A day after the ACC football schedule was released, Tulane’s unfinished football stadium in New Orleans created an unwanted open date for Georgia Tech. Tulane, which was scheduled to play the Yellow Jackets on Sept. 6, informed Tech on Thursday night that it would pay the $300,000 cancellation fee to get out of the teams’ four-game series.
Tulane officials do not believe that their new stadium will be completed in time for the game and wanted to move it to later in the season. Such a move was not feasible for Tech — it could require rearranging the 14-team ACC schedule — and Tulane was not willing to play the game in the Superdome or play at Tech in 2014 and at Tulane in 2015. That would leave the Green Wave with only five home games in 2014.
Finding a game less than eight months before kickoff is a considerable challenge. Games often are scheduled years in advance. Tech’s preference is to find an FBS opponent and not have to schedule two FCS teams, as it did a year ago in Elon and Alabama A&M. Senior associate athletic director Ryan Bamford said he had a “couple FBS’s” that he was speaking with, but that options were few at this late date.
“That’s the tricky part,” he said. “At this point of the year, you can’t move a lot of parts. … I’m going to do everything in my power to try to make it an FBS.”
Tulane and Tech were to play in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019.
Minor violations: Tech self-reported six minor NCAA violations in October and November 2013, all of which appear inadvertent. They involved the football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball teams. The information was received through an open-records request.
Among them, the school reported that men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory used junior-college players from Gordon State College at a Georgia Minority Coaches Association clinic in October. The action was interpreted as an impermissible player evaluation of a prospective student-athlete. Gregory was required to undergo a rules-education session, a review of the clinic-approval process and received a letter of admonishment.
The school reported two violations by the football program, one dating to the release of the team’s “The Process” preseason video series. In one, strength-and-conditioning coach John Sisk was filmed threatening consequences for team members arriving late to a summer workout. It was a violation because the workouts are considered voluntary. The video was removed and, among other punishments, a football practice in August was shortened by 12 minutes.
Speaking of all the violations, athletic director Mike Bobinski said, “Those are all really benign things, the sort of things that, if you’ve got good systems in place and good people paying attention to what they’re doing, you’re going to catch some of those things. Some of it is hard not to step in once in a while, particularly with some of those small-violation type things.”
New team? At the quarterly Georgia Tech Athletic Association board of trustees meeting Thursday, school president G.P. “Bud” Peterson mentioned the possibility of adding a women’s varsity team in the future. In a discussion about a recently refurbished on-campus recreation field, Peterson said that the plan was to renovate it in such a way that it would be an NCAA-regulation soccer or lacrosse field to prepare for the possibility of such a team.
That is a long-range possibility that likely would be considered only if the school’s male-female ratio shifted and required the addition of a women’s varsity sport for the school to remain in Title IX compliance.
Bobinski called it “a very long-term issue.”
Running even: The athletic department is on track to break even for the 2014 fiscal year. Ticket-sales revenue for football and men’s basketball were about $300,000 below budget, but that was offset by salary savings from open positions and lower-than-projected scholarship expenses. The budget is $66.9 million.
The distribution from the ACC, largely proceeds from the league’s contract with ESPN, will increase by $5.5 million over projected estimates to about $23 million. The increase is due, among other things, to the grant-of-rights agreement among ACC member schools struck in April 2013 and the addition of Notre Dame.