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Engineering a Program: The Main Bits

Now that 30k words are out there, let’s do some summarizing

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 20 Virginia at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We would absolutely love it if y’all read every single word of this series; we certainly encourage it. But if your time or patience is short then you’re in luck: welcome to the Main Bits.

This is your TLDR. Your reference book. Your executive summary. Your abstract. Your “I’m fighting with someone on Twitter and need to check something fast”. We’re gonna get you in and out in under 600 words. Ready? Got a pen handy? Here we go.

  1. Georgia Tech cannot expect to compete on-field when it is spending so much less money than its closest competitors. Tech is several millions of dollars per year in spending away from being on par with most of the teams on our schedule. It missed the train on the modern college football spending-industrial complex about 10 years ago. “Do more with less” is still a viable strategy but Georgia Tech is not actually doing anything unique enough to see the benefits of it.
  2. Georgia Tech will find it extremely difficult to spend more money on athletics until it pays off almost $300MM in debt.
  3. Georgia Tech cannot pay off this debt until it pulls in acceptable revenues. We are about $25MM behind our competitors in yearly revenue, mostly due to severe deficiencies in donations and ticket sales.
  4. The current marketing strategies being employed by Georgia Tech are not making a dent. Tech has tried to position itself like a scarce luxury brand while college football especially is a sport for the common people. Adidas was supposed to be a major reputation boost after Russell Athletic, but so far that boost is nowhere to be seen.
  5. Georgia Tech used to be at the forefront of the college football world, winning several SEC and national titles in the 1940s and 1950s. Ego then drove it to independence, where its strength withered away until membership in the ACC might have saved athletics at Georgia Tech from complete annihilation. Tension between Tech’s past and present underpins athletic decision-making and the expectations of fans.
  6. Georgia Tech’s departure from the SEC coincided with its dramatic institutional transformation from a local engineering school to one of the top public research universities in the country and world. That transformation has drastically and permanently altered the balance of athletics and academics at the Institute.
  7. Georgia Tech is an exclusive school with rigorous acceptance criteria. That has resulted in an alumni and fan base that 1) is much smaller than our rivals’ and 2) has vastly different interests and priorities than Tech’s fanbase during its football heyday.
  8. Years of mediocrity without consistent success between the 1960s and the modern day have further lessened athletics’ cultural influence on campus and with alumni.
  9. As the major metropolitan area of the South, Atlanta is home to graduates from colleges across the country, but none are more omnipresent than those from Athens, GA. Because of this, Georgia Tech captures only a small share of the city’s college football attention.
  10. Georgia Tech used to enjoy a preeminent position in the culture of Atlanta, particularly when it came to sports. With the introduction of professional sports in the 1960s and the simultaneous explosive growth of the city into the cultural epicenter it is today, that position has completely deteriorated.
  11. Georgia Tech has completely and utterly failed to re-assimilate into the cultural ethos of Atlanta. Most recently, Geoff Collins treated Atlanta like a resource to be tapped and exploited. Tech will never be able to recruit the city and its metro area effectively until it is able to forge a genuine relationship with it.
  12. Year in and year out, Georgia Tech plays one of the hardest football schedules in the country. Its biggest rivals are perennial national title contenders and Tech continues to insist on scheduling home-and-homes with strong non-conference opponents. There’s nowhere to hide; when the team is bad, the results show it.

If you missed the main series where all these points are laid out in detail and backed up with references, we highly recommend starting here.