFL Draft class on tap appeared first on DawgNation.
  • NFL draft analysts have repeatedly questioned Jake Fromm's arm strength, but the former Georgia quarterback doesn't see that as the root of his problem throwing the deep ball. 'I think it's been my feet,' Fromm told The Herald Bulletin. 'My feet have not been as clean as they needed to be this past football season. That's something that we've really been hammering throughout this process. 'So, for me, I'm trying to get my feet better and as good as they can be because wherever my feet are, and how they are doing, it's going to take care of the rest of whatever is going on. It starts from the bottom up. I'm really trying to take care of those.' RELATED: NFL Hall of Fame questions Jake Fromm combine session Jim Chaney was Fromm's quarterback coach his freshman season at Georgia, while James Coley worked with him the past two seasons. Chaney has moved on to Tennessee, and Coley is now the tight ends coach at Texas A&M. Fromm remains one of the more polarizing figures in the NFL draft, with some experts impressed by his ability to process at the line of scrimmage and manage the game. Fromm led Georgia to three straight SEC Championship Game appearances and dominated the Bulldogs' rivals. RELATED: Jake Fromm on point, slams Gators again Others, such as Mel Kiper Jr., have droned on about Fromm's lack of arm strength. Fromm also lacks the mobility of some of the top quarterback prospects in this year's NFL draft. RELATED: Kiper calls Fromm NFL draft status, Fromm calls turkeys Fromm has been back working with former Ole Miss quarterback David Morris of QB Country in Mobile since his freshman year of high school. Former Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens, now a backup quarterback with the 49ers, is also working with Morris. Mullens holds the distinction of being a former pupil of new Georgia offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Todd Monkey. Fromm, however, is more zeroed in on improving his draft stock that picking up any tips on how the UGA offense will look without him next season. Many thought Fromm would return with hopes of leading Georgia to a national championship, but his prayers led him to choose a path to the 2020 NFL Draft. Fromm is projected as being anywhere from a second-round pick to a fourth-round pick. Kiper has compared him to Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, while Senior Bowl executive director and former NFL scout Jim Nagy sees similarities to Drew Brees. Fromm, himself, likes to model his game after the New Orleans Saints future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback. 'I would love to emulate my game the best way possible after Drew Brees,,' Fromm said at the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February. 'The way he approaches the game, the way he works and the way he throws, hopefully I can be as close to him as possible.' Certainly Georgia coach Kirby Smart gave the green light for Fromm to have the same sort of on-field control last season that Brees enjoys piloting the Saints' pass game. 'The coaches really trusted me a lot,' Fromm said. 'I could change a run to a pass, and a pass to a run, this play for that, and I really was grateful for the power they gave me with the offense. 'It was a great learning curve, for me and it will prepare me for this next level.' DawgNation Jake Fromm stories Georgia QB Jake Fromm shares light moment with Laura Rutledge Kurt Warner on Jake Fromm: Is there enough there?' Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason reunite anf NFL combine Jake Fromm evaluation, comparison, per former Super Bowl scout The post Former Georgia QB Jake Fromm identifies deep ball issue it's not his arm appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Malik Herring isn't the first name that comes to mind when Georgia football fans start talking about returning star players. Herring may not even be the second, third, fourth or fifth player mentioned in conversation about the Bulldogs' top-rated defense. RELATED: Georgia has $100 million reserve fund, prepared for what-if' And yet, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound rising senior from Forsyth might possibly be the first Georgia player taken in the 2021 NFL draft should he reach his immense potential. Herring certainly has been pushing hard during the break, making sure he's ready to hold his starting spot at defensive end whenever football resumes. Another good session https://t.co/RASqv9MtYy Malik Herring (@HerringMalik) April 7, 2020 Herring played in 12 of 14 games last season and started in nine, including the Sugar Bowl when he made a career-high five tackles including 1.5 TFLs. ESPN recently identified Herring as the SEC's top returning edge rusher, ranking him No. 5 in that category. ' Herring is set to take on a bigger role in his senior season, and his past play proved he deserves that opportunity,' author Anthony Treash penned in the ESPN-plus pay article. 