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Are Hartman Fund Contributors Sending the Signal That Mark Richt's Job is Not Yet in Real Jeopardy?

While I agree with Senator Blutarsky’s critique of Seth Emerson’s thoughts on Mark Richt’s job security, I’m starting to come around to the school of thought that Coach Richt’s seat may not be as hot as we think in 2011.

Assuming the Georgia Bulldogs are in store for a season that is neither stellar nor shameful---say, an 8-4 regular season, a second-place finish in the SEC East, and a win in the Chick-fil-A or Outback Bowl---the decision may come down to which of his former bosses, Vince Dooley or Jeremy Foley, Greg McGarity is most inclined to emulate, but, to the considerable extent that this decision will be dictated by the bottom line, recent developments are breaking in favor of maintaining the status quo, staff-wise:

Assignment of football season tickets, as well as a portion of single-game home and away tickets, for the 2011 season has taken place, The Georgia Bulldog Club announced today. . . .

Those patrons who ordered additional non-renewable season tickets will not have their order fulfilled and will be issued a refund. . . .

South Carolina: No single game tickets were available for this game as South Carolina receives the maximum allotment for a visiting team. . . .

Auburn: No single game tickets were available for this game as Auburn receives the maximum allotment for a visiting team.

Although all Hartman Fund contributors who ordered Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Kentucky tickets had their orders filled, future press releases will announce which donors were able to purchase tickets to the Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Florida, and Georgia Tech games, which means there were more Georgia fans willing to pay to attend those games than there were seats in which to put them.

This decision won’t be entirely about the money, but it will be dollar-driven to a much greater extent than rank-and-file fans would like, or than they would like to think. I knew before the midpoint of the 1993 season that Ray Goff had to go, but "significant improvement" was not demanded of him until the Bulldogs’ failures on the field led to reduced contributions. For good or ill, the job security of a head football coach who has generated neither unmanageable scandal nor an atrocious record---and Mark Richt has done neither---is as tied to the financial health of the athletic association as it is to any other single factor. To the substantial degree that the largesse of Hartman Fund donors is a yardstick for measuring the health of the program, Coach Richt appears to be on significantly sounder ground than any of us expected last New Year’s Day.

Go ‘Dawgs!