A fiscal year 2016 budget of $117,419,039, information on the Indoor Athletic Facility location, and contract extension for basketball coach Mark Fox were among the highlights of the Thursday spring meeting of the University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors.
The approved budget for fiscal year 2016 represents a significant increase over the 2015 budget of $99,850,500 million.
Information on the Indoor Athletic Facility and it’s preferred location was presented by J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. That location would adjoin the northeast corner of the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall complex addition and extends northward alongside Rutherford Drive to the north end of the current grass practice field. Target date to begin construction would be January, 2016. Further information and funding plan are expected to be available at the Fall, 2015, Board meeting.
The two-year contract extension for Fox will extend him through the 2019-20 basketball season with annual compensation at $2 million plus a $150,000 per year longevity bonus which he would collect at the end of the 2020 season. The Board also approved a two-year contract extension for McGarity which will go through June 30, 2019.
McGarity’s report to the Board also included an additional $1 million which the Athletic Association will give back to the University which was approved by the Board. This would be in addition to the $4 million the Association is already committed to giving back this fiscal year. President Jere W. Morehead indicated the $1 million would serve as the lead gift in the University’s new Experiential Learning Initiative.
“The Athletic Association has a long history of giving back to the University of Georgia,” said McGarity. “Our Athletic Association has annually designated funds for this purpose which in the last ten years alone has amounted to over $23 million dollars. It is our intention in the coming years to remain in position to further assist the University in so many meaningful ways.”
Faculty Athletics Representative David Shipley presented the academic report which included the recent 3.06 grade point average achieved by all student-athletes for spring semester—the highest GPA on record for one semester. It also represents the fifth consecutive semester the overall GPA of all student-athletes has been 3.0 or better. He also noted that two UGA student-athletes will be honored with the two highest SEC awards during next week’s league meetings. Swimmer Maddie Locus will receive the H. Boyd McWhorter Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor while football player Chris Conley will be the recipient of the Brad Davis Award for outstanding community service.
Regarding the contract extension, McGarity said he and Fox discussed an extension following the season. “I am very pleased the Board approved the extension today,” said McGarity. “And we are very appreciative of the leadership Mark provides to our basketball program. Mark continues to build on the solid foundation he has established as our head coach.”
“Six years ago I envisioned that together we could heal and build a great basketball program at the University of Georgia,” said Fox. “The collective efforts of many people now allow us to praise our team on the court, in the classroom, and in our community. This pride, along with the passion of the Dawg Nation, provide great energy as we strive to achieve even higher levels of success. I am grateful for the continued support from our board, Greg, and President Morehead. It is an honor to work each day with people that share the same values and commitment.”
Deputy Director of Athletics Carla Williams provided information on student wellness initiatives implemented by the Athletic Association. Included are programs addressing financial literacy, personal responsibility and career management. She also noted the Association will take advantage of new NCAA flexibility to provide cost of attendance in addition to the traditional scholarship and also maximizing food allowances.
Davis Parker, student representative on the Board, provided information regarding proposed changes to better manage the stadium entry process for students. He also noted a random student ticket lottery could be implemented dependent upon ticket demand for certain games.
Former UGA and New Orleans Saints football player Jon Stinchcomb of Lawrenceville and Judge Lisa Wood of Brunswick were also nominated and approved as new members of the Board of Directors. They will replace Swann Seiler of Savannah and Mack Guest of Athens who were approved as emeritus members.
Gymnast Mary Beth Box and track and field athlete Kisean Smith were approved as the new student-athlete representatives to the Board.