Here’s your open line. Football food for thought:
I still want to know who the REAL influencer was in the decision to hire Chad Morris. A departed interim athletic director, Julie Cromer Peoples announced the choice after the firing of the athletic director, Jeff Long, who’d hired the fired Bret Bielema, but anybody who believes the choice was hers alone, or that of Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, is naive. The UA Board and big money have always played outsized roles in athletic decisions, far more important than academics and stuff.
I tend to favor the prevalent rumor that Morris, then coaching at SMU, was the suggestion of former Razorback Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. If so, you might say, let him pay the $10 million buyout (or the rumored negotiated buydown of the Morris buyout.) But he HAS helped out. Earlier this fall, the Razorback Foundation sold 49 acres in Fayetteville Jones had donated for $6 million. But it has many needs. The Foundation is on the hook for the Bielema buyout and various other incentives paid the coaching staff. That assistant coaching staff is paid nearly $5 million. And don’t forget the $200 million-plus (counting bond interest) expansion of a stadium with a lot of empty seats.
Here’s something else to think about: Isn’t it time to reconsider the structure of coaching contracts that provide huge rewards for failure? Why not more reasonable salaries with rewards for success? It’s hard to break from the pack, I know, but something needs to change.
PS: The UA athletic department still has his final news conference on its website. It’s painful. “I am the guy. There’s no question,” he said in response to a question about his future.
UPDATE: I’m reminded that in this case the UA not foundation has to work out Morris contract