More Jackson County Opinions...

MAY 21, 2003

By:Bill Shipp
The Jackson Herald
May 21, 2003

Is it time for Dooley to go?
When a guy reaches 70 and his health is OK, he starts thinking about -Taking that long-postponed trip, perhaps to Australia where he’s never been.
- Writing the book that has been buzzing around in his head for decades.
- Returning to school to take a couple of esoteric history courses or becoming more proficient with computers.
- Spending more time with his loving and long-suffering wife.
- Abandoning whatever he has been doing for 50 years and setting out in a new direction, while there’s still time.
Well, maybe some of us geezers think in those terms. But not Vince Dooley. As he bounces vigorously into his eighth decade, Dooley thirsts for more of the same. He is lobbying UGA President Mike Adams to extend his contract as athletic director for four more years. He wants to keep building and polishing the Georgia Athletic Association.
Adams is said to be less than thrilled at the idea. He thinks Dooley has had enough and ought to let a younger person - an Adams protégé, of course - take the reins of the jock department at the state’s flagship school.
In the same way that a moth is attracted to a potentially fatal flame, President Adams appears mesmerized with reorganizing and freshening UGA’s giant and sometimes problematic sports program. Dooley occasionally gets in his way - either by upstaging him or by taking the sports program in a direction Adams doesn’t necessarily want it to go.
Even so, Dooley is one of Georgia’s best-known and most trusted brand names. No matter what goes wrong in UGA’s sports program, Dooley is always there to pick up the pieces. He is quiet, intellectual and generally well liked among Georgia’s gazillion sports-minded alumni. When Dooley speaks, Georgians listen. When Dooley asks for money for the athletic association, the old-school crowd gives.
When trouble is afoot - ranging from corrupt coaches to drug-implicated players - Dooley is there to field the questions and make the necessary repairs.
Dooley became head football coach in 1964 when the program was in tatters. He refitted the football Bulldogs as champs. He became athletic director in 1979. As UGA has grown, so has Bulldog sports. Annual contributions to the athletic association have increased from $76,000 (then an all-time high) in Dooley’s first year as AD to more than $13.5 million last year.
Dooley has captained the sports ship through turbulent waters, ranging from the Jan Kemp academics scandal of the ‘70s and ‘80s to various episodes of felonious behavior by players and improper conduct by coaches.
Despite the comparatively minor bad-news incident now in the headlines (several footballers sold their championship rings), UGA’s athletic program looks better than ever. At least that is the view of this casual fan.
Football Coach Mark Richt has all but erased the Neanderthal image of Georgia football and also has turned out to be a winner on the field in his first years. He speaks well on national TV and makes most old Bulldogs feel proud. You could hardly ask for more, though some fans wouldn’t mind a little less Bible-thumping.
The basketball program has been cleaned up and new coaches employed. By all reports, the minor sports are doing well.
Dooley deserves credit for many of these accomplishments. President Adams also has played a star role in the Bulldogs’ renovation. A couple of years back, Adams intervened in the football program and saved the university from what this writer believes was a gigantic black eye, perhaps of Black Sox magnitude.
But Adams also is responsible for getting Georgia into hot water with a basketball coach who apparently ignored rules about both gratuities and grades. Dooley helped sanitize that mess. (Despite what you may hear, basketball and football are still connected, even if tenuously, to the university’s main business, which is education.)
Agreed, the importance of UGA sports - like athletics at other big schools - is way overblown. Ask the average Georgia alumni whether he’d rather have an All-America quarterback on the gridiron or a Nobel Laureate in the chemistry department, and he’ll tell you - well, you know what he’ll tell you.
In the midst of a sick economy, the University of Georgia is conducting a multimillion-dollar fund-raising drive to try to offset the avalanche of austerity measures engulfing it. Sports-minded alumni are big donors, even to strictly academic causes. Dooley has the contacts and the know-how to help his school in this era of economic stress. He has run a generally tight ship in the sports department. And he wants to stay on the job a while longer. So why even consider dumping him in favor of an unknown?
Let Dooley and Adams make peace and continue their march toward improving the University of Georgia and, of course, beating the daylights out of Tech again.
You can reach Bill Shipp at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30160 or by calling (770) 422-2543, e-mail:, Web address:

