“I will know when you come in and what you buy and when.”

Daniel Kaplan at the Athletic has a piece looking at the push at sporting events towards cashless transactions. Stadiums and arenas, especially newer ones opening with the technology already baked in, are foregoing cash at point-of-sale locations. Fans must either use credit cards or NFC-enabled devices (watch or phone) to buy concessions, merchandise, and anything else while they’re in the stadium.

The appeal of cashless transactions is convenience and speed. Using cash isn’t exactly as slow as writing a check in the grocery store line, but you still have to count out money and wait for change to be made. A tap or a swipe should be quicker, provided everyone in line knows how the system works – not always a sure thing.

Kaplan points out an issue with cashless payments that shouldn’t be overlooked: not all fans have smartphones, and certain groups and income levels are less likely to have credit or debit cards. Some facilities are addressing this issue with “reverse ATMs” where fans can load cash onto prepaid debit cards, but even that requires someone to plan out how much to load on the card. That will often be more than they intend to spend if they don’t want to get caught at the register with less on their prepaid card than they need.

It’s not just about the fans of course. Going cashless isn’t without benefits to the stadiums and teams, and this is probably the most interesting part of Kaplan’s piece. Electronic transactions provide countless opportunities for data-mining and tracking. Sure, no one has to buy anything at the ballpark, but even the ticket to get in the place is now often tied to a phone.

Steve Cannon, CEO of the group that owns Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz stadium and the sports teams that play there, points out how the data might be used to improve the customer experience. Teams can learn what fans do and don’t like and even offer coupons and discounts. It doesn’t take long for things to get a little creepy though. “We will have a much more nuanced understanding of what your likes are,” Cannon explained. As more elements of the gameday experience from ticketing to parking to concessions to merchandise are routed through team-controlled apps, Cannon is very clear about what it all means: “‘I will know when you come in,’ he concluded, ‘and what you buy and when.'”

Will Leitch recently wrote about the trend of sports teams and arenas chasing fans willing to spend top-dollar for “exclusive” seating, access, and benefits. Leitch cites studies that estimate “70 to 80 percent of ticket revenue comes from the first 15 to 20 rows.” Modern stadiums don’t tout capacity anymore; it’s now about the courtside bar.

Whether someone buys a hotdog or a jersey is useful information (hey, here’s a coupon for our online team store!) but still fairly small potatoes. Businesses requiring cashless payments is nothing new, and neither is data-mining a customer’s purchase history. As the stadium experience is tailored more and more for the higher-end customer Leitch describes, those are the fans about which teams will want to know as much as possible. Knowing the purchasing habits and preferences of someone willing to pay thousands of dollars for a premium experience is valuable. Many companies would go to great lengths to be able to focus their marketing efforts at that audience, and teams will be able to monitor (and even customize) that fan’s entire event experience by funneling as many actions as possible through their app.

Sanford Stadium’s concession stand fundraising-group-of-the-week is almost refreshing in its low-tech anonymity.

Claxton drafted, Howard signed

Nic Claxton Thursday night became the first Georgia basketball player to be drafted by the NBA since 2013 when he went early in the second round to the Brooklyn Nets. That draft position might be a little disappointing – Claxton had generated quite a bit of first-round chatter and was considered to be one of the prospects on the rise since he announced his intention to enter the draft. It’s still a fairly solid position and evidence of tremendous growth during his time at Georgia, but you wonder if a second-round projection might have affected Claxton’s decision to leave.

Claxton’s early departure left an opening on the Georgia frontcourt, and Tom Crean addressed that opening with the signing of 6’11” Rodney Howard late in May. Howard is a former Ole Miss commitment and Georgia native who chose the Bulldogs over Georgia Tech.

While Howard replaces Claxton numbers-wise, he’s not likely to be a replacement for Claxton’s production or style of play. I think of Howard more as a replacement for Derek Ogbeide. With the incoming talent at guard and wing, there’s less of an urgent need for a stretch 4/5 like Claxton to score away from the basket. Georgia needs interior depth – rebounding, defending the rim, and scoring around the basket. If Howard can help in those areas, he’ll be an asset, and I won’t care if he never attempts a three-pointer.

The backcourt was set earlier in May with the addition of Sahvir Wheeler and Donnell Gresham Jr. Now the frontcourt picture is clearer, though Crean has room to add another grad transfer. Rayshaun Hammonds becomes the returning scoring and rebounding leader. Amanze Ngumezi didn’t see a ton of time as a freshman, but he’ll probably be in line for a much bigger role while Howard comes along. If Georgia wants to go small, there’s a trio of incoming 6’6″ wings whose toughness inside the paint might be tested. It’s clear though that the ability of Hammonds to stay healthy and out of foul trouble will be one of Georgia’s keys to success.

