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Attendance at UGA Men’s basketball game 1 Group names ADPR 3850 Lariscy 7 April 2006 A Case Study in Crisis Management in the Downfall and Rebuilding of the University of Georgia’s Men’s Basketball Team For a University of Georgia fan, Sanford Stadium is the heart of the University and the Athens, Georgia, community. The stadium, home to the beloved Bulldogs football team, casts a large shadow over the center of campus and the University’s athletic community, one so large that it extends up the hill of Sanford Drive to the corner where it meets Carlton Street. At this spot sits Stegemen Coliseum, home to the University’s Men’s Basketball team. It seems ironic that the Coliseum lies on the outskirts of campus, far removed from football’s glare and the majority of the student body. In this “football town,” the men’s basketball program has long struggled to maintain relevance among the University’s athletic community. Seen by many as nothing more than football’s forgotten little brother, basketball has yet to achieve the success or prominence of that program. While the history of program includes moments of both pain and pride, the men’s program of recent years and today has seen more heartache than they deserve. In 2003, the men’s basketball program was rocked by a scandal fit for the pages of a tabloid. Among the elements of the torrid tale are a disgruntled ex-player, charges of rape, assault, improper benefits, and cheating. The scandal brought down a successful coach and his family, cast a pall of shame over a proud University, and ruined the lives of several innocent young men who became bystanders to a program’s demise. Students new to the University
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Attendance at UGA Men’s basketball game 2 likely do not know the significance of the names Tony Cole and Jim Harrick; they only know of a struggling basketball program that has difficulty drawing both a crowd and wins. In our case study on the attendance at University of Georgia men’s basketball games, we examine the many forces that have pushed men’s basketball out of the minds of Georgia fans. These include the University’s rich football history, the limited success of the early basketball program, and most importantly the improper handling of the program by former Coach Jim Harrick, Sr. and his staff, brought to light by the allegations of former player Tony Cole, all of which in turn brought forth sweeping changes whose repercussions linger today. We discuss the handling of the Harrick situation by University President Michael Adams and then Athletic Director Vince Dooley and the role they played in crisis management. Finally, we offer our opinion as to how we, as public relations practitioners, would have handled this event. We seek ultimately to offer insight as to how the current men’s basketball program is working to overcome the repercussions of situation no current staff or players were a part of and why the
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