I agree with the body of your post. The only problem is it doesn't support your premise. How does all that matter to GT's fate of becoming less competitive on the football field? GT still would have declined, but maybe a little slower. If you can't keep up with the Jones' for the best players, you can't compete on the field. Dodd knew that much and more. He knew the playing field in recruiting was on a progressive lean away from level to the point where even he had difficulty making up the difference, much less anybody after him.
I don't get your logic. Look at GT's record that I quoted from the article. GT was competing, and even surpassing other SEC schools on the field at that time.
GT became less competitive, both on the field and in terms of attracting athletes of high caliber on the field and in the classroom, when we left the SEC. Our funding suffered because we could no longer pull in large crowds, which was more important during those days than TV money, because of that our facilities also suffered and we were losing ground in the facilities arms race.
If you read the article, GT was an academic and athletic beacon in this region at the time. We were basically the Notre Dame of the south in terms of relevance. That alone pulled in a higher tier of recruits in this region. Our issues of pulling in higher tier recruits with the academics was certainly as issue, but not the issue it is today. Dodd's decision to leave the SEC caused the issue of recruiting to GT to grow exponentially over time. GT was one of the best college programs in the country up until we pulled out of the SEC. You don't get to that level of success without great recruits.