We start off the week with a Seattle Times article on the disciplinary problems WSU is having with their football team. The Cougars will lose eight scholarships because of NCAA graduation guidelines which will won't help Paul Wulff rebuild quickly. It also will interfere with the weeding out process most coaches go through when they start a new job. I am sure their are other kids he wants to give the boot, but NCAA restrictions will further penalize him if he does it.
Unlike the article on the UW football team earlier this year the WSU article is compiled from recent events which makes the story a lot more credible.
Six months ago, the mood was festive in Pullman when Paul Wulff returned to his alma mater to resuscitate the Washington State football program. But bubbling beneath the surface were off-the-field problems that would combine to make a tough job even tougher.
The report doesn't paint a very flattering picture of Bill Doba and his staff. The slant whether it is right or wrong seems to indicate that Doba wasn't much of a disciplinarian, and he also didn't spend a lot of time paying attention to the details of the transgressions.
You have to ask the question why the Seattle Times isn't also focusing on programs at Oregon, USC, or the entire Pac Ten? USC, and Oregon have provided more question marks than answers over the last few years as far as ethics are concerned.
The answer of course is that the Times feels it's readers would rather hear about problems close to home of local interest rather than the problems of the Pac Ten, or college football in general. I think the Times is missing the mark, you can't truly measure what is going on at WSU, and UW without taking a good look at college football in general.
Another thing to factor in is the newspaper business in general is losing money right now. The Internet is killing advertising revenues, and overall home subscriptions. Factor in the cost of gas too which is just killing them when it comes to distributing the print edition each day. Simply put the papers really don't have the budget or staff to do much investigative reporting outside the area.
UW under Ty Willingham has not been winning on the playing field, but for the most part the players have stayed out of trouble, and the program has one of the highest graduation rates in the conference. You can say whatever you want about Ty's on the field performance, but he has shaped up a program that was becoming a real embarrassment to the university.
You can say the same thing about recently departed AD Todd Turner who was in charge of bringing respectability, and accountability to the department as a whole. Bottom line though it is a business, and success is measured by wins and losses on the playing field. Turner is gone because he missed that part of the equation, and Willingham probably has one last season to show he can win. Winning is what puts people in the seats, and keeps contributions coming in each year.
The biggest question of course is if you can win on the field if you are winning in the classroom, and in the overall ethics department? Tough to say because I don't believe we have a level playing field in the conference, and around the nation.
Could it be down to Chuck Nelson, Bob Stull, and maybe Scott Woodward?
I would take Stull over Chuck if it came to that because he has the experience. No knock on Chuck, but running an athletic department like UW's should require previous experience in that position.
I wouldn't exactly count out Woodward yet because if UW can't get the man that Emmert wants Scoot is still a very viable option.
Here is Bob Condotta's latest take on the situation.
Sources, however, indicate that UW had serious conversations, if not flat-out offering the job, to two sitting ADs --- Dan Radakovich of Georgia Tech and Chris Hill of Utah. One source said talks with Radakovich broke down over money --- he apparently just signed a new contract worth more than $600,000 a year and would need more than that to bother with making a move.
Turner had a base salary of $345,000 with other incoming putting him in the $400-500,000 range, and the Huskies aren't likely to go a whole lot higher as Pac-10 schools simply don't pay as much for ADs as do those in most of the other major conferences --- one reason UW may have a tough time hiring a sitting AD at a major school.
As for as Hill, one source said those talks broke down in part because Hill didn't want to get involved in a lengthy search. He was apparently offered the UW job in 2004 and sounds as if he didn't want to get publicly involved again if there was any chance he wasn't going to get the job. He's been at Utah since 1987 and is not necessarily itching to move.