On the cusp of the college football playoff series, the coach with the most wins in Notre Dame football history is leaving for LSU. Brian Kelly accepted a 10 year, $95 million dollar deal to coach the Tigers in Baton Rouge. The story leaked on social media on Monday night which caused the coach to call a meeting with his players on Tuesday morning.
It’s been reported that the meeting only lasted for a few minutes. The news must have been a gut punch to a team that's been climbing the polls all year and fighting to get into the college football playoff series. The Fighting Irish are presently ranked #6 with only the top four teams allowed a berth.
Coach Kellys decsion and how it was communicated caused dismay and disdain by his players. It’s understandable that a person would want to move on to a new opportunity that they believe is in their best interest. The question is why would Coach Kelly, LSU and the NCAA let this unfold in this manner. Why couldn’t this decision wait or be forced to wait until after the season.
Is it because they all believe this is a big business. It’s an interesting contrast to how the NCAA and major colleges fought for years to prevent athletes from making money. The usual excuse was that this is an amatuer game and the athletes are compensated with a scholarship. However, as this incident shows, they are not being treated as student-athletes but as employees with no power and little regard.
Every decision should be made from the viewpoint of what’s in the best interest of the student-athlete and not the coach, school and NCAA. If viewed from this vantage point then thequestions and answers are clear. The sheer callousness of this recent behavior is evidence enough that more needs to be done to protect college athletes from being exploited monetarily as well as in the lack of care for their well being. It will take a collective effort to motivate all the stakeholders to continue creating a more equitable and holistic experience for college athletes.