Dogs free to swing non-Nike bats

Nike won’t have the only baseball bats in Georgia’s rack when the upcoming season begins.

The Bulldogs will be able to use any bat of their liking both for fall workouts and during the 2012 season, including Nike competitors.

“We do have relief from Nike to use Nike bats as well as any other bats that we desire,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “They’ve basically agreed to let us have some flexibility with the bats. I think it’s a situation where we felt like we needed some flexibility to be able to use some other bats, not that we’re not going to use Nike, but maybe our young men like and have swung in high school. So they granted us some relief so we can use other bats that are manufactured by other manufacturers. It’s not that Nike has done anything wrong. It’s just that we want some flexibility to let kids use these other bats if they so desire.”

Nike has the contract to supply equipment and apparel for the Georgia athletic programs. But Nike baseball bats have received criticism for inferior performance compared to other manufacturers. The Tuscaloosa News reported on Tuesday that Alabama had been granted relief from its Nike bat contract along with every other Nike baseball bat client. The Tuscaloosa News had reported in May that six programs known to use Nike bats at the time — Georgia, Alabama, Southern Cal, Miami, North Carolina and Kentucky — hit 20 percent fewer home runs and their slugging percentages were 44 percent lower than the NCAA average.

McGarity said he was not familiar with other programs asking for relief. But he said that Georgia’s negotiations with the company have been going on for months and the relief could be in effect for the foreseeable future.

“We’re focused on this year but it think it’s from here on out,” McGarity said.

Last season, the NCAA introduced new bat specifications designed to better-recreate the effects of a wooden bat. Offensive production dropped across the board not only for Georgia, but almost every school in major college baseball.

Georgia will not try to negotiate an exclusive bat supplier. But it will open the doors to any model, including Nike, as long as it conforms to NCAA regulations.

“We would not have a contract that would pay us any revenue,” McGarity said. “That’s not part of the deal. We didn’t care about that. We just wanted to be able to use other bats and I’m sure that other companies will provide complimentary bats. This is not a situation where we would receive compensation from any other bat company. That’s not the purpose.”

Georgia DL Taylor arrested for aggravated assault

by Marc Weiszer

Georgia defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor was arrested early Tuesday on a charge of felony aggravated assault/family violence. It’s his second arrest this offseason, putting his status on the... Full Story

Follow marcweiszer

marcweiszer

#UGA DL Jonathan Taylor charged with assault in incident in which police say female victim ‘possibly strangled’ http://t.co/MERlhnfslU

2 hours ago