From: T. Kyle King
To: Damon Evans
Date: March 5, 2006
Re: The Movement
Dear Mr. Evans:
I hope this message finds you doing well. I am writing to follow up with you on a letter I sent to you in January. I know this is a busy time of year for the athletic association, so I thought it best to follow up with this e-mail.
As a fellow University of Georgia alumnus, football season ticket holder, and lifelong Bulldog fan, I want to commend you for the fine work that you have done since succeeding Coach Dooley as athletic director and to offer a suggestion, to which I hope you will give serious consideration.
Upon assuming the duties of your office, you moved swiftly and deliberately to improve the standing of University of Georgia athletics, not just regionally, but nationally, and your efforts have been most effective. The "branding" of the University's athletic teams has garnered deserved attention and, in the wake of the restoration of our football program to national prominence by Coach Richt, you have done an effective job of upgrading the Bulldogs' non-conference scheduling by arranging for Georgia to take on such teams as Arizona State, Boise State, Colorado, and Louisville, as well as resuming the longstanding rivalry with Clemson.
As a supporter of Georgia athletics, I am grateful to you for the fine job you have done and, as you continue to work on behalf of our alma mater, I would respectfully recommend that you further the progress that has been made by pursuing a possibility that has been the subject of much discussion on the internet; namely, scheduling a home and home series between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Michigan Wolverines.
There can be little doubt that such a series would serve the objectives of increasing the national profile of the Red and Black while significantly strengthening a non-conference schedule you have steadily worked to improve.
The 'Dawgs have paid two visits to Ann Arbor already, most recently in 1965, and it is only fitting that you arrange for the Bulldogs to return to "The Big House," inasmuch as your leadership has been responsible for the scheduling of Georgia's first regular season road game outside the Southeast since the Bulldogs last faced the Wolverines 40 years ago.
As you are aware, other Southeastern Conference squads have taken on traditional powers from outside our region in recent years. Alabama has played Oklahoma, Tennessee has played Notre Dame, and Auburn has played Southern Cal. Next September, Vanderbilt will be opening the season on the road against Michigan.
Your efforts to place Georgia's out-of-conference scheduling on a similar plane are commendable and I hope the Bulldogs can take the next step by taking on an historic program such as Michigan's.
I am, of course, conscious of the fact that it is important for the team to play a certain number of home games in order to maintain the financial health of the University's athletic program. Furthermore, scheduling tough opponents from outside the region can be difficult because the neutral site series with Florida guarantees the loss of at least one home game every other year and the in-state rivalry with Georgia Tech ensures that the 'Dawgs will end the season against a difficult non-conference opponent each autumn.
Fortunately, the advent of the 12-game regular season will alleviate such financial pressures somewhat and the improvement of the Bulldogs' non-conference schedule carries with it the promise of greater dividends being paid in the future. A contest between Georgia and Michigan in Sanford Stadium would be lucrative for the University in the short term, but the fringe benefits of such a series could prove highly valuable in the long term.
Let us consider the college football season just concluded. The two most high-profile contests between cross-sectional opponents in non-conference games were, of course, Texas's win at Ohio State and Southern Cal's win at Notre Dame. Each of those match-ups garnered national attention and the focus of the college football world was on Columbus and on South Bend, respectively, on those days.
The winners of those games used those victories to catapult themselves into the Rose Bowl, where they played for the national championship. Even the losers of those games benefited handsomely, however, as the Buckeyes and the Fighting Irish were able to parlay close losses in marquee games into successful seasons that ended in B.C.S. bids to the Fiesta Bowl.
A pair of Georgia-Michigan games, one in Ann Arbor and one in Athens, could have a similar positive impact upon both the Bulldogs and the Wolverines, irrespective of the outcome. The alternative might be to lose points in the national polls for failing to schedule an out-of-conference opponent of such a high caliber, which could lead to a year in which Georgia suffered the same fate as Auburn did in 2004.
The national attention given to, and obvious benefits arising from, the Longhorns' trip to the Horseshoe provide cause for confidence that Georgia would profit handsomely from scheduling Michigan in the near future.
At a time when the University of Georgia's athletic director is working successfully to improve the national profile of Bulldog athletics and to strengthen the Red and Black's football schedule, and at a time when the University of Georgia's football coach has guided the team to 44 wins, four top 10 finishes, and two conference championships in the last four seasons, the moment to seize such an opportunity appears perfect and I would therefore encourage you to contact the athletic director at the University of Michigan to find out whether such a series might be scheduled, for the benefit of both schools and of college football as a sport.
I thank you for your diligent efforts on behalf of our University and its athletic program. I hope you will consider the suggestion I have offered and, in any case, I send my best wishes to your family and you for a healthy and happy 2006.
T. Kyle King (B.A. '90, J.D. '97)