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Georgia Bulldogs Still Have Tickets Available for Football Opener Against Boise State Broncos

I was pleased, then dismayed, to learn that I, along with all my fellow Hartman Fund donors, will be receiving all the tickets I ordered for the Georgia Bulldogs’ season opener against the Boise St. Broncos in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in the Georgia Dome.

The Bulldogs’ second series meeting with Boise State is a very big deal. It was one thing for the Liberty Bowl to be half-empty for a game against the Central Florida Knights that no one, not even the Bulldogs themselves, wanted Georgia to play, but, for a game taking place at a neutral site in downtown Atlanta against a prominent opponent on Labor Day weekend, season ticket holders shouldn’t be getting e-mails like this one, which I received this morning:

William C. Hartman Jr. Fund contributors - request your tickets to see UGA take on Boise State at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday, September 3, 2011 (Kickoff at 8 PM)!

Requests will be assigned based upon Hartman Fund cumulative score. Remaining tickets are upper level, and are $55 per person.

A limited number of remaining tickets are available! Log in to your account and submit your request today!

Please note: All previous requests for Boise State tickets made via your 2011 ticket application will be fulfilled.

I’m glad I’m getting the tickets I ordered, but I’m not happy about the reason, and I’m particularly concerned that we seem to have trouble moving our share of the tickets. If fans are turning down the chance to eat a Chick-fil-A spicy chicken sandwich while watching the ‘Dawgs face the Broncos in the Georgia Dome, either the economy is worse even than I’d thought or fan discontent is greater even than I’d feared.

What happens on the field in Atlanta will say a lot about the progress of the football team, but what happens in the stands likewise represents a referendum in which boosters will vote with their butts, or the lack thereof. Every empty seat that ought to have been occupied by a fan clad in red and black provides Greg McGarity with 55 reasons for concern about his constituency’s take on the state of the program.

Whatever lessons about patience, vel non, McGarity learned during his years in Gainesville---and the fact that Jay Clark still has a job suggests strongly that our athletic director is not as quick on the trigger as his old boss, Jeremy Foley---he surely is conscious of the bottom line, and he knows that his other old boss, Vince Dooley, made no moves during the disappointing football seasons of 1993 and 1994, but he set forth a mandate for "significant improvement" when fan disappointment yielded fewer dollars in the athletic association coffers in 1995.

I, for one, will be in the Georgia Dome on September 3, cheering for my team and for the head coach who leads them. However, if the ticket office is having to send out e-mails in May urging contributors to attend a season opener as important as this one, there surely are administrators in higher offices in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall who are looking at numbers other than those that show up on scoreboards, and frowning.

Go ‘Dawgs!