Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sometimes It's Better to Be Lucky, Fat and White

Okay, so it's time for a word on the suckfest that is Notre Dame football, and the ongoing debate about whether Charlie Weis should be fired.

The usual arguments in favor of firing Charlie Weis go something like this: His team sucks, shows no signs of getting better, and they fired Ty Willingham and Bob Davey for records that were the same at the same point in their tenures. Weis' winning seasons came with Ty Willingham's recruits.

The usual arguments against firing Charlie Weis go something like this: He's fat, and he's white.

All of that said, it makes perfect sense that Notre Dame is not going to fire him. I hate Notre Dame, I'm glad they're keeping Captain Fat because it will make them easier to beat, and even I don't think it's nuts. And while Notre Dame's athletics decisions often appear to be unfair and at least a bit racist, not firing Weis isn't.

For one, he got a ten-year extension. True, that was for the same success Willingham hadin his first year and change, and all Willingham got was fired. Maybe he should have been whiter. Davey, too, got fired after some success. Maybe he should have been fatter. Or maybe the AD at Notre Dame just jumped too quickly, made a poor decision, and offered a crappy contract. But either way, now that the contract is there, it costs a lot more to fire Weis than it did to fire the other guys. So there's a real reason.

Two, the reason ND fired Willingham was because they wanted Urban Meyer. That's not fair, you might say, and you might say it's at least politically incorrect, and you'd be right. I thought it was awful at the time to do that to a professional like Willingham, and I confess to thinking there might be racism involved. But it wasn't all about performance. The fact that they didn't get Meyer (who won a title at Florida) doesn't make the decision to can Willingham less calculated. There's no stud coach out there to pursue right now, and perhaps ND has learned from the Meyer debacle that they can't attract a stud coach now, anyway. Again, perhaps not fair, but at least a real reason.

Third, if it was bullshit to fire Willingham, as I believe it was, it's still bullshit to fire Weis for the same record. That's just logic. Does it make Notre Dame hypocritical, or even willing to treat a black coach differently? Sure, it could mean that. It could also mean that the powers that be have learned from their mistakes, and are treating this differently. Now, I don't think anyone there has learned anything, and I hope failure comes to all of them. But the point is, nothing about the decision has changed, except that it is now more expensive to fire the coach, and there's no great alternative now. So, from a logic standpoint, the decision to keep him makes sense.

In conclusion: I hate Notre Dame, and I think athletics there are a bunch of hypocritical jerks who need some sensitivity training. But, in spite of their innate incompetencies, they're probably getting this one right. Weis has done nothing to warrant better treatment, he's just gotten lucky. Because of his fame, the lack of great coaches on the market, and an idiot contract, Weis' suck ceiling is just higher than Davey's or Willingham's.

At least there's every reason to believe Weis will keep sucking.