Added Football Upheaval At Kansas

Two days ago, I wrote about the firing of Les Miles as the head football coach at Kansas after an investigation at LSU – the last school where he was the head football coach – found some disgusting behaviors on his part.  I said at the time that Miles deserved to be fired for what he has allegedly done even though it was long ago and at a different school AND THAT Kansas fans and alums ought not to expect much in the next selection of a coach because it is the same folks doing the searching/interviewing/hiring.

Well, now maybe the fans/alums at Kansas have a glimmer of hope.  The school announced yesterday that the AD who hired Les Miles and who missed the boat twice – – he missed the disgusting behaviors and he missed by hiring a new coach who went 3-18 in his two years on the job  – – has also been fired.  I have no idea if there is anything “untoward” in his time at Kansas that would merit the firing of Jeff Long from the AD job, but I do know that his record of seeking and hiring college football coaches is less than laudatory.

  1. He hired Bobby Petrino.  Good coach; not so good husband; not nearly so good at lying to cover up his improper behaviors.
  2. He hired Bret Bielema.  Decent coach; not so good working with administration and alums; now involved in a civil lawsuit with the school that Long represented when he hired Bielema.
  3. He hired Les Miles.  Had a good coaching run at LSU and a miserable time at Kansas; his off-field behaviors at LSU were disgusting at best.

As is customary today, truth seems never to be front and center when people make statements in the midst of these sorts of events.  Here is what some of the Kansas Chancellor had to say about the newly fired AD, Jeff Long:

“I want to wholeheartedly thank Jeff for his service to KU. When we hired Jeff, he was charged with modernizing our athletics department and ensuring our coaches and student-athletes continue to have the resources they need to succeed. This was no easy task, and he far exceeded our expectations.

“Jeff guided Kansas Athletics to progress in student-athlete healthcare, diversity and inclusion, and student-athlete academic achievement, all while managing significant challenges not of his own making.  Most important, Jeff was unwaveringly dedicated to students, coaches and staff, and he represented KU with integrity and compassion. For that, we thank him, and we wish him the very best.”

If all that were absolutely true, Jeff Long would still have a job at Kansas.  It is as simple as that…

Moving on …  Pro Football reported that the CFL and the XFL may find ways to “collaborate” in the future.  Both leagues are in “less than robust condition”.  The XFL exists only because it was purchased at a bankruptcy sale by a consortium led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; the CFL lost its 2020 season to COVID-19 and hopes to start its training camps in May 2021 – – but there are still public health issues that could make that impossible.  The XFL holds no such aspirations for 2021; the XFL will not have a 2021 season and has characterized its 2022 season as “on hold” as of now.  Both the CFL and the XFL face existential crises now; presumably, some of the folks who make strategic decisions for these leagues believe that come sort of “collaboration” can benefit both entities.

Here is part of an upbeat statement on this subject by Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner of the CFL:

“Canada has an exciting game and devoted fans, and our discussion with the XFL provides a tremendous opportunity to build on that strong foundation.  We look forward to exploring how we might work with one of the most innovative sports brands in the world to grow the game, engage fans in new ways, and reach new audiences. We look forward to seeing what possibilities our discussions might uncover, and to sharing those with our fans as the process unfolds.”

I like to watch the CFL version of pro football.  The CFL game is quite different from the NFL game in terms of pacing and game strategy while the essential elements of the CFL and NFL games remain the same.  The XFL has sought to carve out a niche of its own in terms of the product on the field seeking not to be simply “NFL- Lite”.  Perhaps, there can be ways for the two leagues to “collaborate”.

However, I must signal a cautionary note here:

  • In the mid-90s, the CFL tried to expand into the “Lower 48” of the US.
  • That foray lasted all of 2 seasons.
  • Let me just say that throngs of fans here in the US do not turn out to mourn the day that their CFL team dried up and blew away.
  • [Aside – and for the record:  I journeyed to Baltimore to see the Baltimore Stallions play during their brief existence.  I enjoyed the game; Ienjoyed the CFL in the US.  I do not mourn the demise of the Baltimore Stallions.]

I have no idea what it might mean for the two financially troubled leagues to “collaborate”.  History tells me one mode of their “collaboration” is not likely to work for very long.  On the plus side of this potential “collaboration”, Dwayne Johnson was once part of the CFL; he was a defensive end for the Calgary Stampeders for a short time before the CFL tried its “Southern Expansion”.  It will be interesting to see how this story continues and grows – – assuming that it does either of those two things.

Finally, consider this item from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times.  This represents a way for the XFL and the CFL to avoid as they seek to emulate the success of the NFL.

“NFL teams are required to provide three-dozen sliced oranges for visiting teams, The Athletic reported.

“Players’ parents, however, are not allowed to accost coaches over their kids’ playing time.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………