What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

A Dubsism Breakdown of Minnesota’s Firing of Tracy Claeys

Last Tuesday, the University of Minnesota removed Tracy Claeys as the head football coach.  Dennis Dodd from CBS Sports gave us the “mainstream media” version of this story, but there’s so much more to this story it begs for one of our patented Dubsism breakdowns.

The Setup:

A decision on Claeys’ future was set to be made official this week, following a review of the program. Claeys was promoted from interim coach to full-time head coach after Jerry Kill’s retirement and led the Gophers to a 9-4 record and a bowl victory over Washington State. Claeys went 11-8 as the Gophers’ coach, including 2-0 in bowl games.

Now, that doesn’t sound like a guy who would be on the hot seat for a couple of reasons. He’s only been at Minnesota two seasons, and he’s got the program moving in the right direction. Even as recently as two months ago, the administration of Minnesota seemed to agree.

Athletic director Mark Coyle said in November that Claeys would be back in 2017, but…

“But” is one of my favorite words in the English language, because it essentially means “ignore everything I just said.”

…released a statement after the bowl win suggesting that a review was coming.

Am I the only one who thinks this is an odd time for a “review” given the Gophers were coming off their first bowl victory over a “Power 5” opponent since a Music City Bowl win over Alabama in 2004? That’s the first clue that whatever got Claeys his walking papers didn’t involve performance on the field.

Coyle, in a statement released by the school, cited the need for “strong leadership” to address “challenges in recruiting, ticket sales and the culture of the program.”

There’s clue #1: Whether we are talking about senior management in a business or administration from a university, anytime you see a statement from them which touches on “leadership” and “culture,” you can bet those are code words for a fundamental schism between senior management and middle management.

The Narrative: Mistakes Were Made

Keep the analogy between the leadership structure between a large business and a university in mind. The titles aren’t the same, but a head football coach is the classic example of a middle manager. The university president and the athletic director represent senior management. The players represent the rank and file labor. That leaves the coach as the front line leadership who has to deal with the players on an interpersonal level, while getting them to meet the expectations set by the top-level leadership.

That also means a head coach is by definition in between the players and the administration. That can be a tremendous asset for on-field performance by being the conduit through which expectations become reality on the field, but it can be a big problem if an off-field issue tears at the fabric of organizational unity.

While Claeys did a commendable job getting Minnesota ready on the field, an off-field sexual assault scandal dominated the season. Minnesota’s players initially planned to protest the Holiday Bowl game, standing in support of 10 suspended players linked to a sexual assault investigation. Claeys even tweeted support of the suspended players, which Coyle addressed in a statement Tuesday.

Did somebody say “off-field issue?” I’m going out on the proverbial limb here and say a sexual assault investigation qualifies.  Before we get to Coyle’s statement, understand that Claeys made several fatal mistakes here. See if you can spot them as addressed in Coyle’s statement:

“On December 13, 2016, Coach Claeys, Deputy Athletics Director John Cunningham and I met to discuss 10 student-athletes. I informed Coach Claeys of my judgment that athletic suspensions were appropriate. Without any objection, Coach Claeys said he understood that decision to bench student-athletes. Coach Claeys, Deputy Athletics Director John Cunningham, and I met with the student-athletes to advise them of our decision. Coach Claeys subsequently informed me that he agreed with the suspension decision. And let me be clear: this was the right thing to do.

Coach Claeys’ Tweet later that week was not helpful. I accept that Coach Claeys intended it to support the boycotting players. Understandably others did not see it that way.”

Did you spot them? I’ll be honest, they may not be as apparent to people who have never been in management jobs, but they’re still not completely invisible.

The first one is the most obvious. Claeys told his boss one thing to his face, then said something to the contrary publicly. This isn’t about having to go along with anything the boss says; the time to voice disagreement was face-to-face and behind closed doors. Management teams which are seen to be divided are the definition of ineffective, and there’s no better way to do that than to call your boss out on social media.

