Georgia during a game against Florida at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl., on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles)
Mackenzie Miles

The latest on Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville, here’s what we know

ATHENS — Georgia will provide an allotment of tickets for prospects who want to attend its game against Florida in Jacksonville this season.

Smart and his staff cannot talk to any of the prospects at the game or have any contact with them.

According to a source, the agreement between the schools stipulates that only the designated home team -- UGA, this year, Florida next year -- will be allowed to leave tickets for the recruits.

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This season’s game between the Bulldogs and Gators at TIAA Bank Field is at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 29.

The agreement, first reported by ON3 Sports, is not expected to have much if any impact on recruiting.

Schools can not “host” the recruits while they are in Jacksonville for the game in the recruiting sense of the word.

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When recruits are “hosted” on official visits, at the schools’ respective campuses, Georgia and Florida can pay for transportation, meals and lodging of the recruit and his family (four members) over a 48-hour period.

It’s similar to how Georgia and Clemson were allowed to leave tickets for prospects at their game in Charlotte, N.C., last season.

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UGA coach Kirby Smart said last year “that’s not really recruiting — that’s an invitation to watch us, which they can do that on TV. They can’t interact with us.”

Smart has made it clear he wants Georgia to be on a level playing with Alabama on the recruiting trail and have the same opportunities to bring elite prospects to Athens as Nick Saban has to bring great players to Tuscaloosa.

To that end, Smart wants Georgia to hold its designated home games with Florida in Athens after the current contract expires in 2023.

Smart has tried to explain to some of the media and fans who do not understand the value of recruiting on campus that bringing recruits to Jacksonville -- 340 miles away from Athens -- does not provide much benefit even if the teams could host the recruits.

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“We don’t have time; we fly in, we prepare for the game, we play the game, and we leave,” Smart said. “We’re gonna stay afterward and hang out with them? You can’t really do that and you’re not showing off your facilities.”

Former Georgia and Florida coaches have made their feelings known on the location of the game.

Not surprisingly, with Gainesville 69 miles away from Jacksonville, most Florida types prefer the Jacksonville location.

“I think it’s not a neutral site where it is now, obviously, it’s in the state of Florida, it’s in Jacksonville, so it’s not neutral,” Mark Richt said last year. “But if you want to have it in a neutral site, have it in Atlanta, that’s neutral, too.

“In my opinion, if you want to say let’s do a neutral site and keep the tradition of Jacksonville, let’s at least alternate with Atlanta in the Mercedes (-Benz Stadium) and see how neutral that feels to the Gators fans.”

SEC coaching legend and former Florida Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier made it clear he would prefer the game stay in Jacksonville every year.

“When I was coaching at Florida, I said it’s to our advantage to get on the bus, and they’ve got to get on the airplane, and we’re in the state of Florida,” Spurrier said.

“The stadium used to be called the Gator Bowl. It’s a good game for Jacksonville so I hope it stays there.”

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