Unlike years before, Georgia is unable to celebrate any national titles in a sport recognized by the NCAA (it should be noted that the Georgia softball team is still competing in the NCAA Tournament). This is the first time since Damon Evans has been the Athletics Director that Georgia has not won a national title in an academic year.
More disturbing is the continued downward trend of Georgia’s overall sports programs as scored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Since Evans took over as athletics director in the 2004-05 academic year, Georgia has fallen almost every year in the standings – from 7th in 2005, 9th in 2006, 12th in 2007, 10th in 2008, 18th in 2009 and on pace for 25th in 2010*.
The closing of this academic year could very well see Georgia's worst back-to-back performance in the all-sports competition since records have been kept. Is it actually Evans' fault Georgia is falling in the rankings? That's impossible to know, but the fall in the NACDA is impossible not to notice.
Georgia's All Sports Ranking
1994 - 21st
1995 - 14th
1996 - 11th
1997 - 28th
1998 - 7th
1999 - 2nd
2000 - 12th
2001 - 3rd
2002 - 8th
2003 - 15th
2004 - 5th
2005 - 7th
2006 - 9th
2007 - 12th
2008 - 10th
2009 - 18th
2010 - 25th*
Anyone observing Bulldog sports this year should have been able to see this coming. It was a disappointing year to be sure. Football struggled and didn’t play in a New Year’s Day bowl game for the first time since 2006. The Gym Dogs, long known for excellence, lost their longtime leader and failed to get to the NCAA Finals for the first time since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Baseball had one of the worst SEC seasons in school history at 5-23.
The most surprising program, Men’s Basketball, welcomed a new head coach and defeated several rivals at home, but didn’t escape the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. Mark Fox’s club gave Georgia fans a lot of optimism about the future, but still finished with a losing record (14-17)
It has been a long year for the red and black. Even loved mascot UGA passed away.
The academic year wasn’t without some success. Women’s Basketball had the best start in the history of the school and made it to the Sweet 16. Men’s Golf won the SEC, but bowed out at the NCAA Regionals. Women’s Golf also lost in the NCAA Regionals. Swimming and Diving finished 5th and 8th respectively nationally. Soccer lost in the first round of the SEC Tournament and in the second round of the NCAAs.
As an all-sports program, and that’s what Georgia’s athletics department is, the Dawgs are never going to be bad. It is clear after this season, however, that a lot more work needs to be done if Georgia wants to be back in the top ten, which is where this program belongs.
Off the field it seems Georgia is doing well. The new basketball practice facility is one of the finest in the country. The Butts-Mehre expansion is a $40 million dollar project and is coming along just fine. Georgia’s track facility has just received a facelift.
But fans don’t care about facilities. They want to win and judging by the Director’s Cup, Georgia is not doing as much of that as they once did. It’s too bad because Georgia fans, who invest their time, money and emotions, deserve better.