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It seems NCAA needs to get priorities straight

January 4, 2010
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor

This just in, Florida scored again and Tim Tebow has almost 1,000 yards of offense.

Anyway ... I completely understand why Brian Kelly went to Notre Dame and why Rich Rodriguez went to Michigan (something WVU fans still cannot let go of).

A 12-0 Notre Dame team plays for the national championship against Alabama or Texas.


Cincinnati didn't. That's why he left.

The problem, though, is not that he left, but how and when he left and that's something the NCAA must address sometime soon.

But, they would rather declare Oklahoma State wide receiver Des Bryant ineligible for the entire season for lying to them about his relationship with Deion Sanders than figure out a way to keep their member colleges from cherry picking coaches with a month left to go in their season.

They also allow coaches like John Calipari to jump from program to program while two former programs he led were put on probation.

The Fighting Irish are also to blame in the Kelly fiasco, and I am an Irish fan.

They knew Charlie Weis was done and that's why they did not go to a bowl game.

If they went to a bowl game, then there were four more weeks of speculation about Weis' job.

None of the higher-ups wanted that mess to go on, so no bowl and goodbye to Weis.

Kelly left Cincinnati high and dry.

Jeff Quinn became interim coach and then he took the job at Buffalo, vacated by Turner Gill, who went to Kansas, who came to a financial settlement to show former coach Mark Mangino the door.

Quinn moved in at Buffalo, probably started some recruiting and still kept the red-and-black coaching shirt on for the Bearcats.

Meanwhile, assistant coaches were trying to find jobs, not sure if new coach Butch Jones would retain them.

Players were mad at Kelly, as they had every right to be.

Everyone then allegedly gets on the same page and prepares for Florida.

Yeah, right.

Bearcats quarterback Tony Pike was 27 of 45 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns, all in the second half when the game was not in doubt. It was 30-3 at halftime.

So, is there a reason Steubenville Big Red graduate Zach Collaros did not get a snap?

Is there a reason the guy who stepped in when Pike was down and kept Cincinnati's perfect season perfect was not allowed a half-dozen snaps to go up against a Florida defense which was way too fast for the Bearcats?

Notre Dame canned Weis for various reasons, one of which that his defense couldn't stop you and I.

They hire Kelly, an offensive guy, who put together a defense at Cincinnati that couldn't stop you and I.

How is that an upgrade?

Which brings me to a question, is there a reason colleges are still looking to hire NFL assistants and NFL brass are looking to hire college coaches to lead their respective teams?

In the last 30 years the only coach I can think of who made that transition and did it well was Jimmy Johnson.

He was a national champion at Miami and a Super Bowl champion in Dallas.

And, please, do not give me Barry Switzer as someone else in that league.

Coaches who jump from college to pro, or visa versa, in football and basketball have been utter failures.

So, why do management still look at that trend to make their respective program better?

The list contains Butch Davis, Leonard Hamilton, Tim Floyd, Jerry Tarkanian, Steve Spurrier, Mike Riley and it just goes on and on and on.

Now, getting back to Rodriguez, WVU fans have to let that go.

He's wallowing in the Michigan mire right now and that should be good enough for you guys.

He's the guys who needed one win against Pitt to play for the national championship and couldn't get it done.

So, my question is then why did Michigan hire him to bring that program back to national prominence and, along the way, whip Ohio State like John Cooper was back as the coach?

Sorry, if you can't beat Pitt on your home turf, what makes someone think you can lead your team into the Horseshoe and win?

I understand how people can see Kelly and Rodriguez jumping ship and taking it as a lack of class and integrity.

But, under no circumstances can they be allowed to coach the teams they just left.

How can you ask kids to go and spill their guts for you when you have taken your guts to a new office?

How can you ask kids to go through a wall for you when you have jumped that wall to the other side?

Coaches who take higher profile jobs have a lot of catching up to do with recruiting.

Case in point, one Florida recruit has already jumped ship to Florida State because of the Urban Meyer fiasco.

Kelly had to go make sure the recruits headed to South Bend were still going to South Bend and then go talk to a couple of the Cincinnati recruits he really liked and see if they wanted to come with him.

Same went for Rodriguez when he traveled north.

I do not want to hear about how Indianapolis quit and allowed the Jets to win which kept you out of the playoffs.

That vaunted Pittsburgh defense blew six fourth-quarter leads and almost gagged one in Miami and, in the process, lost to Kansas City, Oakland and Cleveland. You lose to those three teams, you do not deserve to be in the playoffs.

And, that defense obviously needs a lot of work because if Troy Polamalu's absence creates that big of a hole, the other guys aren't very good.

The loss of Aaron Smith killed that defense.

What's he going to do?

Mandate to owners and coaches that if you are 13-0 and have wrapped a playoff berth and everything else that you must play your starters to continue to win and keep the integrity of the game in tact?

That will never happen.

Sorry, coach Jim Caldwell, but you have to keep your franchise quarterback Peyton Manning in the game until I said he can come out. I understand that he has been sacked about once every 47 pass attempts, but, for the good of the game, he must continue to pl........what's that ... he got sacked and tore up his knee and is gone for the year ... oops!

Why doesn't Goodell look into why the Rams are so bad? How is that pathetic franchise good for the integrity of the game. They had six first downs and barely over 100 yards of offense Sunday.

That guy named Suh is going from Nebraska to St. Louis. Good luck with that.

Why doesn't Goodell look into why the New York Giants laid down in the final two games, losing by a combined 85-16? How are those two games good for the integrity of the league?

Whatever Holmgren does, his first business decision better be to lock up Josh Cribbs for a really long time with a new contract.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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