Thursday, November 20, 2008

A time to make noise

Floyd Keith, where were you this week? We could have used you and the BCA. Or at least your platform. But as it is, you're too late. As usual.

A week after the BCA released a report citing the dearth of black head coaches in college football, the University of Texas announced star defensive coordinator Will Muschamp had already been tabbed to succeed Mack Brown as head coach.

Brown is 57, has eight years left on his contract and no immediate plans to retire. Muschamp is 37, in his first year at UT and one of the hottest names in college football - he likely would have been in the running for the top job at a number of other schools.

But Brown has had a virtual revolving door at defensive coordinator for the past few years, and the thought of losing another was likely frustrating to him. You can make a case that locking up Muschamp was a smart, proactive move for a program seeking stability at an important spot and a way to ensure there's a succession place in place. And for all we know, Muschamp is the next Darrell Royal. Or Mack Brown.

However, it's not your job to care about that Mr. Keith. Your job is to continually pressure and poke at a system that has left only four black head coaches in the NCAA's top division of college football; there's 119 schools in the so-called Football Bowl Subdivision.

Even worse, the numbers simply don't add up: 46 percent of the players in Division I football are black. As usual, brothas are all over the field and rarely on the sideline - unless they're waiting to get back on the field.

We, specifically you, have to force schools out of the habit of settling on the most obvious choice. Make them think outside of the box. Keep them from creating succession plans. Complacency and continuity breeds familiarity, you know?

From Signal to Noise makes the point:

Muschamp is merely the latest in a trend: the most prominent name in this ilk is Florida State O-coordinator Jimbo Fisher, who’s been promised the head gig when Bobby Bowden either retires or keels over, followed by Kentucky OC Joker Phillips in the same position with Rich Brooks (it also exists at Purdue, but I can’t recall the guy replacing Joe Tiller next season.) Hell, it isn’t even reserved for the NCAA — Jim Mora the Younger is set to replace Mike Holmgren with the Seahawks next year.

Brown said he thinks it’s part of a new trend. “Looking across the country, I think we will see more of this, especially in programs that are working well,” Brown said.

Sounds like a challenge to me. Didn't we used to call this the Good Ol' Boys Network?

At this point, it's obvious that releasing an annual report isn't enough to make substantive change. In many ways, this has become something of a fruitless ritual for the BCA. One day to make some noise, 364 more to stay silent on the issue. Tuesday would have been a good day to put UT on blast, don't you think?

It reminds me of the time, five years ago, when I covered an execution in Texas: the protesters were ready to go that night, carrying their signs, challenging the cops and creating general unrest. The guy still got the lethal dose and everyone went home.

The problem is, convicted criminals are sentenced to death with regularity in Texas. By the time the guy is on a gurney, it's too late. If you're really committed to the cause, protesting the death penalty should be a 365-day a year job.

It's something that Mr. Keith and the BCA might want to remember next time.

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