I’m guessing it’s not a good thing when the head of a task force you authorized to get your ass out of a crack for making a very unpopular decision sends out an email to the other members confirming you lied.
Category Archives: It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major
Idaho ditches the proposed make up game with Florida for a match with Missouri that pays better.
If you’re doing the math here, play one SEC game, make $2.3 million. Not too shabby. Plus you get to slap the Gators as a bonus.
That has the makings of one of those old MasterCard “Priceless” commercials.
You will be shocked, shocked to learn that the decision to kill the UAB football program was made before the release of the report the school had hired a consulting firm to furnish. Hell, it may have been made before the start of the 2014 season.
… according to documents obtained by AL.com, the decision to kill football and the other two programs may have been made prior to the start of the football season.
The documents show that public relations firm Sard Verbinnen & Co. prepared detailed plans for UAB to announce last September that it would eliminate the three programs, months before the school made the actual announcement.
The documents also show the school pushed back the announcement date until the conclusion of the football team’s regular season on the advice of both Sard Verbinnen and CarrSports.
The documents indicate that Watts misled his student-athletes, coaches, supporters, faculty members and others on at least three separate occasions in November and December when he said the decision to kill the three sports wasn’t made until November.
As appalling as flat-out lying may seem – really, when will bureaucrats ever learn the coverup is usually worse than the original story? – it’s the rationale expressed for delaying the decision until after the football season ended that’s really shameless.
That memo offers “our basis for opposing a mid-season announcement.” It suggests the potential for “a critical mass of immediate transfer requests … where students refuse to finish out the season” or “a full team boycott.”
“If not effectively managed,” the memo says, “it is conceivable that UAB would not be able to field a competitive team – or any team.”
The memo also suggests the possibility that UAB football players “may react very badly if an announcement is made during the season.”
In other words, don’t do it for the kids.
And this is just as bad.
Sard Verbinnen, the New York PR firm, advised UAB in September to “allow other tough decisions to set the stage” to announce the review’s results. For instance, the university announced last June that UAB Medicine Employees would not receive annual merit raises based on “profound shifts in healthcare.”
Sard Verbinnen advised UAB that “further isolating the athletic department’s results from others announced earlier in the season will also lessen the chances that the UAB lumps all ‘tough decisions’ together and concludes that the university is in financial duress.”
It just goes to show you can never have enough bad news to prime the pump.
So why go to all the trouble to mislead almost everyone with an interest in UAB athletics? It can’t be political, can it? Nah… just ask the PR folks.
Also, Sard Verbinnen advised to wait until after the University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees meeting in November to help mitigate “unwarranted speculation” that the decision was driven by the board. Many UAB supporters believe several powerful trustees with Crimson Tide ties, including Paul Bryant Jr., got football killed. The board oversees UAB.
“The strategic review required time and careful deliberation by the department and the community’s perception of it should not be compromised by the negative optics that could result if it were communicated in parallel with a Board of Trustee meeting,” Sard Verbinnen wrote.
Good to see that’s been avoided.
When the SEC is in need of a little scheduling juice. Congrats, BYU and Army!
A tidbit here, a tidbit there…
- Something to keep an eye on with this season’s Kentucky football team: “From that highly touted 2014 signing class, ranked No. 17 in the nation, UK was able to redshirt 16 players…” That includes redshirting every offensive linemen the current staff has signed.
- Bill Connelly ponders what the future of football analytics will bring.
Marc WeiszerFletcher Page has a nice piece on this year’s Paul Oliver Network gathering.
- Les Miles thinks Matt Womack signing with Alabama is enough of a punishment for his program.
- So Andy Schwarz is being hired to produce the new report evaluating the report that led to the shutdown of the UAB football program? That’s beyond interesting, both for what he’ll have to say about UAB’s decision as well as shining a light on college athletic departments’ bookkeeping practices.
- Here’s another roundup of questions as SEC spring practices get underway.
- She may be a little girl, but she manages to hit on the essence of being a Georgia Tech fan in one sentence.
- Speaking of Tech, the computer hacker has been sentenced, but “The district attorney said he believes Pickren entered a guilty plea, meaning failure to complete the program would bring the student back to court for further sentencing.” So you’re saying there’s a chance?
I’m heading up to Athens shortly for the basketball game, but there’s still time to set out the buffet.
- John Chavis is suing LSU and Texas A&M over his contract buyout.
- Mark Richt ponders life after Mike Bobo.
- Something to keep an eye on? A mom has filed the first-ever lawsuit filed against a youth football league for CTE.
- College athletics, the NCAA and “cheating pays”.
- ESPN ranks the easiest paths to the playoffs. Georgia checks in at number eight.
- Was Chris Conley a surprise at the NFL Combine? Tape don’t lie.
- And Andy Staples explains why Conley could turn out to have a better pro career than college career.
- Has the CFP empowered BYU?
Putting lipstick on a pig ain’t cheap. What, you’d rather see that money spent on cost of attendance support?