Jackson County Opinion Index

By: Rochelle Beckstine
The Jackson Herald
May 21, 2003

No reason to boycott tobacco treaty
There is no good reason to boycott the World Health Organization’s (WHO) tobacco treaty. Smokers hear tobacco and they immediately jump on the opposed bandwagon, but I think they should know what they are opposed to before they make a decision.
As Americans, we live in a privileged society, and I’m not just referring to material possessions. For many years, Americans have known that smoking and second hand smoke pose significant health risks. As consumers, we are allowed to weigh the health risks with our need for some menial personal satisfaction that we will pay for with our pocketbooks and possibly our lives.
But not all human beings are so lucky. There are developing countries with no laws governing the tobacco industry. Tobacco companies can sell tobacco to minors and place their ads wherever they want and target whomever they want. They don’t have to print warning labels on packages, or inform anyone of the health risks associated with tobacco consumption.
For the tobacco industry, it is the untapped market. As smoking levels in the industrialized nations have dropped below 30 percent, the tobacco industry has moved into developing nations and hooked millions on tobacco. It is a significant global epidemic.
Put it into perspective in terms of world health. The SARS virus, which has curtailed travel and caused hordes of people to cower in fear for their lives, has killed 500 people. Tobacco killed more than 4 million people last year. Tobacco has a known mortality rate of 50 percent compared to SARS, estimated at 20 percent.
If left unchecked, about 500 million people alive today will be killed by tobacco, making it the single leading cause of death on Earth.
To curtail this epidemic, WHO’s tobacco treaty would acknowledge the health risks associated with tobacco and impose regulations that have been in place for years in developed countries. The treaty would mandate a minimum size for health warning labels on tobacco, ban ads and sponsorships, except where such a ban would be unconstitutional (the United States), ban sales to children and protect non-smokers in public and work places by recognizing second hand smoke as a public health threat.
The treaty would also provide more effective control for smuggling and would encourage nations to increase taxation to reduce tobacco consumption.
These may not seem like great concessions, but it has taken WHO four years of steady and protracted negotiations to get this far. And it is at this point that it needs the support of the American people.
In August of 2000, WHO published a report documenting the decades-long campaign by the tobacco industry to thwart the development of tobacco control initiatives. It concluded that: “Tobacco use is unlike other threats to global health. Infectious diseases do not employ multinational public relations firms. There are no front groups to promote the spread of cholera. Mosquitoes have no lobbyists.
“The evidence presented here suggests that tobacco is a case unto itself, and that reversing its burden on global health will be not only about understanding addiction and curing disease, but, just as importantly, about overcoming a determined and powerful industry.”
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson, head of the U.S. delegation to the World Health Assembly, announced Sunday that the United States would support the initiative when it comes up for a vote in the World Health Assembly. Once approved, governments have a year to decide whether to ratify the treaty, but only 40 ratifications are needed. Derek Yach, the WHO official who has led the tobacco initiative, said Sunday 30 delegations have already said they are committed to ratifying the treaty and he expects the last ten to be reached in six to 12 months. Thompson said he doesn’t know whether Bush would sign the treaty or whether Congress would pass it, but his office is behind it.
A Democratic society like ours is purported to be would feel that all citizens should make educated decisions. But someone told me recently, we don’t live in a Democratic society, we live in a capitalist society fueled by the almighty dollar. And Phillip Morris has a lot of dollars.
Prove that Americans’ convictions are worth just as much as gold. Write your congressmen. Express support for a treaty that will take tobacco out of children’s hands and warn users about how lethal tobacco really is. Think about the 10 million deaths a year the WHO predicts if conditions do not improve. I don’t want that on my head.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.
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