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There has been a furor among Bulldogs fans about the lack of investment in the fan experience at Sanford Stadium ever since athletic director Greg McGarity, president Jere Morehead and coach Kirby Smart announced $63 million in renovations to the west end zone. Among those renovations are a new locker room and a recruiting room. Not among them: improvements to the horrific bathroom situation or a way to curb congestion in the concourse and at concession stands.
Seth Emerson of DawgNation kicked off the firestorm concerning the bathrooms by asking McGarity about them at the presser for the dedication of the indoor practice facility. McGarity basically sidestepped the question and said they plan to get to it, maybe, one day.
“You prioritize stuff as they become important,” he said. “A master plan, it probably touches every facility that we have. So, there’s a lot of other projects for other facilities that are in a master plan. But a lot of things are important as we go on, and some things rise to the level of importance.”
Any place you look where folks are talking about the bathroom situation, you’ll see fan after fan (rightfully) gripe about the sorry state of the bathrooms at Sanford. Bill King of Junkyard Blawg and Senator Blutarsky of Get The Picture had good pieces, with tons of comments from fans. The crappy bathroom situation — I’m so sorry — is something that has kept fans away from Sanford, and it’ll probably keep more away in the future. But don’t think it will change anything with regards to Georgia’s facilities.
McGarity, Morehead and Smart have done the simple calculus. You can build a diehard fan base with a winning football team, but you can’t build a winning football team with a diehard fan base. When you win enough games, a lot of people will be willing to put up with long lines at the urinal.
It’s unfortunate because they are right. The general consensus among Bulldogs fans seems to be that if the fan base, collectively, wants to do something to improve the situation at Sanford, it will need to walk with its wallet: by not putting butts in seats or dollars in the athletic department’s coffers. And that’s all well and good when nothing is going the program’s way.
If and when Georgia starts competing for titles again, fans will flock to Sanford Stadium, no matter the state of disrepair. But if they renovated the bathrooms to be top of the line, then stayed at the level we’ve seen for the last half decade, you’d still see empty corners in the stadium every Saturday. They’re taking advantage of fans because we’re irrational and because they know they can. It really stinks, but what can you do? Because I’m sure as heck not going to miss a game if Georgia is on a championship run, even if that means standing in line for 30 minutes to pee in a trough.