TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of Georgia Tech Athletics
FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics
Since we are turning the calendar to October today, it must mean that we are into the “2nd quarter” of our 2009 football season. I always like to break the season down into four 3-game segments with the idea that we need to win each and every “quarter.” This year our first “quarter” was played in record time. Three games in 12 days. We came out of that challenge at 2-1 with wins over Jacksonville State and Clemson. Excuses aside, there is no doubt in my mind we were a tired football team when we traveled to Miami.
Our second “quarter” got off to a great start last Saturday with a resounding victory over North Carolina. Mississippi State and Florida State, both on the road, make up the rest of this 3-game set that gets us to the halfway point of the year. I know many of you are planning on traveling to Starkville and Tallahassee over the next couple of weeks to cheer on our Jackets. I salute those of you who will be road warriors. For those of you who will be watching the Jackets from afar, please note that the Mississippi State game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. CSS (Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast) will televise the Georgia Tech at Mississippi State football game across the Southeast. In metro Atlanta, the game can be seen on Comcast channel 45, Charter channel 37, or in HD on Comcast channel 805.
To see what channel CSS is on your cable system, you can visit www.css-sports.com to find the channel for CSS on the system that serves your area. The game will also be available on ESPN GamePlan (pay-per-view) and ESPN360 (internet broadcast) nationally.
The Florida State game on October 10th will also be a night game for network television. That one will kick off at 8 p.m. and can be seen on either ABC or ESPN in prime time. That’s great exposure for the Georgia Tech program.
And speaking of exposure, let me comment briefly on a couple of former Tech greats who are bringing great pride to all of us. Many of you already know that Pat Swilling will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December. Pat becomes the 17th Yellow Jacket to be honored – an incredible total. As a warm-up to Pat’s induction in New York City, we will be honoring him here at Bobby Dodd Stadium at the Virginia Tech game on October 17th. He and his family, who now reside in New Orleans, will be on hand for our homecoming weekend festivities.
You may have noticed that we have added Pat’s name to our Hall of Fame façade on the east side of the stadium. There is also a new feature this year that honors our two members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I would like to thank Billy Williamson and Chick Graning, captains of our 1961 team, for coming forward to point out that Billy Shaw and Joe Guyon are Tech’s only two members of the prestigious Pro Football shrine. They were particularly passionate that we honor our good friend Billy Shaw with such a recognition within the stadium and we were happy to do so.
We also have plans in the works for an in-stadium display to honor our only retired number. Clint Castleberry’s No. 19 will be recognized at a ceremony that I believe will take place at our Wake Forest game. In case you missed it, Wes Durham had a very informative article about Clint in his “Toe Meets Leather” column in last week’s game program.
And how about Calvin Johnson’s recent honor this week, when he was named to the Sporting News “All-Decade” Team. We are so proud of Calvin and are honored that he continues to come back to Tech as often as his schedule allows. Of course it also affords him an opportunity to visit with his mom and dad, Arica and Calvin, here in Atlanta.
And of course, you know it wouldn’t be a typical Good Word column without a word or two on tickets. With the Georgia game sold out, let’s get busy on our other two remaining home games – Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. I don’t have to tell you the magnitude that the Virginia Tech game could have in the ACC race. A few good seats still remain. Grab them up!
And the Wake Forest game presents a great group ticket opportunity. For groups of 10 or more, we will offer tickets to the Wake game at a 50-percent discount, or $25. Put together some folks from your business, your church, your recreation league, your gym or your neighborhood and come out together for a great time.
And basketball tickets are on sale and moving rapidly. We have men’s basketball season tickets available in all price ranges. Please help us spread the word that Georgia Tech basketball is not sold out. However, this is a very limited window to lock down some great seats in the Alexander Memorial Coliseum for years to come. You know the drill by now. Call 1-888-TECH-TIX (1-888-832-4849), or it’s a piece of cake to purchase season tickets on line at www.ramblinwreck.com/tickets.
