Georgia coach Kirby Smart made some of his strongest comments yet on Wednesday about his desire to move the Georgia-Florida soccer game to school campuses instead of playing it in Jacksonville, Florida, every season.
During an interview on the SEC Network at SEC Media Days Wednesday, Smart said that having the game in Jacksonville, where it’s been played every season but two since 1933, is detrimental to recruiting because under NCAA rules, prospects are not allowed to attend a neutral location game.
When Georgia was named the home team in Jacksonville, they played only three games at home in Athens, Georgia, that season. It gives Bulldogs fewer opportunities to host recruits on campus.
“I’m competing [coaches] All over the Securities and Exchange Commission who host recruits at their biggest games,” Smart said. When Auburn plays in Alabama, guess where the recruits are? When LSU and Alabama play, that’s where the biggest recruits want to go. It’s an opportunity for us to bring in these kids, who travel from all over the country – what game do they want to come to watch Georgia play? They would like to see Georgia play in Florida, but they can’t do it.
“It’s very important. Employment is very important… I can’t get an agreement on me for a coach from Florida [moving the game]. “
Last year, the Jacksonville City Council approved a contract extension that will keep the SEC contestant there until at least the 2023 season. There is also an option to play them there in 2024 and 2025. This season, the Bulldogs and Gators are scheduled to play at TIAA Bank Field on October 29.
Speaking to reporters at the SEC Media Days, New Gators coach Billy Napier said he wants to train in the game before forming an opinion about where you should play.
“I want to try the match first,” Napier said. “I’d like to see that match in Jacksonville, test that match, before I have an opinion on it. There is a lot of credibility to both of them.” [arguments]. Home and home would obviously be great, but there are also some traditions there. There is competition there. Time will tell.”
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