Selfish Brian Kelly leaves for LSU with Notre Dame in playoff race that makes sport’s hypocrisy on display

Whatever Brian Kelly said to the Notre Dame players on his way out the door on Tuesday morning, his final team meeting didn’t include the words, “It’s not worth it.”

It doesn’t have to do that. Kelly’s shocking act outweighs any insightful explanation. Probably the largest sports program in the world, one of the College football The playoff race with the national championship is likely within reach, Kelly countered.

The LSU job is more desirable. The tigers need him now with an early signing date approaching. The amount is certainly more substantial. For Kelly, chasing the dragon that prevented the coach from getting a statue erected outside Notre Dame Stadium was not worth it.

On the same day Lincoln Riley was branded a “traitor” on the Oklahoma campus for taking the USC job, Kelly called … and got a raise.

Six days before his team could join the CFP for the third time in four years, Kelly not only accepted the LSU job, he left immediately. That is unprecedented. In the history of this sport, few coaches have ever gone away with a championship in hand.

Among the messages Kelly sent: I don’t think the Fighting Irish will make it to the playoffs, but even if they do, I don’t care because they’re not going to win anyway.

In his three BCS and CFP appearances, his Notre Dame teams have never won – or come close to winning – a match. The Irish lost those three games by a total of 103-31.

There have been comparisons to Bobby Petrino leaving the Atlanta Falcons. But that team is not in NFL playoff race. This is like a coach of a 2nd seed in NCAA Tournament Leave on the eve of Round 1 ending.

This is supposed to be the most exciting week of the season. Instead, the conference championship games and the playoff build-up were hit by coaches. They – and their agents – have set a new standard. But what exactly is that standard?

Notre Dame sporting director Jack Swarbrick said: “You’ve seen a dramatic change: a change in mobility and a change in compensation. “I don’t have the answer, but we’d better ask it. What do we want college football to be and make sure it stays relevant to the college environment?”

Swarbrick is in a situation where his program could begin the knockout stages without an assigned interim coach. He put a lot of faith in the football background left by Kelly.

That also begs the question: Why couldn’t Kelly wait a week to see Notre Dame eliminated? Louisiana high school talent prospects could have waited until then.

You can bet Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell, who many believe is the favorite to replace Kelly, will keep Notre Dame waiting for the Bearcats playoffs to be over. As he should.

The right?

The rest of us have little faith in the astonishing hypocrisy of what college athletics has become.

Last week, Riley was at the peak of her fifth consecutive Big 12 title and possibly the playoff kicks off. On Monday, he broke down in tears at the prospect of training in the Los Angeles Arena.

“The history of this program,” Riley said Monday during his USC introductory press conference, “is as good as it has been in college football.”

Let that sink in, Soon Country.

Kelly left less than a week before the Notre Dame show he nurtured to recuperate could land a playoff spot just eight days after he announced his loyalty to the Irish.

“…Unless the fairy godmother comes in with that $250 million check, my wife’s going to want to see it first. I have to get her to run it,” Kelly said.

Kelly was good at lightening the fairy godmother’s burden. Turns out it only took a reported $95 million over 10 years for Kelly to depart immediately.

“That surprised me at how similar the comments were [were] performed by Lincoln the day before, “Swarbrick talks about Kelly’s goodbye to the team.” It was just another chance, the right time for his family to take another chance. “

What do we do with all of that? Echoes of Nick Saban’s famous statement as the Miami Dolphins coach – “I’m not going to be Alabama’s coach.” – began to ring in our ears. In a way, coaches having to go into negotiations with a suitor to do after 12 good years?

In a different sense… WTF?

What must we believe these days? More than that, Who should we believe? This kind of betrayal is merely a reflection of what college athletics has become.

Mindless rearrangement has devastated the game twice in a decade. BCS and CFP have created a caste system that forces unauthorized people to play guaranteed games against giants just to balance their budgets. The NCAA as a whole could not afford to cheat to the point where they have all but splashed their hands on the name, image, and cuteness of this day.

Power Five trustees worked in their own self-interest last year as COVID-19 raged. There is no consensus on anything – scheduling, testing, whether games will be played or not.

In a way, it’s hard to sympathize with Notre Dame, which has acted in its own interests for decades as a powerful independent. Their decision in 1990 to partner with NBC to televise their home games rocked college football. It ultimately destroyed the sport’s negotiating arm, the Collegiate Football Association, and laid the groundwork for monster media royalty fees commanded by conferences.

That, in turn, has generated a huge amount of money that has led power agents to leverage millions of dollars for their clients. You may have noticed that the market for top trainers has been re-established in just the last week with Mel Tucker’s $95 million renewal becoming official in the State of Michigan.

Madness. Over a seven-day period, we now have four coaches – Tucker, Riley, Kelly and James Franklin of Penn State – earning significantly more than the average NFL coach (average salary: 6.7). millions of dollars).

In that sense, college football has become NFL Lite. The transfer portal is free agency. Recruitment is a draft. The coaches who think of it that way are the most successful.

We could argue about whether Kelly had better access to CFP at LSU another time. It’s how he left that is the problem.

A week ago, Notre Dame and Oklahoma had a loss between them. Today, there is no head coach.

While we’re at it, congratulations to everyone. This season’s training carousel has actually gotten bigger than the biggest week of the season games.

Maybe this is simply a glimpse into the future. The NCAA as we know it will soon die. These new contracts reflect the growing gap between millionaire coaches and the low-paid workforce that is (still) playing for them.

Several university stakeholders have spoken to CBS Sports hoping that eventually, the athletes will become employees of the schools. With that will come collective bargaining. The agent will become even stronger.

You think deals are crazy right now? Even today’s most unscrupulous coaches have to swallow bitterly before demanding loyalty from their players.

The newly formed college basketball players union recently filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging unfair labor practices. It says the NCAA has misclassified college players as “student-athletes” for 68 years.

“The players score points, the coaches get paid because the labor is free,” said Michael Hsu, a CBPA board member. “That makes it easy for them to pay these coaches a lot.”

Are they? all of Traitors leave at inconvenient times? No one can doubt the return on investment with Riley and Kelly.

Go to the thesaurus and call their actions what you would do, but Kelly’s actions are unprecedented for more important reasons. There are six or seven teams still alive in the College Rugby Round.

The coach of one of them determined that seeing how far his team could go was not worth the time or effort. After all, the early signing period at LSU is only 15 days away.

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