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Brian Kelly’s move from Notre Dame to LSU shows college football has a real problem on its hands

Written by on November 30, 2021

The information convention to introduce Lincoln Riley as USC’s head coach on Monday was so filled with grandiosity, athletics director Mike Bohn truly uttered the next phrases with out even a touch of irony:

“It was by no means our objective to alter the panorama of faculty soccer with one of many greatest strikes within the historical past of the sport, however we did precisely that.”

Bohn’s perch atop the mountain of teaching search bravado lasted roughly two hours.

As a result of for all of the speak popping out of L.A. about shifting the paradigm of the game by hiring Riley, LSU pulling Brian Kelly out of Notre Dame one-upped it in a way that’s much more stunning for an trade whose alarm bells ought to now be totally blaring.

Coaches change jobs on a regular basis, and determined colleges do determined issues this time of 12 months. However for Kelly to go away Notre Dame excessive and dry when his staff nonetheless has an opportunity to win a nationwide championship is each one thing we’ve by no means actually seen in faculty soccer and a rubicon crossed that takes the game down a deadly path.

How does anybody proceed to faux that that is beginner sports activities when a multi-million greenback coach leaves his gamers within the lurch whereas they might nonetheless find yourself taking part in for historical past? How does anybody take the sanctity of the Faculty Soccer Playoff severely when it means so little to Kelly that he high-tails it out of city earlier than he even is aware of whether or not his staff will get in?

Brian Kelly walks off the field after Notre Dame's win against Stanford.

Brian Kelly walks off the sphere after Notre Dame’s win towards Stanford.

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Simply two days in the past, after Notre Dame completed off an 11-1 season with a blowout win over Stanford, Kelly mentioned the next: “We’ve received among the best 4 groups in my thoughts within the nation, with out query, and we’re able to show it.”

And with the Preventing Irish anticipated to be ranked No. 5 or No. 6 by the choice committee on Tuesday, it wouldn’t have taken that a lot for Notre Dame to get in. If Georgia beats Alabama and both Cincinnati, Michigan or Oklahoma State loses their convention championship sport, the Preventing Irish would nearly actually be within the ultimate 4.

In different phrases, Kelly bailed on one in all six groups that also had an opportunity to win the nationwide title. That’s not simply the motion of a damaged man, that’s the product of a damaged sport.

And faculty soccer higher get its arms round this madness earlier than the playoff expands to 12 groups, the place theoretically there might be 20-plus colleges nonetheless within the combine on the top of the teaching carousel.

ESPN or some other tv community higher assume twice about spending billions of {dollars} on a tv product the place coaches would relatively chase large contracts for themselves than serving to the unpaid amateurs etch their names within the historical past books. If the potential individuals don’t care, why ought to anybody else?

For many who say you may’t blame Kelly for accepting a contract from LSU that’s anticipated to be effectively north of $10 million per 12 months, that’s bollocks. There’s no person accountable however Kelly for a classless, gutless exit earlier than the youngsters he recruited to Notre Dame even know whether or not they’ll have the privilege of taking part in for a nationwide championship.

By making this transfer now, Kelly needs to be a pariah in his occupation, by no means considered the identical approach once more. He doesn’t care in any respect about these gamers, and no matter respect he had earned for his stewardship of the Notre Dame program over the past dozen years has been flushed down the bathroom. He ought to perpetually be referred to as little greater than a snake and a mercenary.

And but, the bigger story right here is a couple of sport that’s dashing towards the sting of an financial cliff whereas functioning in a way that essentially devalues its core product.

No different sport does this. The Minnesota Vikings can’t provide to double Invoice Belichick’s wage whereas he’s preparing for the Tremendous Bowl. In skilled sports activities, there are contracts and penalties. In faculty sports activities, the tradition of brokers operating roughshod over athletics administrators has led to a gradual acceptance of the concept they will do no matter they need, renegotiate contracts at any time when they need and alter jobs at will no matter what it says on a chunk of paper.

It’s one factor when a coach leaves for a brand new job and skips out on the Weed-Eater Bowl. However when it encroaches on the Playoff — the one factor that supposedly nonetheless issues on this sport in addition to cash — you’ve received an actual downside in your arms.

Notre Dame’s Playoff destiny shall be determined by a committee of 13 individuals who supposedly think about each issue concerned in a staff’s season and potential competitiveness. Will they take a look at the Preventing Irish the identical approach figuring out that this system has abruptly been plunged into chaos?

It’s a good query and a rotten end result for the gamers who labored too arduous to be kneecapped like this by a coach who’s going to earn eight figures at LSU whereas they proceed to get their scholarship, room and board at Notre Dame.

And but, it completely embodies the present spirit of faculty soccer the place colleges can afford to supply 10-year contracts to coaches they need and dole out enormous buyouts to those they develop bored with exactly as a result of they aren’t required to pay the gamers.

If the brand new commonplace is $10 million-plus for coaches who haven’t gained a nationwide championship, simply think about the extensions Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney and maybe Kirby Sensible are going to be on the lookout for of their subsequent spherical of negotiations.

This isn’t a sustainable system. In some unspecified time in the future, the notion {that a} coach can take a brand new job whereas his staff remains to be within the championship combine must be addressed with huge monetary penalties and contractual penalties. If not, it’s solely going to sow extra chaos within the coming years.

As Bohn mentioned, the panorama of faculty soccer completely modified Monday. It’s simply that USC didn’t turn into the largest offender.

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Brian Kelly transfer from Notre Dame to LSU a school soccer stunner

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