A week has passed since Sailboatgate. Maybe it’s time to cut Athletic Director Bill Martin some slack.
Yeah, and maybe the Lions won’t blow another game and rip out the hearts of their fans.
Needless to say, people following the Michigan football-coaching search are pretty much right where they were last week. And the week before that. And, yeah, the week before that.
And Martin is still the guy who anger-ridden fans should blame.
If the incompetence we all witnessed two weekends ago wasn’t enough to show that, maybe, Martin isn’t the right guy to be running Michigan’s first true head-coaching search in four decades, our athletic director gave us a nice exhibit B over the past week.
Martin headed east and, depending on who you ask, either offered or essentially said “the job is yours if you want it” to Rutgers coach Greg Schiano.
Judging by the lack of big pictures and stories on the front page of the paper, it’s pretty obvious what happened next. Schiano, the coach of a team that has won more than seven games a whopping one time in his eight years of coaching, turned down the Wolverines, opting to stay in New Jersey to coach the Scarlet Knights.
Sure, it’s disappointing to have your program shrugged off by the coach of a second-tier program.
But the real injustice from the week was the rampant hypocrisy of Martin’s actions.
Our favorite sailing enthusiast, who refused to talk to LSU coach Les Miles the week before saying he didn’t have permission to do so, went ahead and interviewed Schiano sans the nod from Rutgers’ athletic director.
Whether the job was officially offered doesn’t really matter – Michigan got turned down by someone who shouldn’t have even been offered the job.
As a matter of fact, there shouldn’t even be an available job. Miles wanted (and likely still wants) his dream job in Ann Arbor. But it’s hard to get a job if you aren’t offered it.
Even though Miles signed a contract extension last weekend, this saga likely isn’t over. The same buyout still exists in the contract that did earlier, so Miles could still bolt if he wants to – Miles’s asking price might just be a little higher.
The problem is, it looks like Martin doesn’t want Miles.
And that’s unfortunate, because at this point, the list of people who don’t want Miles to come to Michigan is pretty short – Martin, outgoing coach Lloyd Carr, Louisiana State Athletic Director Skip Berman and a handful of stuffy higher-ups within the Michigan Athletic Department.
For everyone else, including hundreds of ex-players who are reportedly flooding Martin and the coaching-search committee’s inboxes with e-mails, Miles is the guy.
Normally I’d say ignoring the masses might be a good idea. Martin is a successful businessman who has done nearly everything right as athletic director, too.
But maybe he isn’t cut out to handle the rigors of a high-profile coaching search. Maybe he’s letting a few people’s personal issues with Miles blind him from the obvious solution to this mess.
Quite a few people want another push for Miles for a reason.
Maybe it’s time to listen.
– Bell can be reached at email@example.com