If you’ve been out of the sports news cycle the last couple of days, let us bring you up to speed on the equivalent of the Hatfields and McCoys in college football.
Alabama’s Nick Saban started the pot boiling by Making some remarks about the issues with name, image, and likeness today, going as far as accusing Texas A&M (who topped the Tide for the country No. 1 recruiting class last cycle) of so-called buying players.
That did not sit well with Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher, who appeared at a very bizarre and angry ten-minute press conference on Thursday to defend his program and throw darts right back at the head of Nick Saban. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and set aside a few minutes to soak it all in because that’s apparently where we are with all the NIL shenanigans and lack of control going on today.
The fact that Texas A&M called a press conference to literally throw shade at an opposing college football coach is frankly – bizarre in and of itself, and it makes you wonder who is wagging the dog in College Station.
Still, here we are with two coaches having a very open and public feud in front of all of us to see.
Let me just say – thank goodness for Ryan Day. Ever since Day has become a part of the program, he has conducted himself in a classy and genuine way. From looking out for mental illness to guiding his program through the COVID-19 pandemic, to supporting the voices of his athletes for causes that matter to them, and more, Day gets what it means to be the face of a world-class institution and college football program.
I do not know if the Ohio State brass would have allowed a ten-minute revenge press conference or not, but they would never have had to make that call because Day would never have gone there.
And before you bring up Day saying that he’d “hang a hundred on ’em” in response to a reported shot across the bow from Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh who accused OSU of working with players before they were allowed. Rember that it was not a public spat, but a leak from a team meeting Day reportedly had with his team.
In fact, when asked about it publicly, Day refused to go there instead deflecting to his team and letting rumors and speculation take care of themselves rather than getting involved in a public spat. He did not hastily call a presser, send out an ill-timed revenge Tweet, or go on radio to sling mud at Harbaugh.
“I appreciate the question, but I’d rather not answer that right now,” said Day at a Zoom press conference following the alleged incident.
It’s just a reminder that many of the college coaches today are there because of what they can do on the field, not who they are off of it. Not many have the training or life experience of having to play the calm, corporate type. From Jim Harbaugh’s public comments, to Nick Saban’s, to Jimbo Fishers, to a host of others we could point to, the tact and ability to get what you really want out of a situation without acting out of emotion just isn’t there.
But it is with Day. Already in his short three years, Day has had to deal with a former player’s death, work with the Big Ten through all the mess that was the start and stop associated with the pandemic, navigate social justice issues, and find a way to be there for social justice issues.
And he’s passed them all with flying colors. Heck, he very well may have saved Harry Miller’s life with the support he provided for him.
But do not tell that to all the detractors. Remember, the coach of the college team you root for is underrated and way better than the overrated one that calls the shots on the sidelines for the opposition.
However, Buckeye fans should feel good about the guy running the program right now. Well, at least they might once he brings home a national championship, right?
Where is Ohio State in College Football News’ post-spring Big Ten power rankings?
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