Column: Big budget coaches are a symptom of misguided priorities

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A new college football coach doesn’t come cheap, especially when the one you’ve targeted has a high paying job on the Nike Oregon campus.

Fortunately for the University of Miami, the school’s hospital system raked in record profits last year during the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Turning lemons into lemonade, the U threw some of that coronavirus money at Mario Cristobal in what could be the ultimate indictment against varsity athletics – not to mention our healthcare system and the set of erroneous priorities of the country.

Of course, the Hurricanes were just the last to join the crowd when they pulled Cristobal away from Nike-backed Oregon and its wide range of ugly uniforms, training awkwardly.

Indeed, it is already a sacred offseason for a season that still has a month to go.

Eager to raise up his fallen star,

Not to be outdone, LSU surprisingly persuaded Brian Kelly, the most successful coach in Notre Dame history, to leave the Fighting Irish while still vying for a place in the playoffs. college football.

(They narrowly missed a No.5 ranking, which at least kept the ridiculous scenario of Kelly’s hastily appointed successor Marcus Freeman from making his coaching debut in a domestic semi-final game. .)

Kelly, who has never won a national championship and will be struggling to do so in Baton Rouge as long as this guy Nick Saban reigns in Tuscaloosa, nonetheless

We assume he used some of that money to take a crash course in Cajun, because the Massachusetts native who never coached in the Deep South

The massive spending comes on top of the $ 16.8 million buyout the Tigers agreed to pay former coach Ed Orgeron, who was dumped just two years after winning a fortuitous national title when Joe Burrow was his QB.

Big money boosters have undoubtedly stepped in to fund much of the massive USC and LSU deals – hey, the rich can spend their money however they want – but hiring Cristobal in Miami has lifted the ball. disturbing red flags.

You see, the pandemic has proven to be a boon to the University of Miami’s health operations, which has been the school’s most significant area of ​​growth over the past year.

Saying the quiet part out loud, Miami officials have openly said they will funnel some of the $ 400 million in reported profits into their struggling sports program.

Hiring Cristobal, a former Hurricanes player who went 35-13 with a pair of Pac-12 titles in five years at Oregon, is a big part of the effort to restore the school to its former glory. 1980s and 1990s grid.

Like USC, Miami is a private university that can prioritize its spending however it wants.

It can certainly be argued – look no further than the impact of Saban in Alabama – that a successful football team can more than make a profit by bolstering a university’s national reputation and fundraising efforts.

But no one living up to their weight in public relations would advise a school to link a global health crisis, which has claimed nearly 800,000 Americans and more than 5 million people worldwide, to more victories over the world. football field.

It’s downright sick.

In another PR blunder, Miami began their pursuit of Cristobal with Diaz still uncomfortably hanging on the payroll.

When the Hurricanes were sure they had their man, Diaz was fired.

“I am disappointed with the university’s decision and the way it has gone over the past few weeks,” said the ousted coach. “The uncertainty has had an impact on our team, our staff and their families – real people who have given their all to this program. For that, for them, I hurt.

Of course, Diaz conveniently failed to mention how he got the job in the first place, dropping out of Temple just 17 days after he was hired in December 2018, rushing to Miami as soon as he learned of Mark Richt’s surprise retirement.

Coach Karma had the last laugh, it seems.

The Hurricanes weren’t the only ones making their way through one PR crisis after another.

Kelly’s departure from Notre Dame could provide a manual full of examples on how not to make a job transition.

His assistant coaches and players found out via social media that he was heading to LSU. He eventually broke the news himself in an uncomfortable early morning reunion that lasted about as long as a threesome possession. Then there was that Cajun accent he brought up during an LSU basketball game.

was newsworthy as well, looking like something Garth and Wayne might have filmed in their parents’ basement (look, kids) – not the movie capital of the world.

Of course, varsity athletics doing all they can to embarrass themselves is nothing new.

There are far more serious concerns than false accents and amateur gatherings.

Our priorities are all out of whack.

Unfortunately, no one seems to care.

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Paul Newberry is a national sports columnist for the Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry (at) ap.org or at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 and check out his work at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry

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