One of this week’s biggest stories in the world of sports was that Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano departed for Tampa Bay to coach the Buccaneers. This seems like an everyday coaching change, but if you peel back the layers, it’s really not.
Here’s what I mean — Schiano was changing Rutgers Football. He was pulling in the best recruiting class of his tenure in New Jersey, and expectations were being raised. Keep in mind that this was a program that was widely regarded as one of the worst (if not the worst) in major college football.
But I can see both sides of the argument, so I’m going to present both sides and let you decide if Schiano’s departure to the NFL was done the right or wrong way. And please weigh in below in the comments after you’ve read both sides, because I’d love to know where you stand on this issue!
Yes, Greg Schiano screwed Rutgers over
Look at the calendar. It’s less than a week before Signing Day. The Penn State scandal allowed Schiano to go into Pennsylvania and take several great recruits from right under the Nittany Lions’ noses. He’s putting together the best class since he took the job at Rutgers, and while high-school players’ ratings don’t mean everything, it sure helps to know you have a lot of talent joining the program.
Schiano had that, but then he vanished in the middle of the night. How did the coaches know he was gone? He didn’t show up for a key recruiting visit. How did the players know he was gone? They turned on Sportscenter and found out.
Coaches should be allowed to leave any job for a better opportunity. But when you do it like this, it can ruin the program. There is no worse time to lose your head coach than right before Signing Day, because the recruits will jump ship. Think about it — if you were a kid who had several good options, would you roll with the program who just lost its leader? I didn’t think you would.
The most ironic thing is that these kids are crucified when they de-commit from a school. They’re called cowards, quitters and traitors, but what happens when a coach has a change of heart in the middle of the night and bolts? People understand, because he has to get his money.
Schiano bailed on these kids, the fans and even his fellow coaches that he brought in to build the program. Now, none of the above have anything. But Schiano has his millions, so I guess it’s all fine and dandy with him.
No, Greg Schiano didn’t screw Rutgers over
Look, Schiano is a man with bigger goals than coaching Rutgers Football, and just because he didn’t leave them for the vacant Miami head coaching job last year didn’t mean he was the RU head coach for the rest of his career. He seems like he’s always wanted the NFL, so why shouldn’t he go get that job in Tampa?
Not once did he win the Big East during his stint in Piscataway, so maybe he reached the ceiling of his potential at Rutgers. Maybe, with their limited resources and Big East status, Schiano built the winningest team he could. Why should he turn down millions to continue 7-5 seasons in New Jersey? If he’s really a coach on the rise, why not go get that job when it’s offered to you?
And what does Schiano owe those recruits? They waver on what school they want to attend with the changing of the wind, so why should a coach make a life-changing decision to stay with them when they might not even stay with him? Again — go get the money when it’s offered.
What do you think about Schiano’s decision? Leave me a comment below!