'He hasn't played many snaps over the past two seasons just 488, to be exact but he produced solid PFF grades of 86.2 and 86.6 in 2018 and 2019, respectively.' Per the PFF metrics applied, Herring had a pass-rush win rate of 15.8 percent, which it ranked 29th among Power 5 defenders with at least 300 pass rushes since 2018. When one considers the caliber of competition Herring has faced, it's an impressive number Of course, Herring hasn't event secured a starting spot on the 2020 Georgia football team. RELATED: Malik Herring makes time for kids fun day It's an indication of just how deep the talent runs, and a nod to the vast potential of rising sophomore Travon Walker. Smart's message last spring was that Herring needed to get more dialed in. ' Malik can be a good player, (but) he's gotta hone in and do the little things right,' Smart said. 'He's gotta be a little more mature and serious about things to be the player we want him to be. 'He's talented, though, and he's played well. He's just gotta mature some.' As last season progressed, Herring did just that, and now he finds himself on the national radar. Smart will surely remind Herring and his teammates that just means there will be a bigger target on his back. Herring in famous DawgNation video DawgNation Kirby Smart offseason stories DawgNation Draft: Should No. 2 have gone No. 1? Kirby Smart shares how coronavirus break has led to innovations College football stipulations in progress, per Kirby Smart Kirby Smart reveals 5 players who impressed in workouts 3 takeaways from Kirby Smart beat writer teleconference Kirby Smart predicts recruits will make decisions sooner than later Why Kirby Smart gave Scott Cochran opportunity Nick Saban wouldn't Smart boosts Dan Lanning over $1 million, new staff salary numbers Quarterbacks affected more than any position during stoppage, per Kirby Kirby Smart's sports stoppage message: Control what you can control The post Georgia football's most underrated defensive player: Malik Herring appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry details how elite TE prospect Brock Bowers feels about his recruiting afterincluding the Bulldogs in the recent release of his top eight schools. Brock Bowers was planning on taking at least two more visits to Georgia.That was just back in February. Those were simpler times. The days we might all take for granted now. It was when everyone's plans were planned. Before the COVID-19 pandemic unplanned everything. The 4-star TE now ranks on the 247Sports Composite ratings as the No. 3 TE and the No. 102 overall prospect nationally. His ratings have spiked up three positional rankings and an approximate 50 slots since February. The Napa High (Napa, Calif.) standout was a newsmaker this week with the release of his top eight schools. The Georgia Bulldogs, as expected, were in that mix. Top 8 Edit: @Hayesfawcett3 pic.twitter.com/E4sZhCZprX Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) April 5, 2020 Georgia clinched one of those top school spots on the strength of just one unofficial visit. 'I just liked Athens,' he said. 'I have a really good relationship with coach [Todd] Hartley. I really like what coach [Kirby] Smart is doing out there with the coaches he is bringing in and kind of the culture they have built out there.' What was the common thread with all of those eight teams? 'I think the main thing is like the relationships with all the coaches,' he said. 'Also just how the program the program uses the tight end and how the coaches like to use the tight end there.' Brock Bowers: Where his recruiting stands today He took a visit to Georgia in January. It allowed him a 'Junior Day' that stood out among a three-pack of trips to see Clemson, Georgia and LSU. LSU was at the White House that day. He basically got a tour of the campus and layout without any key essential recruiters as a guide. Clemson told him it planned to only take one tight end this cycle and then took a commitment from another 2021 TE essentially right after his visit. What has changed since then? He took another back-to-back-to-back junket to see Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State. The Irish and the Nittany Lions were able to build off those visits by landing in his top eight. That was the weekend before everything shut down. 'Michigan was really a hard school to leave out,' Bowers said. 'But just talking to my family I didn't think it was going to be the best spot just because of the location. It was super hard to leave out.' His top eight includes five schools from the Pacific Time Zone and then another three programs that are on Eastern Standard Time. Bowers felt he wasn't sure whether or not he was leaning toward either coast at this time. 'I'm not sure yet,' he said. 'It is all up in the air right now.' Whether he's talking about life or his recruiting choice, that answer is right on the money. Either way. Brock Bowers: The refresh button on his rare versatility Bowers has settled into a routine. Especially with his impressive GPA that's way north of the 4.0 mark. 'I'm usually getting up and just doing school work,' he said. 'All the stuff that is assigned and then going to go work out. I'm done with all my workouts and my school usually by 3 p.m. or so and then it is chill at home or chill with my friends after that.' He's been keeping his circle small. A lot of that 'chill' time is spent playing Xbox on the latest 'Call of Duty' video game. 'I don't think I'm losing a lot based on my speed and strength stuff,' Bowers said. 