Fans attending Georgia’s annual football game against Florida in Jacksonville won’t face a ticket price increase for at least another year.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told the Athletic Association’s board of directors Thursday that an increase for the cost of attending the rivalry game won’t come before 2012.
The board is likely to be asked to vote on the plan in the next board meeting in May.
Florida’s athletic board already approved a $10 per ticket increase in December, but McGarity is waiting before recommending an increase at Georgia.
“It takes two of us to tango, so to speak,” McGarity told the board at the meeting held at The Georgia Center. “We’re not ready to make that move yet.”
Tickets for the game are $40 for regularly priced seats and $70 for club level seats and haven’t increased since 2007.
Georgia and Florida split tickets to the game evenly.
Georgia is coming off a 6-7 season and has lost 18 of its last 21 games to the Gators.
McGarity said the plan he expects to present in May will include increasing prices for the game in two or three year increments.
“We’ve got to get with Florida,” said McGarity, who worked in Gainesville for 18 years before he returned to Georgia in September. “We did not settle on an amount. We just know there would be an increase but we want to be up front and be ahead of the game and let people know ahead of time.”
McGarity said he wanted to announce changes before donors made their contributions to the “Hartman Fund.” This year’s deadline was Feb. 15.
Contributions this year tied to football tickets are now at $22.5 million, down from $22.7 million last year. The number of donors making contributions stands at 13,742 from 14,002 last year.
In action taken Thursday, the board approved $1.4 million for an improved video board at Sanford Stadium to provide `HD video quality.’
“The technology is staggering how much can come in three or four years,” McGarity said.
Georgia currently has a 25 foot high by 46 feet wide screen that went up in 2005 as part of a new scoreboard.
The enhanced video capability will allow the picture to encompass the entire scoreboard, which is 52 feet high by 76 feet wide. That scoreboard will be gutted for the renovation.
“It allows us to have a full palette to do what we like,” McGarity said.
The technology, provided by Daktronics, allows for different formats including using the game score, game clock, down and distance or replays in full video.
“Nothing is static,” McGarity said. “At the team entry, you can go full video. If you want to have a situation there where you run halftime stats, you can pop them up there.”
Auburn, Florida and Florida State have similar technology already in their stadiums, said McGarity, who said the video board would be ready in time for the home opener against South Carolina on Sept. 10.
In other board business:
–The board approved a revised plan for student football ticket distribution designed so that more of the 18,000 tickets are actually used. The plan, which had the backing of student leaders, allows students to designate tickets to other Georgia students and for the use of unclaimed student tickets for purchase by the general public. A student who does not show up three times in a season will lose season tickets the following year.
–The board approved the issuance of up to $69.5 million in bonds to pay for the expansion of the Butts-Mehre Building and to refinance old debt.
–Adams told the board about an upcoming compliance review that will be done at Georgia. SEC schools get an outside review on a rotating basis, but this one will come at a time when league schools including Tennessee and Auburn have been under scrutiny.
“We have right now too much noncompliance in the SEC and we have too many rumors of noncompliance,” Georgia president Michael Adams said. “As much as I hate to get beat, I’d rather get beat and be in compliance.”
–McGarity said “we made a mistake,” when the school bumped the student who does his `Rocky’ run during the Vanderbilt game last week. The student, Tom Fell, didn’t make his run dressed like the movie boxer because the university sold his spot for a Geico ad.
Student board member Trey Sinyard told McGarity that students feel the games are already “overcommercialized.”
Said McGarity: “We’ve had internal discussions and have ensured the students that there are some things that are sacred and that’s sacred.” He added: “We did not run Rocky off.”
–The fall semester grades for Georgia’s athletes showed a decline from the spring of .08 for both the men and women. The men averaged 2.74 and the women 3.06 and the overall GPA was 2.91, down .07.
“We’re not happy with the slippage,” faculty athletic representative David Shipley said.
Men’s basketball improved from 2.54 to 2.81.
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