This is about a tug-and-pull that is not about to end soon.
College sports, football in particular, are big business. We have come from the days of a team of students who went out to play on a few Saturdays against nearby colleges to a highly evolved business enterprise.
Coaches are paid huge sums. They move about from school to school and college to pros as the money flows.
Boston College fired its football coach Jeff Jagodzinski this week in a way that has generated a national buzz.
Jagodzinski had a five-year deal at BC, his first head coaching job. He completed his second year this season and decided he wanted to test the NFL head coaching waters. He had been an assistant NFL coach previously.
He arranged an interview with the New York Jets, apparently without informing BC.
BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo, reportedly discovering news of the interview indirectly, told Jagodzinski that if the interview occurred he would be fired. The interview occurred and so did the firing.
The buzz has come because college coaches are always signing contracts for millions, agreements they ignore when something else comes along. DeFilippo and BC said, not this time.
DeFilippo said at a news conference announcing the firing that BC would “find someone who really wants to be at BC” and “who is going to be here for the length of his contract.”
Some have said hooray for BC and hope other schools, even the football factories, might follow BC’s lead.
Others have said, wait a minute, coaches do this stuff all the time, and so do the schools who hire the coaches who are under contract elsewhere. (Will BC hire a new coach who is under contract with another school?)
Many point to the fact players who sign Letters of Intent with colleges cannot then change schools unless they sit for a year. Why shouldn’t coaches be bound?
Others talk about how players commit to colleges based on who is the coach and therefore schools give coaches four- and five-year deals to help in recruiting.
Of course, coaches use this reasoning to get the long-term deals but then have no compunction about moving before the deal is up, never mind what they said to the players they recruited.
All of this is not new. BC’s position is.
It comes at a time when the off-field feud regarding the BCS and a call for a football playoff series is raging.
Texas congressman Joe Barton wants to propose legislation that would require a playoff series. He says the current BCS “championship game” is “patently deceptive.”
The attorney general in Utah is investigating whether the BCS violates antitrust laws.
Barton is a Texas A&M grad and Utah was the only unbeaten major college.
Remember, the NCAA and the BCS are both creations of the nation’s college presidents, who are still the keepers of college sports — you can argue to what degree.
This push and pull with coaches and the BCS is about who will control the games in the future. Will college football remain a part of the educational system or morph into something that looks like a professional minor league that just happens to have a college name on the front?