September 15, 2023
I never met Knute Rockne, Paul “Bear” Bryant, or Woody Hayes. I only know about them from how media historians described them. I did see “Bear” and Woody on TV. I never saw Knute “outlined against a blue-gray October sky”.
Allowing that I have a pretty active imagination, I just can’t picture Knute, “Bear”, or Woody telling Grantland Rice or Dan Jenkins or Keith Jackson or even Howard Cosell …
“OK, yeah, I masturbated during phone sex with that gal, but it was consenual. You can’t take $77,000,000 away from me just for doing that …” – Mel Tucker; Head Coach Michigan State
Maybe Hugh Freese said that on an Ol’ Miss cell phone to one of his escorts. Maybe short-time Alabama coach Mike Dubose said it to a stripper in a No Tell Motel room. Allowing that Big Time College Football Coaches are, like all of us, flawed to a certain degree; I just can’t picture it.
I KNOW for a fact that “the “m” word” was NOT in Andy Griffith’s “What It Was Was Football”. No sireeee! Although Ernest T. Bass mighta …. never mind.
FWIW: I prefer not to picture Mack Brown, Dave Doeren, Mike Elko, Dave Clawson, or Nick Saban among others saying / doing that. Maybe “Jimbo” or Brian Kelly … I don’t care about them.
The Mel Tucker Revelation is just one of many many realities of Big Time College Football circa 2023 that none of us ever imagined we would have to confront in enjoying our Fall Saturday addiction.
The Athletic had a long article this week about the latest staff addition sweeping across Power5 Football programs . The position of “General Manager” or “Player Personnel Director”.
If that sounds like just another step to College Football morphing into a Saturday version of The NFL … it is. Both entities are billion $$$ businesses in which multi millions are spent because billions are at stake.
If this rather rapid transition “bothers you” either get over it or find another sport to follow. Playing Canute and “yelling at the tide to retreat” is foolish.
“Your school’s” Football General Manager reports to the Head Coach and is responsible for Coordinating All Recruiting efforts … administrating NIL deals … and “The Portal”. He/she has a staff within the overall staff larger than Knute, “Bear” or Woody had as assistants.
NOTE: I’m pretty sure Knute, Woody or “Bear” never had an “assistant special teams” coach making $200,000.
In 1965, Ernie Williamson ran UNCCH’s “football recruiting” from a batch of 3×5″ index cards he kept in a shoebox in the backseat of his car. That contained names like Ken Willard, Chris Hanburger, Danny Talbott, et al ….
I’ve joked that J-Schools are probably already offering majors in “Sideline Reporting”. Former nubile cheerleaders learn how to hold a microphone while asking “Coach, what changes are you planning in the second half to overcome this 28-0 deficit?”
Sports Administration programs will be developing “General Managers” to arrange BMWs and “Lambo” deals for semi-literate “phenoms” … watching endless grainy videos of said phenoms running rampant against high schoolers … and guessing which 2nd-3rd teamers getting limited PT at rival schools are likely to “enter the portal”.
College FB GMs also manage the modern iteration of the infamous “Sweet Carolines”. Winsome coeds to serve as on-campus hostesses (wink, wink!) for visiting semi-literate phenoms. The mind reels …..
How many “OnlyFans” skanks does it take to sign a 5-star in 2023? Does a thimbleful of Livvy Dunne’s bathwater seal the deal at LSU?
Those halcyon days of yore when a “Surf & Turf” dinner at the local steakhouse was enough to convince “phenoms” to commit to dear ol’ WhatSaMatta U are long gone. “$100 handshakes” don’t cut it any more either.
I’m certainly not implying that Knute, “Bear” and Woody were “pure as the driven snow” and built their juggernaut programs on “three hots & a cot”. They weren’t.
They were ruthless SOBs who ran Parris Island-style boot camps with a “water is for sissies” attitude. They grabbed and twisted facemasks (except for Knute who was pre-facemasks) and used assorted intimidation techniques when “deemed necessary”. For most of “Bear” and Woody’s coaching careers “racial issues” were non “issues”. Not at all for Knute.
If you recall my story of “The Carolina Junction Boys” during Bill Dooley’s early years at UNC … “Don’t bitch … transfer” was a popular catch phrase. But “transferring” back then involved losing a year of eligibility.
In summation: “Ol’ Man Usta” Is Dead. For us Baby Boomers, very little over the past 50-60-70-80 years – including College Football – is “How it USTA be” … even 10 years ago.
We can simply accept it … adjust to the changes … find another hobby … or bitch about it 24/7. I strongly recommend “accept it”.
Yes, some babies DO get thrown out with the bathwater. That’s regrettable … but it has always been the case in all aspects of Societal Evolution.
Follow “your team” either “in person” or on TV as you choose. Be happy when your “preferred jersey color” wins … and “darn it” when it doesn’t. Develop a self-image strong enough not to require vicarious success in events over which you have absolutely no influence.
Be a goggle-eyed, spittle-spewing, terminally-bitchin’ board monkey lunatic if you must … and Heaven help anyone who has to be around you.
Its A Rule that I HAVE to …
… have a comment about the “Tez Thing” at UNCCH. From what I gather from the bazillion stories about it … his short NCCU experience and the timing of his enrollment at UNCCH merited his being eligible to play this season. The “grandmother see him play” angle and the “mental heath stuff” is – IMO – irrelevant and simply muddies the water. IMO.
I am surprised at the OMG OMG OMG national reaction and, especially, the over-the-top comments from UNCCH officials especially Mack Brown. Is this kid the second coming of Jerry Rice and Randy Moss? Really?
I’m calling “BS” on the “threats of violence … almost criminal” claims from the NCAA. How many and what manner of threats ??? Rush got “death threats” every week for 30 years from left-wing lunatics. Hired a bodyguard – former Harlem Homicide detective. Dead ringer for Joe Stalin.
Get rid of The NCAA and create a separate governing body for Big Time College Football … and MBB. Find an iron-fisted Czar who is Solomon Incarnate to rule in a “because I said so” style. And everyone can bitch and whine about him … or her.
Another NFL Owner Brouhaha …
SURPRISE! There’s ANOTHER Brouhaha about “stodgy very rich old white guy” NFL owners supposedly saying stoopid racist stuff they shouldn’t say … but did … supposedly.
One of them is, of course, Jerry Jones. “Hating Jerry Jones just because _____” is bordering on a national pandemic. With his Dallas Cowboys in a 20 year funk, finding 100 people in Dallas who like Jerry would be a stretch …much less anywhere else. Jerry doesn’t care if you like him or not. He likes him and he surrounds himself with sycophants who pretend to. What more does one need?
The other “rich old white guy NFL owner” is some guy I’ve ever heard of … I think the Bills’ owner … doesn’t matter. Supposedly he said something to the effect ” … then they can all go back to Africa”. OUCH!
“They” meaning 75% of the players in The NFL. Not even Joe “Brandon” Biden would say something THAT stoopid … OK, HE probably would … about “Corn Pop”.
I’m getting close to being “an old white guy” but I’m not filthy rich to where I can say incredibly stoopid crap and not wish I hadn’t. Jerry and “the other owner” are both “filthy rich” and “so old” not to care. Former NBA owner Donald Sterling didn’t care and he’s no longer an NBA owner.
All this is, of course, a natural progression of yours truly’s Incredible Revelation 10-12 years ago about Gladiators & Spectators … but I bet you guys already knew that.