As Pam and I drove Wesley and a classmate to the airport for a trip to New York City early Saturday morning, Wesley made an observation.
"This will be my first airplane trip when I'm not going to a football game," he said.
I almost locked down the brakes in the middle of I-20 and returned home. Umph, I thought. The very idea of spending all this money on a trip and there is no football game at the end of it. That's the ultimate rip-off in my mind.
This week's question comes from one George P. Burdell. All I can tell you about him is that judging by his e-mail address he is a Georgia Tech fan. His question confirms it. He writes, "If only 13 of the 19 recruits of great and wonderful Mark Richt can get into UGAg, how many of those(laugh) student-athletes could get into a real college?"
First, some background information. UGAg is what Tech fans that vent and blog regularly on the internet call the University of Georgia. This is much like what I trained my kids to do when they were little. Any time we rode by the Tech campus in Atlanta on a family trip they learned to automatically hold their noses. Likewise, apparently just the thought of the Red and Black make Techies gag.
Secondly, the great and wonderful Mark Richt is the UGA football coach that has won all four games that he has coached against Georgia Tech. These wins pushed Georgia to an overall series lead against the Yellow Jackets of 56 wins, 36 losses and five ties, including a record of 25-10 since 1970. It's great and wonderful that even Tech fans like Mr. Burdell, like Georgia fans, recognize that Coach Richt is great and wonderful.
Thirdly, Georgia signed 19 high school recruits in February. The University's admissions office denied entrance to five of these recruits because they did not meet academic requirements. One of these five was offered a scholarship by the Florida Gators but chose to attend prep school instead. Another recruit was admitted to East Carolina University to play for the Pirates this fall. The other three decided to attend either prep school or junior college. A sixth recruit will be unable to play this year due to a severe knee injury.
In 2004, one Georgia recruit was denied admission due to a disciplinary problem while in the 10th grade. This young man was admitted to the University of Arkansas where he started for the Razorbacks against Georgia last season. I thought that situation was very ironic. This kid's troubles kept him out of UGA but a fellow SEC school unashamedly scooped him right up and used him to try to beat the Dogs.
Coach Richt's take on the matter is to recruit the football player to help win games in the SEC, but if the admissions office sees fit to deny their entrance, so be it. Richt does not want to pass on a superior athlete on signing day in February while waiting on his qualifying college entrance exam scores until the spring or summer. He knows full well that he would see these players again, lining up against him wearing orange or navy.
As for Mr. Burdell's question about how many could get into a real college. The only answer I can offer is 15 of the recruits were definitely admitted to a real college. Fourteen were admitted to UGA and one to East Carolina. I won't venture a guess as to the quality of education at any prep school or junior college because I never attended one.
I know for a fact that UGA is a very real college. For some reason, they usually turn out to be extra real on the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. With the great and wonderful Coach Richt at the helm, I expect it to stay that way.