Furlough dates set at UGA

Football coaches will have flexibility during months of October, November

Athens - When University of Georgia President Michael Adams announced Thursday the six dates that UGA employees will be furloughed this school year, two probably jumped out at football fans: Oct. 30, the day before the Bulldogs' game against Florida, and Nov. 25, three days before the regular-season finale against Georgia Tech.

But while UGA athletics employees, including coaches, are subject to the unpaid days off, they will have enough flexibility to keep from disrupting preparations for games.

“Let me not just put it in coaching terms,” Adams said, “but any ... employee who would be essential on those [designated] days will have to take [another] furlough day in that particular month. It can be arranged with a supervisor.”

That means football coach Mark Richt and his assistants will have to take one furlough day in October and one in November, but can choose the most convenient days.

Their October furlough could be taken in the week preceding an Oct. 24 open date and their November furlough perhaps on Monday, Nov. 30 — unless, of course, they are preparing for the SEC Championship Game then.

UGA’s other four furlough dates, announced by Adams in a Thursday session with faculty, staff and students, are Dec. 24, Jan. 4, March 8 and April 30.

Other local college athletics programs also are dealing with the furlough issue as the state battles economic hard times:

● Georgia Tech’s athletics department said it will have more information about furloughs next week. The department will participate in whatever is asked of it by Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, according to assistant athletics director/media relations Dean Buchan.

● Georgia State athletics employees, like others on campus, will take eight unpaid days off over the course of the school year. The school has designated five days and will have employees choose three more. Georgia State will give latitude to staffers, such as coaches, with conflicts on the designated days — Sept. 7, Nov. 25, Dec. 21, Jan. 4 and March 8 — and allow them to stay at home on different days.

At UGA, Adams said coaches — like other employees — will not be allowed to report to campus or to do work on behalf of UGA on furlough days. He said insurance and other issues are involved in that edict. The coaches will lose one day of their base salary for each furlough day, but Adams said other income, such as that from TV and radio shows, will not be affected.

Richt was not available for comment on the matter Thursday, leaving immediately after practice for a son’s football game.

Frank Crumley, the executive associate athletics director, who attended Adams’ briefing, agreed the Athletic Association should be subject to the furloughs.

“We’re part of the university completely, and we never thought for a second that we would not be furloughed,” Crumley said. “We would expect to be furloughed the same number of days everybody else on campus is.”

The furloughs were mandated by Gov. Sonny Perdue, who ordered employees of all state agencies to take three unpaid days off by the end of 2009, and the state Board of Regents, which required three additional days by the end of the fiscal year in June 2010.

Adams said UGA is requiring furloughs from all employees, including those — such as Athletic Association staffers — who are not paid with state funds.

“It basically relates to a philosophical decision that we had to make, and that is whether or not all employees at the University of Georgia are going to be treated equally as we move through this,” Adams said. “... We decided the only equitable thing to do in this situation was to do it together.”

Staff writers Doug Roberson and Ken Sugiura contributed to this article from Atlanta.