Earlier today I wrote about Florida and Georgia potentially selling poolside cabana seats at future games. And seemingly as soon as the piece hit our Facebook page, Jeremy Foley and Greg McGarity poured cold water on it.
Not the refreshing, cold water you might find by, you know, jumping into a pool in late October. No, it was more like the cooler of ice water your jagoff buddy poured on you that time you passed out early at the tailgate. Not. Fun.
From plausible idea to Samir Not Gonna Work Here Anymore – all in the blink of an eye.
Here’s an insider’s look at my reaction when finding out the news.
According to The Gainesville Sun, it’s all about tickets sales and attendance.
“There’s no wiggle room for lowering the attendance or seating capacity,” Georgia’s McGarity told The Associated Press. “The most important thing for us is the number of seats.”
“Our No. 1 priority is to have the same number of tickets available to our fans and we don’t have an interest in any scenario that reduces the number of tickets,” Florida’s Foley said. “We do appreciate the commitment that both the city and the Jaguars are making to enhance the game-day experience for fans that don’t limit seating capacity.”
And there it is: the almighty dollar.
But here’s the thing: I can’t sit up here and kvetch about this not being a play for the fans. About it being the latest, bottom-line evaluation to suck the soul from modern college athletics.
This one actually has some legs. Pools and cabanas would’ve pushed out thousands of ticket holders, snatching a unique game-day experience away from fans young and old.
But we can still dream.
Texas and Oklahoma have the fair. Florida-Georgia could’ve had the pools. Sure we have the cocktail party. Or do we? Maybe that’s what stings on this one. World’s Largest Outdoor Social Gathering Formerly Known As The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Just doesn’t have the same ring.
The pools and cabanas could’ve been this game’s new defining feature. They would have brought that delicate balance between collegiate and trashy that so well-defines the game and its fans. People who don’t even watch football would know it as “that college game with the pools.”
Jacksonville Jaguars president Mark Lamping has said the option will remain on the table, and that maybe UF and UGA will reconsider after seeing the facilities in action. However, this one doesn’t appear to be in the cards. It’s hard to envision the schools swallowing lost revenues, or completely changing the now classic 50-50 fan dynamic.
On the high side, this is perennially one of the best games of the season. Maybe it’s best not to mess with the tradition. Maybe it’s best to leave this one alone. To respect what we have. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But it still doesn’t hurt to dream about “what if.”