The second one comes more from the effect than the act. If you were in Coyle’s position, you’d probably be in a world of seriously pissed off at what Claeys did. Not only does that mean you likely aren’t going to trust that guy again, it cements the concept of non-unified management, because Claeys action made it pretty clear he didn’t give a shit about his relationship with his boss, otherwise there was no reason to fire-bomb the bridge.

That also means the odds are pretty good that Claeys relationship with Coyle had taken some previous damage. We’ll never know what that might have been, but suffice it to say this divorce was some time in the making. A big clue to that was the fact Minnesota had a new head coach within days of firing Claeys.  They had a guy warming up in the bullpen; don’t forget Coyle said in November “a review was coming.” On top of that, five will get you ten Claeys knew all this.

Lastly, Claeys biggest mistake was taking sides in the dispute. The fact he picked the “wrong” side isn’t nearly as important as the fact he stood up for his players in the face of what was starting to smell like a “Duke LaCrosse” style witch hunt.  I’m not saying that was the wrong thing to do; rather it was done in the wrong way and at the wrong time.

Now, I’m not here to try to tell you I know what happened concerning the incident that got this all started; I’m here to tell you that we live in a “rush to judgement” culture where there’s more of a need to come to a politically-based conclusion on an incident rather than wait for the facts to be discovered.

The Duke LaCrosse situation bears that out. There was a rush to burn those kids at the stake on a racially-based, and ultimately false accusation, mainly because there is a large faction of people in this country who believe in the bilge of political correctness, which means facts aren’t nearly as important as sticking to a warped ideology.

Remember how the media covered the Duke story? There were lots of portrayals of the LaCrosse players in terms like “privileged” and “frat-boy culture,” which are both bullshit terms used to demonize white people whenever somewhats to discredit them or in this case, advance a false narrative.

Here’s where this gets tricky because this is where the politically-correct nonsense currently screwing up this country starts getting wrapped around it’s own axle. It the Duke case, it was easy because the accuser was a black woman, and the accused were white males. That’s a perfect recipe for a PC witch hunt, and that’s exactly what happened.

But in the Minnesota case, the accuser is a white woman, and the accused are black males. That means we have modern college campus feminism colliding at full-speed with good, old-fashioned racism as defined by the PC crowd. “Rape Culture” meets “Black Lives Matter.” Welcome to Cluster-Fuck 101.

This is the part where you’re asking what the hell this has to do with a college football coach losing his job. Two words: Title IX.

To summate; Title IX is a federal statute which is defined as follows: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

But what it has actually become is a multi-headed hydra which has become the means by which federal muscle can be injected into nearly any issue on a college campus by operating under the banner of “civil rights.” Combine that with the inverted McCarthyism known as “political correctness” which dominates campus culture and voilà… one witch hunt sponsored with the full force of the government brought to you  a university administration grown fat on the gravy-teat of federal funding. That means to keep the government money faucet flowing, everything involving any “protected class” on a college campus becomes a witch hunt Title IX investigation.

Why Did We End Up Here?

In this case, there’s a lot of stuff we don’t know, so we have to stick to that which we do.  There was an incident of a nature unknown to the general public which resulted in allegations of sexual assault against ten Gopher football players. A subsequent investigation led to the creation of a report internal to the university, the findings of which led university administration to suspend those ten players.  Tracy Claeys agreed with the administration’s decision.  The remaining players threatened to stage a boycott, and Claeys supported them via Twitter.

But then, the administration shared the internal report with the boycotting players, and upon seeing the report rescinded their threat.  In other words, Tracy Claeys felt a need to crawl out on the proverbial limb, and the players sawed it off behind him.

There are multiple “Why?” questions here, but the two biggest are:

  1. Why did Claeys feel the need to support the boycotting players publicly after having supported the administration decision?
  2. Why did the boycotting players reverse their position upon seeing the internal report?

