While the heinous child abuse coverups at Penn State and Syracuse are the best examples of how big bucks have corrupted big time college sports, there are others.
Take Lowly KU’s dealings in the hiring and firing of football coach Turner Gill.
KU athletics director Sheahon Zenger wasn’t the one who stepped in it by hiring Gill. That distinction goes to ousted, former KU AD Lew Perkins who laid a $10 million contract on the unproven, ex-Nebraska footballer. The obvious-but-overlooked question being, why cough up $10 million for an untested coach with a losing record?
Zenger is the dude who blithely agreed to cut Gill a $6 million farewell check like it was no big deal.
Perkins, btw went down amidst a $2 million ticket scandal, which pales in comparision to the $9 million buyouts for football coaches Mark Mangino and Gill
But nobody really seems to care, because money is no object when it comes to college sports. And now Zenger can go out, roll the dice again and cut some other coach a multi-million dollar deal. Someone like former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. That’s the talk anyway.
Star sports scribe Sam Mellinger even characterized the hiring of Leach by KU as the "best case scenario."
Hold it right there….
Leach is the dude Texas Tech fired for player abuse, the same thing KU fired former football coach Mark Mangino for two years ago. Then Leach filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Tech – a lawsuit still pending – and a suit against ESPN. In other words, he’s what they call litigious.
And this is the kinda guy KU needs to hire?
A coach who was terminated because of "his irresponsible treatment of a player diagnosed with a brain concussion and his unwillingness to work with Tech leadership to resolve the issue," the university contends.
Oh, I forgot. Leach is a winner and KU could makes lots of money. Who cares if he’s a standup guy?
Turner Gill was a standup guy and look where that got KU.
All of which shich speaks to my point yesterday; unless someone steps in and finds a way to dial out the ridiculous profits in college sports – take them out of the hands of the power brokers that currently control them – corruption and waste will continue to reign.
Nothing will matter except winning. Money will remain no object. And whatever needs to be covered up to keep the good times rolling will continue to be covered up.
The question that remains is, will Gill’s replacement be able to afford to take over the payments on Gill’s seven-figure manse at Fall Creek Farms in Lawrence? Count on it.