As you’ve probably read elsewhere, newly hired Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly used the Cincinnati annual end-of-season banquet night last to announce his exit to his former Bearcats players, an awkward exercise that left some of the scholars in attendance questioning their career-minded mentor’s credibility. The Enquirer’s Paul Daughterty pays homage to Kelly’s tenure in Cincy (“a guy who went to high school games in a helicopter and never met a personality he couldn™t woo….the perfect fit for UC, a living antidote for our town™s insecurity”) while bemoaning how easy this was to predict (“I don™t know what possesses some people to constantly seek the rainbow™s end, even as they stand bestride their pot of gold. I just know it™s in a college coach™s DNA”)
When you are deeply in love, nothing else matters. Maybe the Irish agreed to soften academic standards for five or 10 players a year. They wouldn™t do it several years ago for Urban Meyer; they didn™t agree to it for Bob Stoops, just a few weeks ago. Maybe they have for Kelly.
Even if they haven™t, Kelly™s self-confidence wouldn™t allow something like that to shake him.
You could suggest he™d have a better team here next year than he did this year. You could say that Notre Dame is the college equivalent of the Dallas Cowboys, a pretty box that once contained diamonds. You could offer that quality-of-life issues make staying here overwhelmingly obvious.
There is no easy way to do this. It™s like calling off a wedding. If the NCAA would stop worrying about college coeds cheering recruits at high school games long enough to tackle real issues, the annual coach-school song and dance wouldn™t have to happen. A coach and his players could finish out a great season in peace.
Then, if the coach leaves before his contract™s up, he sits a year. Just like a kid who transfers.