I have been a Bo backer since the day he was named head coach of The Nebraska Cornhuskers. I liked his fire and the old school mentality that he brings to the table. I admired the passion he seemed to have for the game, as well as his completely blunt honesty when it came to how he felt about situations.
That was then and this is now. One of the first things I learned while going to college for broadcasting was to make sure you didn’t say anything you wouldn’t want people to hear if you were near a microphone. You never know if it might be cued up. You wouldn’t want to have that audio stick, because once it went over the airwaves that was it. There was no deleting or backtracking that could be done. You would have to live with whatever was said. No, Pelini is not a broadcaster, but I’m sure that the P.R. department at The University of Nebraska had probably had that talk with Pelini at some point.
What Pelini said on the audio that was released by Deadspin yesterday is probably something that damn near every coach in the nation has spoken at one point or another. Head coaches at major programs take a lot of heat from fans. While Pelini is probably one of many, he is the one who was caught in the act. It doesn’t matter if it was supposed to be a private conversation, it’s public now. Many will criticize the “Edward Snowden” from The Husker Sports Network. It doesn’t matter who dropped the dime on the six year head coach at Nebraska. Hell, this clip could be the first of many that surface. Anyone who is that careless around audio recording equipment has probably done this on several occasions.
To really make the case for University of Nebraska officials like chancellor Harvey Perlman and Athletic Director Sean Eichorst to fire Bo Pelini an analogy might be in order. Mitch Sherman of ESPN.com pointed out yesterday that Pelini is the highest paid public employee in the state. You can consider him the CEO of Nebraska Cornhusker football. He is the figure head, the one who has to answer for both the success and failure of the team. He is responsible for what takes place and accountable to the share holders (University of Nebraska officials and boosters) as well as the consumers (the fans).
Like it or not, college football is a business. You have to please your investors, maintain good public relations with your consumers, and expand the market whenever possible. It doesn’t matter what the results are from a CEO if the PR falls apart. Let’s say the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is gaining positive results, above average gains but not great. This would not be a reason to let him/her go. If that same person, however, was heard speaking with obscenities about their customers it would be catastrophic. It would be the worst possible scenario for that company’s bottom line. There would be outrage and mounting pressure to fire the CEO in order save face.
A few days ago I said that there might be a need for changes in Pelini’s roll. Not necessarily removing him as coach, but maybe letting defensive coordinator John Papuchis take the reigns and let him call the defense. After his comments from two seasons ago, I feel it is time for someone else to take the reigns of this team. Not because of the performance of his team on the field, although many have grown weary of blowout losses, but because Pelini has embarrassed the university and fan base several times over with his anger and actions.
Pelini has done a lot of good at Nebraska. He handled the Penn State situation well a few years ago when the Jerry Sandusky scandal was spattered all over the newspaper. He is also the person who orchestrated Jack Hoffman’s touchdown run in the Spring Game. Then last weekend he made sure Nick Pasquale’s number was on Nebraska’s helmets when UCLA came to Lincoln. I am in no way saying that Bo Pelini is someone who does not have compassion or doesn’t care about people. I believe the exact opposite. That doesn’t change the fact that he is on an audio recording cursing the very fan base who supports his team like no other in college football.
In my opinion Bo Pelini has overstayed his welcome as head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The University of Nebraska needs to act swiftly or the public unrest could reach the same levels as it did with former coach Bill Callahan. I would hope that Husker fans will still fill every seat in Memorial Stadium regardless of Pelini’s status, but there are many in Husker Nation that could walk away if he remains. While he did apologize in a statement last night, it’s too little too late.