The introduction offers a sobering assessment of the power relationship between some coaches and their bosses.
Current University of Alabama President Robert Witt tore at that football-foremost notion almost as soon as he took the job nearly nine years ago, ousting misbehaving Mike Price before the newly named coach ever worked a game. As engineering professor Clark Midkiff remembers, "It was rumored that a member of the board of trustees did not want him to fire Coach Price, and Bob Witt said, 'It's either me or him.'
"Were that to be a situation between him and Nick Saban, who would win?" Midkiff says of the man who has coached today's Crimson Tide within reach of a second national championship in three years.
That speaks volumes, doesn't it?He still likes Witt's chances, he says, but concedes, "I don't know."
I don't mean to sound Pollyannish, but the big-time presence of athletics is not going to change on America's colleges and universities until the presidents, the NCAA, alumni and boards of trustees stand firm and determine enough is enough.
What will that mean?
Among the options:
1. Reduce the number and amount of corporate sponsorships and television deals.
2. Cut the number of athletic events that, for lack of a better term, benefit television first.
3. Significantly reduce the salaries paid to many football and basketball coaches.
4. Shorten the practice and actual seasons in which sports can compete.
No, this list is not complete. And, no, these are not "must-do" items. Nevertheless, they are a starting point for a conversation that needs to be had IF IF IF there is a real belief that coaches (and their teams) wield too much power.
For what my opinion is worth, I don't see that conversation happening any time soon.