Claxton’s departure and the arrival of Howard means that over half the roster will turn over entering next season. Crean is quick to caution that this is the very definition of rebuilding, and it could temper expectations even with a top 10 class and an elite guard coming in. The nonconference schedule isn’t completely set yet, but we know that Georgia Tech and the Maui Invitational are in November, and the Dawgs will also face Memphis’s top-rated signing class. It could be a fun process watching this talented incoming class grow, but we also have never seen this amount of turnover with so many newcomers counted on. That could lead to frustration as we see glimpses of what’s possible before those individual moments of excellence come together as team success. Expectations for this group will be tricky which is why Crean is already out in front of managing them. He wants to show progress after last season’s step back and must keep the fans engaged as well as he did a year ago, but just as important is keeping the recruiting pipeline full so that any growth this season becomes a foundational building block for bigger things.

3-star WR Corey Wren commits to UGA for 2020

Three-star wide receiver Corey Wren has committed to the Georgia Bulldogs for the class of 2020. Wren announced his commitment to UGA via his Twitter account on Friday.

Wren’s commitment comes shortly after the news that junior wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman has been dismissed from the team.

Corey Wren (5-9, 170) plays for John Curtis High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. He committed to the Bulldogs over Arizona State and Houston. Wren also had offers from Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, ULM, Louisville, Memphis, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, and others.

In the 247Sports Composite, Wren is listed as a 3-star recruit, the No. 35 athlete, and the No. 515 overall recruit for the class of 2020.

Rivals.com rates Corey Wren as a 3-star recruit, the No. 27 athlete, and the No. 17 recruit in the state of Louisiana.

The Georgia Bulldogs now have 15 commitments for the class of 2020. Per the 247Sports team rankings, Georgia’s class remains ranked 4th behind Clemson, Alabama, and LSU.

UGA Football Commitments

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Report: Jeremiah Holloman dismissed from UGA football team

Junior wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman has been dismissed from the UGA football team, according to a report by The Covington News.

Per the report, Holloman is the subject of an assault against a female that occurred after the G-Day Game in 2018. The victim of the assault filed a report with the University of Georgia Police Department on June 2, 2019.

The incident report indicates that Holloman choked the victim and later punched her in the face. She reportedly went to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center after the incident and received six stitches.

“(The victim) stated that (the brother) walked in at this point and pulled the suspect (Holloman) off her,” according to the report. “(The victim) stated she got behind (the brother) for protection. (The victim) stated the suspect (Holloman) then reached over (the brother) and punched her in the face.”

UGA Athletics has not issued an official statement on the dismissal of Jeremiah Holloman, but The Covington News reached out to head coach Kirby Smart, who offered a comment.

“Jeremiah Holloman no longer represents the University of Georgia football program,” Coach Kirby Smart said in a statement. “We expect every member of our team to uphold the highest standards and values of the University of Georgia and Georgia football. It is disappointing when this does not happen.”

As a sophomore for the Georgia Bulldogs, Holloman caught 24 passes for 418 yards and five touchdowns.

Georgia is scheduled to open the 2019 season on Saturday, August 31 at the Vanderbilt Commodores. The game will be televised by the SEC Network at 7:30pm ET.

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4-star WR Marcus Rosemy commits to Georgia for 2020

The Georgia Bulldogs have picked up another commitment for the class of 2020, this one from wide receiver Marcus Rosemy of Fort Lauderdale, Florida (St. Thomas Aquinas).

Rosemy announced his commitment to UGA via his Twitter account on Thursday.

Marcus Rosemy (6-2, 187) committed to the Bulldogs over offers from Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, Boston College, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Florida State, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, NC State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Southern Miss, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, and Wake Forest.

In the 247Sports Composite, Rosemy is listed as a 4-star recruit, the No. 6 wide receiver, and the No. 39 overall recruit for the class of 2020.

Rivals.com rates Marcus Rosemy as a 4-star recruit, the No. 12 wide receiver, and the No. 53 recruit in the Rivals250.

The Georgia Bulldogs now have 14 commitments for the class of 2020. According to the 247Sports team rankings, Georgia’s class is currently ranked 4th behind Clemson, Alabama, and LSU.