In closing today, I thought I’d give you just a little insight into the inner-workings of the membership of the NCAA. I have the pleasure of serving with a group of colleagues on what is called the NCAA’s Recruiting Cabinet. Our charge is to make recommendations as to ways we can make the recruiting process for all sports fair and equitable. I am just back from two days of meetings with this group and would tell you that over the next year or so, we will be looking at the entire NCAA recruiting model. Some of you may find interesting the list of guiding principles we will use during our examination of this far-ranging recruiting process:
1. Maintain competitive equity and fairness across all institutions. The recruiting model should continue to provide each institution a fair opportunity to participate in the recruiting process in an equitable yet competitive manner, consistent with NCAA Constitution 2.11 (principle governing recruiting).
2. Minimize interference with prospective student-athletes’ scholastic and athletics activities (i.e., prospective student-athlete well-being). The recruiting model should minimize undue pressure that may interfere with a prospective student-athlete’s scholastic and athletics activities, consistent with Constitution 2.11, while providing reasonable opportunities for coaches to engage in recruiting activities during times that would not interfere with a prospective student-athlete’s scholastic or athletics activities.
3. Ensure clarity of legislation. The recruiting model should contain legislation that is clearly written and provides institutional staff, coaches and prospective student-athletes an opportunity to reasonably understand the application.
4. Simplify and deregulate recruiting communication legislation. The recruiting model should address communication methods and frequency in a manner that is based on sound principles rather than detailed distinctions between various methods and timing, especially in the dynamic environment of today’s culture.
5. Consideration of monitoring and enforcement issues. The recruiting model should balance the need for regulations with the ability to reasonably monitor and enforce those regulations. The responsibility to monitor compliance with the legislation should continue to exist, but should shift in emphasis to areas that could provide a significant advantage rather than those that provide only a perceived or minimal advantage. Further, the penalties associated with recruiting violations should outweigh any risk associated with violating the legislation in order to serve as a deterrent for future abuse.
6. Support needs of institutional coaches. The recruiting model should continue to be responsive to coaches to ensure the model supports and addresses the needs and concerns of coaches in order to provide them opportunities for success.
7. Resource effectiveness and efficiencies. The recruiting model should be flexible to provide institutions the discretion to use their resources in an effective and efficient manner.
8. Consideration of sport-specific legislation. The recruiting model should recognize the issues associated with certain sports while ensuring that any sport-specific legislation is clearly supported by unique circumstances that warrant distinctions.
Just a little glimpse into issues that effect all of us in intercollegiate athletics nation-wide. I will keep you updated periodically as we begin this important work for the organization.
Official practice begins in two weeks, and some of the pre-season magazines are already beginning to show up on news stands. Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook lists Georgia Tech No. 13 in its pre-season national rankings and projects the Yellow Jackets to finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The yearbook also tabs junior forward Gani Lawal to the All-ACC team and freshman forward Derrick Favors as its ACC Rookie of the Year.
In addition, Lawal is on the pre-season Top 50 Watch List for the John R. Wooden Award, given to the national player of the year.
Georgia Tech is hosting its annual Fall Invitational this weekend at the Bill Moore Tennis Center. Twelve teams are sending players for open singles and doubles competition. Play begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and admission is free.
As with the men’s team, our women’s team is also receiving some preseason acknowledgment on the news stands. Athlon lists Georgia Tech No. 9 in its preseason rankings and Sporting News ranks the Yellow Jackets No. 15. This is the first time the women’s basketball program has ever been listed in a top-10 team ranking.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
Our swimming and diving teams begin the 2009-10 season by hosting a meet with Alabama, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast and Georgia Southern Saturday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. 2008-09 ACC Male Swimmer of the Year Gal Nevo returns to the men’s team which finished 19th at the NCAA meet last season. Nevo was a two-time All-American and set a pair of ACC and Tech records. On the women’s side, two-time All-American diver Hannah Krimm returns to a squad which set 10 school records a year ago.