Five days before the death of the BCS, an era that has always felt unjust and dirty, another unjust and dirty practice will be expelled from college football, at least in Georgia.
The Peach State is imposing a ban on lobbyists providing politicians free tickets to football games, effective Jan. 1, 2014.
According to the Associated Press, via USA Today:
A new law taking effect next year bans lobbyists from giving Georgia's politicians free college football tickets, a rite as well-established as Game Day beer and barbecue in the football-obsessed South.
As the season kicks off, lobbyists and lawmakers are squeezing in a few more free games before the prohibition takes effect Jan. 1.
Per the report, Georgia politicians have already received $1,400 of college football tickets and entertainment since the season began. Prorated over the entire regular season, that would come out to roughly $6,500—and adjusted for SEC play, the number might be even higher than that.
Other states allow college football perks to their politicians, namely (as mentioned in the report) Alabama and Wisconsin. But unlike Georgia, they haven't yet taken steps to check the power of state lawmakers in relation with the general public.
The report says that the University of Georgia spent around $9,500 on tickets for public officials last season, and this year, it has invited them to attend a home game with Missouri on Oct. 12.
Enjoying benefits of that nature is traditionally "part of the job," but as executive director of Common Cause Georgia William Perry told the AP, "What happens is that it creates a culture, a luxury of lifestyle for our elected officials."
Even if it runs against history, the steps Georgia is taking are noble, and other states should follow in their footsteps. College football—with all its scandal, sanction and shame—is already perceived as perhaps the most corrupt sport in America.
Politicians receiving perks may not seem like a major reason for that, but it doesn't hurt for Georgia to take a stand and distance itself from that sort of reputation.
Baby steps, college football. All progress is good progress.
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