UGA Football Commitments

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Nicolas Claxton selected 31st by Brooklyn in 2019 NBA Draft

UGA’s Nicolas Claxton was selected 31st by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday evening.

Claxton was selected first in the second round of the draft. He missed by one spot being only the eighth Georgia Bulldogs men’s basketball player to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

“It’s been my dream my whole life just to be here,” Claxton said. “It just feels surreal right now to be here. I just want to show people I can play. A lot of people think I’m a project. I just want to show people that I can play and go out there and contribute in a major way.”

“I was here two of three weeks ago on a visit and worked out for the team,” Claxton said. “I really enjoyed it. To be picked here is a blessing, and I’m ready to get to work for Brooklyn. I feel like God, he already has everything planned out for me. I’m just following his footsteps.”

The most recent Bulldog drafted in the opening round was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was selected eighth overall by the Detroit Pistons in 2013, good enough to be a lottery pick.

Nicolas Claxton signed with the Georgia Bulldogs in November of 2016 under former head coach Mark Fox. He played at Legacy Charter School in Greenville, South Carolina.

As a sophomore under new head coach Tom Crean, Nicolas Claxton (6-11, 220) led the Bulldogs with 13.0 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game, 34 steals, and 81 blocks. Claxton also led the Dawgs with 32 games started and 1,012 total minutes played during the 2018-19 season.

“We are all very happy for Nic,” head coach Tom Crean said. “Being drafted by an organization on the upswing like the Brooklyn Nets that is so well run by Sean Marks and well coached by Kenny Atkinson will be tremendous for Nic. Personally, I was hopeful he’d go to an organization that was totally committed to player development, and that’s definitely the case with Brooklyn.”

UGA Basketball Schedule

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Jared Zirkel commits to the Georgia Bulldogs for 2020

The Georgia Bulldogs have picked up their second commitment this week, this one from kicker Jared Zirkel of Kerrville, Texas (Tivy High School).

Zirkel announced his commitment to UGA via his Twitter account on Thursday.

Jared Zirkel (6-3, 185) committed to the Bulldogs over offers from two service academies, Air Force and Army. He is not currently rated by either 247Sports or Rivals.com.

According to UGASports.com, Zirkel did receive a full scholarship offer and will not have to walk-on.

The Georgia Bulldogs now have 13 commitments for the 2020 class and have the No. 4 class in the 247Sports team rankings.

UGA Football Commitments

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Schunk earns John Olerud two-way Player of the Year Award

ATHENS, GA – University of Georgia All-American Aaron Schunk has been named the 2019 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year, the College Baseball Foundation announced Thursday.

“In the end, we felt that Aaron’s impact on the mound, where he factored in the decision in 15 of his 17 appearances, his steady bat and his outstanding play at third base put him just a tick above the others,” said George Watson, chairman of the Olerud Award selection committee. “Plus his ability to positively affect the lives of others off the field makes him the perfect example of what the Olerud Award is all about. We are excited to see what the future holds for him.”

A second-round draft pick by the Colorado Rockies in last week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Schunk helped lead the Bulldogs to a No. 4 National Seed in the NCAA Tournament and a final record of 46-17. He became the first Bulldog in nine years to capture the “Triple Crown,” leading the team with a .339 average, 15 home runs and 58 RBI. On the mound, he tallied 12 saves to go with a 1-2 record and a 2.49 ERA in 17 appearances. Earlier this week, Schunk was named a first team All-American as a utility player by Baseball America along with other multiple All-America and All-Region squads by various outlets. Additionally, Schunk is a Dean’s List student and a three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. He earned a spot on the 2019 SEC Community Service Team. Schunk signed a professional contract with the Rockies earlier this week.

“We are honored that Aaron has been selected as this year’s John Olerud Award winner,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment for him and well-deserved. He’s been an outstanding representative of the Georgia baseball program on and off the field throughout his career.”

The John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The College Baseball Foundation (CBF) will present Schunk the 2019 award later this year. The other finalists this year were Will Mattiessen (Stanford), Alec Burleson (East Carolina), Tristin English (Ga. Tech) and Davis Sharpe (Clemson).

Schunk is the first Bulldog to win the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. Previous winners of the award include Mike McGee (2010-FSU); Danny Hultzen (2011-Virginia), Brian Johnson (2012-Florida), Marco Gonzales (2013-Gonzaga), A.J. Reed (2014-Kentucky), Brendan McKay (2015-17-Louisville) and Brooks Wilson (2018-Stetson). For more information on the CBF’s John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.​

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