Less than two weeks before Georgia plays in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, the school has sold less than half of its ticket allotment for the New Year’s Eve game.
Fans have bought approximately 4,600 tickets for the game against Central Florida. Georgia was allotted 10,000 tickets.
Athletic director Greg McGarity said he told Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart this week that he expects Georgia’s final ticket sales to total between 5,500 and 6,000, including complimentary tickets for players, staff and guests.
"I think it’s proximity and how you do during the season," McGarity said. "Tennessee in Nashville is a natural. South Carolina in Atlanta is a natural. Kentucky in Birmingham would be just like us in Birmingham. You’re 6-6 and you’re going to a bowl that is a distance away. We weren’t going to be in Atlanta or Jacksonville. Am I disappointed? You’re always disappointed, but at the same time, we have to respect our fans."
Tennessee has sold out its allotment of 16,000 to the Music City Bowl in Nashville. South Carolina says it has sold about 15,100 from its 16,000-ticket allotment for the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
The Southeastern Conference will absorb the cost of up to 3,000 unsold tickets, McGarity said.
McGarity said the slow tickets sales could factor into Georgia losing money on the bowl trip.
"It’s possible," executive associate athletic director Frank Crumley said. "Our goal is to keep selling. We’re pushing them. Last year, we didn’t sell all of our (Independence Bowl) tickets and we operated in the black. It’s still too early to tell. … If you don’t sell the tickets, you have to pay for those right off the top. I think it’s going to be really close."
A Central Florida spokesman said Friday that the Orlando school has sold about 5,000 tickets and expects to sell between 6,000 and 6,500. It expects about 7,500 of its fans total, including those that purchased tickets outside the school’s allotment.
"I think one thing that might have hurt us is we were not in the bowl picture for many, many weeks," McGarity said. "We had a tough game against Georgia Tech. When you’re planning out your expendable income, it’s Christmas time, are we going to do a bowl and if we do go to a bowl where are we going? If we had won that sixth game earlier in the year, we could have sent our information out much earlier and gotten a jump on people."
Richt ‘very happy’ for Mettenberger
Georgia coach Mark Richt on Friday commented for the first time about former Bulldogs quarterback Zach Mettenberger signing on Wednesday with LSU on the first day junior college players could ink a National Letter of Intent.
"I’m very happy for him," Richt said. "I love Zach. I love his family. We’ve been knowing him since he was a peanut. I’m really glad he had the season that he had in junior college and he’s got a great opportunity at a great school."
The former Oconee County standout helped lead Butler County (Kan.) Community College to the junior college national championship game. He is expected to take part in spring drills and be available to play next fall.
Richt said that LSU coach Les Miles never talked to him about Mettenberger, who was dismissed from the team this spring and plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery following a spring break arrest near Valdosta,
Mettenberger must be approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse and his legal issues will be reviewed by a faculty board, according to Gannett Louisiana.
Glenn ‘curious’ about his NFL draft status
Junior offensive guard Cordy Glenn, one of several underclassmen considering leaving for the NFL, said he submitted paperwork to the NFL’s college advisory committee.
"I’m curious about what the NFL thinks of me," he said.
He said he will focus on his decision after the bowl game.
This and that
Quarterback commitment Christian LeMay from near Charlotte, N.C., attended practice Friday. Also at practice as a special guest were James Robert "Radio" Kennedy and former T.L. Hanna (S.C.) High School coach Harold Jones, who were featured in the 2003 movie "Radio." Kennedy was part of a group from Opportunity House in Lavonia. … Seventeen current and former Georgia players received their degrees at fall commencement on Friday. The current players were excused from practice, allowing younger players a chance to scrimmage during the one-hour session. "It’s fun to watch (transfer linebacker) Jarvis Jones play football," Richt said. "He likes to play. He likes the game. He’s a very instinctive player."