First it was Houston, off a 1-3 start. This past week it was Rutgers losing their starting QB and RB after they fired coach Chris Ash 4 games into the season.
Interim head coach Nunzio Campanile doesn’t seem too thrilled by it:
“Am I disappointed by it? Incredibly. Do I understand it? I guess so. I guess that’s the way the world is now,” Campanile said after Rutgers lost 48-7. “I think that this is a game about your team, you know, and it’s about sacrificing personal accomplishment for the success of the team. But that’s the world they live in, and they have got a lot of people telling them, you know, ‘Worry about you, worry about you.’ I get it.”
Personally I think this whole situation just shows up the ridiculousness of the NCAA when it comes to Power 5 football.
- Are these kids giving up on their team this season? Yes. But, didn’t the Administration already do that by firing the head coach 4 games in? Why should the kids be forced to finish out another crap year with an interim head coach when they can save a year of eligibility, see who the next coach is going to be, and either come back or transfer out?
- And really, the timing of the firing matched up perfectly with the new red-shirt rule. Surely the University knew that when they fired Ash.
- I also understand the interim coach being pissed about it. The only way he gets the job is if the team makes some progress, and shows some improvement, maybe pulls off an upset or two. Chances of that happening with a new QB go down dramatically, let alone the team’s morale when their leaders walk away. He’s got a vested interest in the team playing well, and not giving up, though, again, the school already has. This puts his personal interests directly in competition with the interests of the individual players. This is the NCAA in 2019, by the way.
On that last point, this is why the transfer portal, and the new red-shirt rule make coaches crazy. It actually gives student-athletes the tiniest bit of power over their own careers, whereas the head coach has wielded that power without challenge for years and years. Years gone by, when a QB lost the starting job, he would have to sit and be the backup, because a coach always wants an extra QB, or 2, in case of injury. Now? He can go find someplace where he’s got a better shot at starting, and if that first-stringer gets hurt, or doesn’t work out, a coach can be in for a long season, and we know what happens when you have too many of those. So, they’ll preach the idea of “team”, when really it’s “job security” they may be concerned with.
Frankly, I’m OK with what these kids are doing. They are using a loophole in the NCAA rule that was designed to help coaches keep kids longer, and using it in their own career interests. Good, they should. In the end, they may be the only ones in the whole big business of the NCAA who care about their career interests.