'I'm still able to work out a lot. Probably more now even than I would have prior to all of this. Or I would have been able to. 'But also this kind of messed up our [high school] season. Because we're not going to be able to have spring practice Shoot, the California Governor even said we might not even have a football season out here.' 'That's crazy. Just wow there.' His Napa High coach, Richie Wessman, played at USC and coached in the NFL. He told the Napa Valley Register about an early evalution period when he started to see what Bowers can do. 'He broke three tackles in a very impressive fashion,' Wessman said. 'It was like if you're playing a video game and you're pressing all the buttons. He hit the stiff arm, he hit the spin move, hit a juke and then ended with a speed burst. It was really impressive.' Lots of coaches will often say that their player might have that 'X' or 'speed burst' button.When you flip on this film, his conjecture is validated. Bowers does indeed have all the buttons. That goes for a lot of things. Consider the following: Has a grade-point average that is approximately 4.33 in the classroom. His mother is a schoolteacher. Bowers hails from a family of athletes. His father was an offensive lineman at Utah State. His mother played softball in college. His older sister still does. The 6-foot-3 rising senior is now up to 225 pounds. Had a season-opening game last fall in which reeled in eight catches for 91 yards and two scores AND also paired that performance up with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Bowers scored touchdowns on 14 of his 39 catches as a junior in 2019. That's a ratio of reaching pay dirt on 36 percent of his catches. Those 39 catches also produced 1,098 yards. That meant a gaudy 28.2 yards per catch. He ran a 4.55 laser in the 40 and tested with a 40-inch vertical leap at an Opening regional in 2019. Bowers played tight end, running back, wide receiver, linebacker and punt returner for his high school team. He also wrapped up 25 stops, eight tackles for losses and a sack on defense as an OLB as a junior. In his last two varsity seasons, he has recorded 21 combined touchdown catches and over 1,700 receiving yards. The 4-star recruit also finished third on his team in rushing with 355 yards, including a pair of 100-yard games. Bowers didn't play football until he was in the fifth grade, but then he skipped his sixth grade year. There's a pattern there. He played his seventh, but then skipped his eighth grade season. His team didn't win a game his sophomore year. That was an 0-10 team in 2018. He grew up an Oregon fan. Naturally. The greatest player to ever come out of his community went on to star at Oregon and become a sixth-round pick in the NFL. Check out his Opening testing below. The crazy part of that is he didn't train for that at all. Had a great time at @TheOpening today. Thanks for the good experience @BrandonHuffman @KTPrepElite pic.twitter.com/RNFTZ7ko4w Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) May 12, 2019 Check out his junior highlight reel below. Brock Bowers: What he'slooking for in a college fit What does he need to see to make his college decision? Does it affect the timing on his choice? 'If I can make it and I know for sure before my senior year then I will,' Bowers said. 'But it might be after. I'm kind of easy with whatever.' It appears the COVID-19 pandemic pause won't allow him to proceed to graduate early and enroll in January of 2021 as he had planned. He said that he was 'still up in the air' right now with his school district, too. 'Shoot I'm not sure anymore,' he said. 'Our school has been doing a weird thing this semester so we will see. I don't think so, though.' He had planned on taking an unofficial to Georgia this spring and then an official visit to come. 'Based on the timing right now I feel it is an official left for me with Georgia,' he said. 'I don't think I would take another unofficial out there. Just with that. I don't really know. But I think by the time we can go and visit again, I think the timing would be too quick.' As of now, NCAA member schools are not allowed to host prospective recruits on campus for unofficial or official visits until June 1. That is very much up in the air with this pandemic, too. What are the essential ingredients for his decision? 'The relationships with the coaches and then the location of the school,' he said. 'I have to find a place where I would want to live outside of football. Then also how much of an impact I can make on the field and also the education part and the connections I can make for my life outside of football.' Distance will not be a major factor. 'When I think about I know I am going to be doing school and football and be super busy,' he said earlier this year. 'I won't be able to go home even if I am on the west coast.' Brock Bowers and Georgia: The connection that remains That was his first trip to check out UGA. 'I really liked Georgia,' he said earlier this year. 'Athens really reminded me a lot of Napa. Like the vibe and the town and everything. That was cool.' He said it was hard to explain why he liked the visit so much. But he continued to bring up a 'vibe' at UGA from both the players and coaches. 