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Weighing in on Adams-Dooley

I know what many of you have been saying. "Okay Walker, you big-mouthed know-it-all, Mr. Georgia Bulldog cheerleader; it's been a year now and you've yet to weigh in on the Adams/Dooley/UGA Foundation controversy." The wondering is over; here you have it.

Along with Sherwood Clements and Terry Barber, I was in the group that marched on the capital and Board of Regents' offices in Atlanta last July. We were there in support of Vince Dooley, an effort that fell on deaf, or I should say, no ears. With the glaring lights, cameras and microphones of Atlanta TV stations in my face, I asked what I thought was the $64,000 question, "Why does Adams want Coach Dooley out?"

I have read every tidbit written on this matter in Georgia's major newspapers. I have yet to read an analytical column by any media that has even ventured a guess as to why Dooley needed to go. Adams has steadfastly hid behind the "it's my call" standard issue statement. With all my reading I have yet to see where Adams has allowed himself to truly be put on the spot. I blame this on the state's media as much as I do him.

Like or hate Vince Dooley, agree or disagree with his decisions as athletic director, he and the Bulldog Nation deserved more than a power play from Adams. Some of the University's most loyal and dedicated alumni demanded more, but all they've gotten is a big, fat "mind your own business." It is their business.

Ironically the Board of Regents may have pulled other schools in the university system into this tug-of-war. The Regents and Chancellor Tom Meredith recently ordered Adams to sever ties between UGA and the fund-raising body of the school, the UGA Foundation. The Foundation had threatened to withhold their share of Adam's salary, which turns out to be more than half of his $500,000 plus package. The Regents called this a supplement. That's like calling federal income tax a tip to Uncle Sam.

The Regents are reportedly discussing ordering foundations at Georgia Tech, Georgia State, MCG and a couple other schools to stop "supplementing" their president's pay. I can just imagine the e-mails from those institution's presidents to Michael Adams now. Do you think they read like Christmas cards? If Georgia taxpayers have to replace this private money, it'll sing to the tune of about $1.5 million, over $600,000 for Georgia State's president alone.

And you thought Georgia athletics wasn't important. If Michael Adams had simply left Vince Dooley alone, none of this mess would have ever occurred. It's not like Dooley had torched the campus. In fact he, as much as anyone, helped build it. The chancellor and regents are backing Mikey so it won't appear that redneck football fans are dictating to them.

My money is on the regents bluffing about pulling the supplements. It would be political suicide to ask Georgia citizens to give four college presidents that kind of money when it has been flowing in from private donors for years.

And another thing, Vince Dooley can show up at a Girl Scout marshmallow roast in this state and get a standing ovation. Michael Adams will never again be able to set foot in a public gathering without wondering if he'll get booed back to his fortress on Prince Avenue, or Buckhead or Costa Rica.

Dooley has been forced into retirement at the end of this month. Adams has forced himself into oblivion.

Web posted on Friday, June 11, 2004

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