Joe Tereshinski, a UGA football strength and conditioning coach and a co-coordinator of Coach Mark Richt’s summer football camp for grade-schoolers, denies charges from a Domino’s employee that the camp engaged in pizza profiteering at the expense of kids as young as eight years old.
The employee, who for obvious reasons asked to remain anonymous, works at the Domino’s Pizza location on Baxter Street. S/he says Tereshinski, or “Coach T” as he likes to be called, ordered hundreds of pizzas over the course of this year’s camp, which ran from June 9 through June 19. Domino’s gave Tereshinski a discount, charging just $4 each (with no tax) for medium pepperoni pizzas. But the employee claims tables set up outside McWhorter Hall by camp coaches selling the pizzas to the kids bore signs reading “Pizza! $10!”
According to the employee, from June 9 through June 16, Coach Richt’s camp ordered 410 medium pizzas, paying a total of $1640. Selling the pies for $10 each, that would mean a profit of $2460. The Domino’s employee further claims Tereshinski told the store to refuse orders called in by the kids themselves, who could have purchased their own large pepperoni pizzas for $7.48.
The UGA Athletic Association, which sponsors the Mark Richt Football Camp, is somewhat of a public-private partnership – “public” in that it benefits from the use of taxpayer-funded facilities, “private” in the sense that it isn’t accountable to anyone for its activities. This means the Mark Richt Camp can charge whatever it wants for pizza, be it $4 or $10 or $100. However, since parents who already pay from $295 to $525 to send their kids to the camp might be interested in such things, Flagpole called up Coach T. Here’s what he had to say:
Joe Tereshinski: Hello?
Flagpole: Yes, who’s speaking please?
JT: Coach Tereshinski.
FP: Yes sir, my name is Brad Aaron. I’m calling from Flagpole Magazine. I got some information, regarding the football camp, that the pizzas that are ordered there from Domino’s – that the camp pays $4 each for them, but the kids are charged $10. I’m calling to find out if that’s true, and if so –
JT: No that’s not true.
FP: How does that work then?
JT: Who are you with?
FP: Flagpole Magazine, right.
JT: What’s your interest in this?
FP: Well, if it was true then it’s a news story.
JT: Why is that a news story?
FP: It’s a news story in that if the camp is paying $4 each and they’re charging $10, I’m just wondering where the $6 goes for each pizza sold.
JT: What business is that of yours – first of all it’s not true – and number two, what business is it of yours?
FP: As a news reporter I would think the community would be interested in it –
FP: – it’s not necessarily that it’s my business.
JT: What’s news about it?
FP: It’s news in that where that $6 goes if the kids are paying the tuition…
JT: Tuition doesn’t cover what they do for snack food at night. It doesn’t cover what extra t-shirts they want to buy or hats or former game jerseys that are sold. At any camp that’s held at the University of Georgia they all have concessions, they all have apparel, they all have things like that. And it’s really not public knowledge or public interest or anybody’s business what a private organization does. I mean, do you call up WorldCom and ask them what they do with their money?
FP: If I thought that was a story that the people of Athens would be interested in then I would, but I’m just asking – if you’re saying that it’s not true –
JT: They don’t pay $10, no.
FP: Okay. Well that pretty much answers my question then. And thank you for your time.
JT: You’re welcome.
Author’s addendum: calls to WorldCom were unreturned at deadline.
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