"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Idaho and ISU football

Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

Allow me some comments on the future of football at Idaho and Idaho State.

#1: Both Athletic Directors, Idaho’s Rob Spear and ISU’s Jeff Tingey, need to take media training refresher courses. When confronted by a crisis the first rule is to gather the facts quickly, then go public with the bad news because that allows you to frame the matter.

So, Jeff sits on the Coach Kramer shoving incident for a good two weeks, creating the impression he was hoping it would go away and the university could deal with it as a private personnel matter. When taxpayer dollars are involved there is no such thing.

But at least Jeff was finally forthcoming about what he knew win and how he checked it out. The subsequent suspension of the player involved should not surprise anyone.

Rob Spear, his hands tied by President Duane Nellis and advisers, all of whom defer too often to the lawyers, has been bobbing and weaving not being allowed to tell the full story yet about why Coach Robb Akey was let go in the middle of the football season. Its become apparent that when Rob got the news Idaho’s talented quarterback had failed a drug test for the third time this season (according to the Spokesman-Review) he had to deliver on a probable ultimatum he’d made earlier to Coach Akey.

An educated guess is the qb flunked his first drug test for which he was punished by being held out of Idaho’s first game against Big Sky power Eastern Washington. Presumably there was a second test he failed and at that point Spear must have said something like “one more time Akey and you’re both gone!” Then one more time happened.

Rob should have and could have addressed all of this at the time he announced Coach Akey’s firing. My educated guess is he was not permitted to lay it all out by the coterie of sycophants that surround the President. The result is of course his credibility is badly compromised with the media, not Nellis’, nor executive vice president Chris Murray’s.

This is unfortunate because Spear is a good man doing as well as anyone could under next to impossible circumstances. He deserves better.
#2: Tingey and ISU President Arthur Vailis ought to stick with Coach Kramer. Anyone who looks at the YouTube footage is amazed the wide receiver so easily fell backwards. One wag said after watching it, “no wonder ISU is losing games so badly. They all must be easy push-over pussy cats!”

Give Kramer the five years a salvage operation like ISU’s program is and that it will take to turn it around.

Spear has a tougher decision in that he has to recommend a successor. Rumors abound that former coach Chris Tormey wants his job back, but that would be a mistake. Why? Because it signals to fans and media that Idaho is trying to remain an FBS independent without belonging to a conference.
There’s no way Idaho can succeed at this. Football is all about generating cash that underwrites other collegiate sports. Idaho lacks the critical element – a sufficiently large media market that it dominates and advertisers who will pay to have ads viewed by a tuned in television audience.

When it comes to football, Idaho will forever be #3 in the Spokane media market, behind WSU and EWU, and Gonzaga and WSU, in basketball. In Boise, it will always be #2 to Boise State. The only way it starts back is dropping down to the FCS where ISU is and resuming its rivalry with ISU and the University of Montana.

If Spear realizes it’s not too late to bring football back to the Big Sky (where next year Idaho joins in all other sports) then there’s only one coach he should be pursuing: Carroll College’s Mike van Diest, one of the NAIA’s most successful coaches ever. He’s only won six of the last 12 national championships.

Van Diest recruits for character, and is a magician at getting the most out of his limited in God-given talent athletes. He knows the recruiting area well, and he knows how to win. Earlier this season he took Carroll to Portland to play the Big Sky’s Portland State. They lost but outgained and outplayed the Big Sky team. That’s just the product of great coaching.
I’ll wager anyone that Carroll will have done better than ISU has when they meet later this year. So, go Vandals – to the Big Sky and go get Mike van Diest.

And go Bengals, but if you want to win let Kramer build the base necessary and give him the time he needs and deserves.

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