"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Coaches Bail, Athletes Have To Stay

Obviously, It’s All About Winning:

Let’s see, Bobby Petrino is now the head football coach at the University of Louisville, which begins its first season in the ACC. No big deal, right? I mean let’s face it, the guy can flat out recruit and coach football players. His teams win, and win in exciting fashion. They must really like him at Louisville, considering they hired him for the second time after taking the Cardinals to four bowl games and leading them to two top ten national rankings in four seasons from 2003 – 2006.

But now this is where it gets interesting. Petrino, despite pledging allegiance to Louisville, secretly flirted with other head coaching positions, most notably Auburn, before leaving college behind for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. He thought he was going to have a healthy Michael Vick in the prime of his quarterback career to build around. But Vick had a little problem with a dog fighting ring and ended up spending some time away at the expense of the American taxpayers. Not one to sit still for long, Petrino bailed on Falcons owner Arthur Blank and his team after thirteen games when Arkansas came calling in the fall of 2007.

After turning the Razorback program around and propelling them to a top five ranking after defeating Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl, things looked pretty bright in Fayetteville. A good core of returning players, a decent recruiting class and three consecutive bowl games had Arkansas on everyone’s radar screen for the 2012 season. Then Petrino made multiple errors in judgment that ultimately cost him his job. A motorcycle accident with a recently hired employee on the back of his bike could have possibly, just possibly gotten him a stern slap on the wrist from Athletic Director Jeff Long. But lying about the incident and being found to have cut some corners to hire his motorcycle passenger were just too much for the university to tolerate. Long ultimately did the right thing and the program has yet to recover.

What I think is interesting is that in an environment where we hear a lot about character and integrity, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter to many Athletic Directors as long as they have winning programs that generate a lot of revenue. Just look at Lane Kiffin who was fired at USC last year. That guy bounces around like a ping pong ball on a rocky driveway. He was at Tennessee for one season before bailing on the Volunteers to go back to USC.

The hypocrisy in all of this is that the student-athletes (I had a hard time typing that, just so you know) aren’t given the same kind of freedom. If they want to transfer, it costs them a season of eligibility and they have to sit out a year of competition. In some conferences, they aren’t even allowed to go to another school in the same league. Heck, we hear a lot about paying the players, but what about taking changing the rules and letting these kids transfer without penalty if their coach bails out on them for another million bucks? The long term coach is a thing of the past, it seems, and so should the archaic transfer rules for kids that think they're going to play for a coaching staff, only to have to deal with a group of new leaders with whom they have no relationship.