There’s a simple answer for both: Federally-driven confusion.  The fact criminal charges have yet to be filed means the Title IX nonsense kicks in, because facts be damned…somebody’s got to get their pound of flesh.  The confusion starts with the alleged victim’s own statement:

After subsequent meetings with administration, the players backed off the boycott but the details of the allegations made by the alleged victim, a game-day operations staffer, were made public and reviewed.

Authorities reviewing the allegations from an off-campus incident in September involving Ray Buford, Carlton Djam, Seth Green, KiAnte Hardin, Dior Johnson, Tamarion Johnson, Kobe McCrary, Antonio Shenault, Mark Williams and Antoine Winfield Jr.. According to police records obtained by the Associated Press, “the woman told police she was drunk when she was sexually assaulted in Djam’s apartment by several men, including some of the suspended players.” In reports, the alleged victim said her sexual contact with two men may have been consensualbut her contact with four of them was not (emphasis ours).

Where do you even begin sorting that mess out? It matters little to the campus feminist crowd, who believe that anybody who questions an accuser is somehow “blaming the victim.” The Title IX witch-hunt was in full-throat; there were demands these players be immediately dismissed and/or jailed, despite the fact the alleged victim’s own statement exonerates at least two of them.  Not to mention, that statement tallies six players.  That begs another question: Why were ten players suspended?

It doesn’t matter because the “Rape Culture” crowd doesn’t believe in “due process.”  The “Rape Culture” crowd believes that  “due process” only occurs when they get their way and insists any sexual assault accuser is incapable of dishonesty, despite the fact we’ve seen EXACTLY that on far too many occasions.  That why there can be nothing but to have “due process.”  This is the part where Claeys and the boycotting players smelled another “Duke LaCrosse” situation. Only time will tell if they were right.

It’s also a safe bet there are more details in that report which are still not known to the general public; some of which caused the boycotting players to wash their hands of this entire situation. It’s also very possible they saw themselves in the middle of the impending modern liberal head-on collision between “Rape Culture” and “Black Lives Matter” and opted to punt. That might be the smartest decision in all this mess…like the song says “you’ve got to know when to fold ’em.”

Today’s American college campus is the “safe space” in which the “hot-house flower” of modern American liberalism survives unchallenged; to the point where it has become overgrown, exhausted it’s food source, and is now digesting itself.  The very same ideology which says “every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported” is the very same which drives a slanted news media to go from sanitizing stories about horrible crimes commuted by black people to outright excuse-making for the absolutely inexcusable.  To bring this back to football, the analogy would be “white woman makes gang-rape allegation, but the accused men are black…penalties off-set…repeat first down.”

Claeys should be admired for taking the stand he did.  He stood up for what he believed, even if he did it in a way that wasn’t the smartest. What he did took a hell of a lot more guts than the complete cowardice shown by athletic direct Mark Coyle, who took the chicken-shit way out by firing Claeys.  That is what happens in a society in which modern American liberalism has taken us from “all men are created equal under the law” to Coyle’s weak justification of  “different standards, different policies.”

Come to think of it, Coyle may have just coined the best definition ever for Title IX.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

3 comments on “A Dubsism Breakdown of Minnesota’s Firing of Tracy Claeys

  1. SportsChump
    January 8, 2017

    Not all surprised it went down like this. After all, someone’s gotta be the fall guy even if that’s ultimately not the person responsible.

    Sounds to me like they canned the guy hoping it would be perceived as a genuine effort to wash their hands of the whole incident when we all know that ain’t the case.

    Fortunately most of us aren’t paying attention.


  2. sportsattitudes
    January 8, 2017

    He was indeed dead man walking when he made his thoughts known. The optics would not permit his staying around. The irony is the program will still be associated with this chain of unfortunate events for quite some time.


    • J-Dub
      January 8, 2017

      Exactly. The way you prevent bad optics is to keep your business out of the public eye. More people need to understand that.

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on January 8, 2017 by in College Football, Sports and tagged , , , .

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