Why doesn’t Georgia have a men’s soccer program?
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Why UGA doesn’t have a men’s soccer program
The World Cup began Thursday in Russia, which is super exciting if you like soccer. Not only do I like soccer, I write about it when I’m not blogging about the Dawgs. And that cross-section of interests has opened me up to a question I’ve received time and again from Georgia fans in the buildup to the Cup: Why doesn’t Georgia have a varsity men’s soccer program?
The short and unsophisticated answer is Title IX, which, in part, requires schools to give scholarships to men and women in roughly the same proportion of the male-female student population ratio. Georgia has 11 women’s varsity programs to eight men’s. Considering 57 percent of Georgia’s student body is made up of women and the fact that the football team alone doles out 85 scholarships, enough for two or three teams in other sports, there isn’t any wiggle room to add another men’s program without adding another women’s program as well.
Which is all to say that it’s exceedingly unlikely Georgia ever brings a men’s soccer team on board, but not impossible. As I noted, Title IX is proportional, so Georgia would just need the money to support another varsity women’s program in addition to the new soccer team. If some wealthy donors were really passionate about bringing a men’s team to Athens and put pressure on the athletic department, they could find a way to get it done. But the support has never been there, aside from every four years or so when this question comes up. While the passion for soccer may be growing in America — and in Georgia, specifically, where Atlanta United has taken off over the last year — the passion for college soccer isn’t growing as strong. And if Georgia were to add another men’s sport, there are sure to be at least a handful of boosters who would rather see wrestling or lacrosse added.
There’s also the fact that the SEC, in general, doesn’t take part in men’s soccer. Only Kentucky and South Carolina have men’s programs, and they both compete in Conference USA. The lack of a conference is a small issue in the grand scheme, but it’s still big enough to be a legitimate excuse. And, honestly, what’s even the point of playing a sport if you can’t beat Florida?
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Dawgs at the U.S. Open
The U.S. Open is underway at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and a former Dawgs golfer is atop the leaderboard after Round 1. Russell Henley was tied with four others at 1-under par after shooting a 69 on the first day of play on Long Island.
“I just feel like I’m coming in with a good mindset,” Henley said, according to Sporting News. “I got to see the course two times. I like the golf course. I feel like this next half of the year is going to be good for me. I think I’m going to play well, and I’m excited to — I’m excited to play. I think that’s the biggest thing is if you can be excited to play golf, then that can always help you.”
As far as other former Georgia golfers go, Brian Harman is tied for 37th at 4-over par, and Kevin Kisner and Bubba Watson are tied for 88th at 7-over par. You can check here for tournament tee times.
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 15, 2018
The difference a year can make
Considering I righteously blasted Greg McGarity for Georgia failing to finish in the top 10 of the Director’s Cup standings last year, it’s only fair that I give him credit for finishing in the top 10 this year. From Chip Towers of DawgNation:
The final calculations for the NACDA Learfield Cup standings have not been done pending the completion of the baseball season. But the Bulldogs currently rank No. 9 in those quantitative standings and cannot fall back. In fact, Georgia is expected to move up based on point-distribution projections from baseball. The Bulldogs, who lost in the NCAA Regional finals, should move ahead of No. 8 Florida State, which went two-and-out in its regional.
The College World Series gets underway this weekend with three SEC participants: Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi State. Only the Gators, at No. 4, are ranked ahead of Georgia and neither the Razorbacks (24) or the Maroon Dogs (41) are in position to run down the Bulldogs.
“It’s an indicator of the success that our coaches and student-athletes enjoyed this year,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said.
It really was a special year for Georgia sports, any way you look at it. I’m not particularly magnanimous, so I’ll just silently tip my cap to McGarity and let the good Senator Blutarsky speak for me: “Congratulations to all, even those in Butts-Mehre, who may have finally figured out how to stay out of the way and let good coaches do their thing.”
Chris Low of ESPN ranked the 10 easiest nonconference schedules in college football, and Georgia’s, which features Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee, UMass and Georgia Tech, came in at No. 9.
On its way to an SEC championship and appearance in the national title game last season, Georgia played two nonconference games against Power 5 opponents, both on the road. But Notre Dame comes off the schedule this season, and Kirby Smart’s club won’t have to leave Sanford Stadium for any of its four games out of conference.
Georgia Tech is a rivalry game, and the Yellow Jackets have won each of their past two trips to Athens. Even so, this is a nonconference slate tailor-made for the Dawgs to be 4-0.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) June 14, 2018
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) June 15, 2018
See ball. Get ball.
This pup takes his ball boy job VERY seriously 🤣
— ESPN (@espn) June 14, 2018
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