'Everyone seemed like they wanted to be there,' he said. 'That was the main thing I took away from all of that. It was just a good visit.' There was one part of that trip that left a distinct impression. It is what is still on his mind now. 'The first thing that comes to mind, shoot, is just the stadium like being in the middle of the campus,' Bowers said on Monday. 'That was pretty cool to me. That stadium is awesome out there.' He said that he talks to Hartley every day or at least every other day. 'He always just tells me how much of a priority I can be and how much value I could have in their offense and everything,' Bowers said. He couldn't come up with what he needs to see from Georgia on his next visit. He didn't have any questions in mind for his next visit. The timeline here will be very much a wait-and-see thing. 'My preference would be to get it done before my senior year,' Bowers said. 'I would very much like to make that work. But if I can't, I guess it is whatever. I will just do it later and get it all figured out. At some point.' DAWGNATION RECRUITING High school teammate shares what UGA is getting in OLB signee Mekhail Sherman What does the 2021 wide receiver board look like for Georgia? Kirby Smart says COVID-19 slowdown might lead to quicker recruiting decisions How elite OLB target Quintin Somerville tackles the COVID-19 quarantine COVID-19: How Kirby Smart sees that affecting Georgia recruiting The elite 2022 recruit who brings to mind Nick Chubb, Nolan Smith and Fred Sanford 5 things to know about recent 2021 commitment Jonathan Jefferson Nation's No. 1 CB Tony Grimes had three UGA visits set prior to COVID-19 outbreak Dylan Fairchild: The UGA offer for the elite OL was like 'drinking from a fire hydrant Elijah Jeudy: Has Georgia found another future Bulldog in Philadelphia? Pulling Bulldogs from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Jersey? HS coach raves about UGA Devin Willock: The 2020 signee and the surgical scooter which rolled him to UGA Georgia adds a key 2021 commit in Peach State product Jonathan Jefferson Amarius Mims: 5-star priority OT sets his commitment date Donovan Edwards: Priority 4-star RB feels UGA probably' gets an official visit The post Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE shares why Georgia made his top eight appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The University of Georgia athletics department could withstand the financial blow should the college football season be canceled on account of the coronavirus pandemic with more than $100 million available in reserve funds. UGA athletics director Greg McGarity never dreamed the Bulldogs' reserve fund could be tested to this extent and it still might not, with the world's finest scientists working to save lives and restore order. RELATED: Georgia football and The Masters doubleheader possible on Nov. 14 There are 330,891 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., including 7,558 in Georgia and 72 in UGA's home of Clarke County per the latest update on AJC.com at the time of this publication (April 7). The financial impact associated with medical costs, lost wages and social distancing provisions continues to skyrocket. Football season represents a deadline of sorts for a collegiate sports revenue model the relies heavily upon the sport. Former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer famously said that, 'Football is the engine that drives the revenue train.' At Georgia, the annual football revenue is approximately $70 million between ticket sales, seat donations and other peripheral income, not including Magill Society donations. And yet, should this season be derailed, UGA's 'Rainy Day Fund' has the means to withstand the equivalent of a financial hurricane. 'We are in a position to whether the storm for a period of time due to the conservative approach that's been a part of Georgia athletics dating back to the days of Joel Eaves,' said McGarity, who assumed his role in September of 2010. The same can't be said for the majority of other programs in the FBS ranks. Just 41 percent of Power 5 schools and 26 percent of Group of 5 schools have a reserve fund, according to data obtained from a recent Learfield/IMG Sport release. 'We're really in healthy shape, and we're one of the few that are,' McGarity said. 'You can only imagine the angst with institutions that don't have the financial reserves that we have.' What is the reserve fund? 'We see it as our rainy day fund,' McGarity told DawgNation. 'It's there to meet certain expectations and obligations that we have.' The fund is made up of money accrued from donations, unused revenue from previous years and investment income. Per the winter UGA board meeting, Georgia has a projected $17,879,325 remaining from the (fiscal year) 2020 reserves, along with $48,561,020 from long-term investments of reserves a total of $66,440,345. UGA deputy athletic director of finance Stephanie Ransom a former Bulldogs' All-American soccer player and marketing major said there's an additional $36,500,000 in general endowment money. That makes the total money available in reserve fund $102,940,345. McGarity explained that 'our best business practices recommends we have at least three months of operating expenses on hand' and in the reserve fund at all times. For example, Georgia has a $153 million annual athletic budget. Three months of that budget equals $38.25 million. So even setting aside that prescribed (not mandated) $38.25 million, along with the debt services of approximately $13 million UGA would still have $64,690,345 at its disposal. UGA legend Vince Dooley, the Bulldogs' head football coach (1964-1988) and athletic director (1979-2004), served in a more conservative era, athletic budgets nowhere near today's skyrocketing numbers. Dooley indicated last Sunday that Georgia, even then, factored worst-case scenarios into its financial planning. '. I n case the worst possible thing could happen,' Dooley told AJC.com columnist Mark Bradley on Sunday. 