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NCAA coaches lack loyalty

December 9, 2012
By John Mehno , The Altoona Mirror

PITTSBURGH - Paul Chryst is staying at Pitt!

It says something about college sports when there's a headline because a coach is staying at a school where he signed a contract less than a year ago.

Chryst's continuing presence at Pitt became an issue because the Wisconsin job suddenly opened, and that was perceived to be his dream job. (Most dream jobs involve some sort of geographic or family ties and, not coincidentally, pay more).

Nothing lasts forever, and a lot of college coaching tenures don't last the length of a contract. We had the case of Rich Rodriguez, whose success at West Virginia led Alabama to pursue him after the 2006 season. Rodriguez stayed at Morgantown after WVU upgraded his contract and he reaffirmed his commitment.

That love affair lasted until the next year, when Rodriguez bolted for Michigan. The lawyers racked up a lot of billable hours settling things.

This all happens under the supervision of the NCAA, which has strict restrictions on student-athlete transfers, even though you'd expect an 18-year-old to be more likely to make a regrettable mistake when choosing a destination. It won't change, either, as long as athletic directors and university presidents are constantly conference hopping to chase the best deals.

Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez stepped in to announce that he wouldn't take Chryst from Pitt after recommending him. Pardon the cynicism, but was that a convenient way to take Chryst off Wisconsin's radar so Alvarez could focus on a candidate he preferred more?

It's interesting that the most unethical headhunting doesn't take place in a cutthroat professional league, but rather among institutions of higher learning.

Sometimes it leads to failure. Michigan fired Rodriguez after three seasons, in which he had the lowest winning percentage in school history (.405) and failed to beat rivals Ohio State and Michigan State.

One good thing about Chryst staying put: It assures that Pitt won't play in that inconsequential bowl game for the third straight year with an interim coach in charge.

Still locked

Oh, those crazy hockey players. They trusted the NHL. They thought the league was serious about getting a deal done through reasonable bargaining.

The faces at the table may have changed, but the NHL stayed the course. When it comes to give and take, they're only interested in half of that menu. The league wants surrender, not compromise. The whole dispute has been founded on the idea that the players will cave in, and the NHL isn't budging from that position.

 
 

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