* Rick spills a lot of bullshit sometimes, but I've totally been with him on his extended expositions about our "microwave society". After the Miami Hurricane's scandal hit the news like the sports equivalent of the JFK assassination, a mere 96 hours later, and it's replaced by: "TIM TEBOW VS. BRADY QUINN! Who has the edge?!?"
I don't mean to diminish the seriousness of the allegations, nor do I pretend they've gone away. It's just that I resent the PANIC that's induced by the media after these things hit the presses. Anyone that makes a serious decision about the future of your program in the swarms of these delusions is crazy. My fictional summation of some local reaction the Miami-Hurtt story.
GENERIC RADIO HOST (nursing a hangover): This is crazy. I mean, these reports are crazy (shuffling through a printout of report for first time). Stay with us after the break when we interview Charlie McBum from XYZ sports, and get his opinion of whether Clint Hurtt can survive these accusations at Louisville.
(Worst commercials you've ever heard)
Annnnnd, we're back. Thanks for joining us Charlie, now you've been following this story since the beginning, what are your thoughts?
CMcB (nursing a hangover): Well, it's really surprising. I mean wow. But hearing the rumors around the Miami program for a few years now, it's really not that surprising to those in the know to hear about these things that went on there.
GRH: (ignoring the idiocy of the previous comment) Totally. So where do things go from here?
CMcB: (brushing away dandruff) Well, I don't see how Hurtt survives this. If he's done the things alleged in this report, there's no way.
GRH: Good point.
M. RED (nursing a hangover): Why do I listen to this?* The Hurtt question remains. And, remarkably, his role appears fairly straightforward for such a murky and complex story. Hurtt's no-interest 5K loan borrowed from Nevin Shapiro is documented and a stone cold violation. (And I have to say, this baffles me. So, had Hurtt borrowed $2,500, and paid Shapiro back a couple weeks later, say, $2,504, then he would have been in the clear? Weird).
But the second allegation is more serious. That Hurtt dropped recruits off at Shapiro's house for an evening of rule-breaking revelry, which Hurtt either had specific knowledge of, or was willfully ignorant.
There you have it.
And I have to say, whether to retain Hurtt at UofL is a very tough call. For one, let's be honest, Hurtt is damn good at his job. He's the reigning "National Recruiter of the Year".
Of course, the first criticism to be hurled is that Hurtt was the Recruiter of the Year precisely because he's dirty! But I don't buy it. As I wrote before, I believe the idea that Hurtt has imported his past shadiness from Miami to Louisville is farfetched. It's not that, because of my allegiance, I believe Louisville to be more moral and beyond reproach. It's just that there's an ocean of difference between the two cultures.
Free-wheeling Miami, where the Hurricanes are the 5th or even 6th biggest show in town, and boosters believe that flouting the rules is a birthright, is no comparison to Louisville, the largest little town in America, where Tom Jurich has all of his boosters on a leash. It's simply beyond the pale to believe that Hurtt took the Louisville job, instantly found a renegade booster in the Ville that hemorrhages cash, and continued his underhanded recruiting. It just doesn't work like that. At least not that seamlessly.
So, Clint Hurtt won the "Recruiter of the Year" award for his quick work with the Louisville turnaround. He was desired by Auburn to fill a similar role. He's one of Charlie Strong's right hand men, and the two appear as close as can be, at least from what I could glean from their body language ogling them from a distance at basketball games, which they attend together regularly. Should Louisville can Hurtt tomorrow, it's no stretch that another major program will swoop in to offer him employment by week's end.
Strong said he would leave the call up to Jurich, but in private, I believe the tables will be turned. I think it's entirely possible that Jurich asks Strong if he wants, or rather needs Clint Hurtt to take us where we want to be. If so, I think Jurich will be willing to take the PR hit. If not, we part ways with the Big Hurtt and move forward with no regrets.
* If there is a small silver lining to the story, it's that we can finally pierce the veil of hagiography of Charlie Strong. I want to be very clear with what I mean here. It's not that I don't believe Charlie Strong has met and exceeded expectations in every way since taking the Louisville helm, it's just that I think the pedestal he's been placed upon in our community was becoming a tad too high.
We need to tone down the fawning a little bit. It can reach a tipping point of becoming overboard, a tad annoying, and even counterproductive.
Charlie Strong is a terrific coach and a perfect fit for this community. But he's not the Messiah. He's allowed to misspeak on occasion. He's allowed to be human.