'I'm sure that (current UGA administrators) are doing the same thing. You've got to have that kind of reserve in case you get into a catastrophe, and this could be a catastrophe Magill Society Magic Georgia had approximately $97.7 million in the reserve fund in June of 2011, the fiscal year McGarity took office. And yet, athletics has invested more than $200 million in facilities in the past decade while still increasing the reserves. 'The difference maker has been the Magill Society,' McGarity said. 'If we didn't have those resources coming in from those 1,200 (1m198) donors things would be drastically different.' The Magill Society was founded in Sept. of 2015. At the end of that fiscal year, the reserve fund number had dipped to $74.5 million, because UGA had more than $20 million of work occurring at various facilities, including the indoor football building. McGarity makes no qualms about it, the Magill Society has been a game-charger and is at the heart of the Bulldogs' ability to maintain a strong and now pivotal reserve fund. 'They have donated or pledged more than $145 million toward our facilities (dating back to Sept. 2015,' McGarity said. 'Just think of our world if we didn't have the Magill Society step up. How would we pay for all of these new facilities.' Non-football projects, such as the soccer grandstand renovation (2018), the equestrian facility (2019) and the tennis facility renovation (Feb., 2020), continue to utilize reserve funds. Georgia football, meanwhile, has become competitive in the football facilities arms race with Magill Society funds, which have coincided with the immediate success football coach Kirby Smart. Kirby's impact Smart, much like the Magill Society, has been a game-changer in his own right. The athletics' budget game is the same, but with Smart leading the Bulldogs' program to elite status on an annual basis, the stakes are higher. RELATED: Kirby Smart more everywhere than ever before Staff and recruiting costs have increased since Smart was hired. Some $173 million has been spent on football facilities since the 2016 season, including $81 million going toward a new football building right now. It's a game of catch-up. According to one recent comparison, Georgia football facilities ranked just 8th in the SEC. McGarity, who has worked alongside Smart during the Bulldogs' current football boom, said if not for Magill donations, UGA would need to take more drastic measures to stay competitive in the football facilities arms race. 'We'd have had to do one of three things,' McGarity explained. 'One, we wouldn't have been able to build these sort of facilities, or two, we would have had to increase our ticket prices substantially. 'Or three, we would have had to drain the majority of our reserves.' But with Smart leading Georgia to three consecutive SEC Championship Games along with a Rose Bowl victory, a Sugar Bowl victory and a College Football Playoff Championship Game appearance in the past three years the funds have continued to roll in. Checks and balances Collegiate athletics financial portfolios are a complex web of funds chiefly generated from designated league money, donations, seat licenses and ticket revenue and endowments. There are checks and balances at each institutions, but they are often applied differently, unique to the respective schools' priorities and financial strategy. Georgia, over the years, has been criticized by many for not spending as aggressively as rival programs during the facilities arms race. Former UGA assistant and current Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt most notably called out the school for its lack of an indoor football facility at the end of Mark Richt's head coaching tenure. But Georgia, pre-Magill Society, simply didn't have the same revenue model in place to spend liberally while maintaining what many are now realizing is an integral reserve fund. McGarity, himself, took much of the blame for the school's conservative approach even though it pre-dated him back to Eaves and Dooley in the 1960s. 'What we do know is we've been fortunate to sleep at night throughout many years knowing we have the finical stability to whether a storm,' McGarity said. 'We just didn't know it could be a Category 5 Hurricane. 'We're cautiously optimistic that we won't have to utilize reserve funds or go down that path without football in the fall.' But should that day come, Georgia athletics is well-prepared to hunker down like few others. 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