So, I read that Arizona AD Greg Byrne is apparently headed to Alabama to become their new AD. Some may recall that Byrne was one of our top choices to replace Foley, but turned us down (along with the Stanford guy and UNC guy). Yet, here he is...on his way from Tuscon to Tuscaloosa.
I thought we were the Holy Grail of athletic departments?
We are the "Everything School," remember? All those All Sports trophies?
Oh, none of that means jack sh*t? Yeah, that's what I thought.
Here's the thing, folks: winning the All Sports trophy means N-O-T-H-I-N-G! I don't think you even technically need to win a championship in any given sport to still finish atop the ranking. A bunch of top 5 finishes across the board will probably do it.
The problem is, no one cares or remembers if swimming, tennis, gymnastics, etc., finish #3. Believe me, it's hard enough to find people who would even care if all of them won the national title every year. It just doesn't matter. So, why was our AD's contract structured to incentivize such nonsense? Whoever negotiated those terms should be summarily executed and have his/her lifeless body tossed into Lake Alice for the alligators to snack upon.
We can win the All Sports trophy for the next 100 years in a row and it will still mean less for our brand than what Alabama has accomplished in football alone since 2008. Oh, and despite their clear priority in football, they still somehow managed to win national titles in gymnastics, softball, and golf. A similar argument can be made with respect to FSU....we act like our athletic department is so superior, but, in addition to going 6-1 against us in football since 2010, they've also managed to turn the tables in men's basketball (3 in a row against us), volleyball (knocked us out of the NCAAT), soccer, and golf. So, again I ask, what's the point??? It's obvious that a program can make football king and still have success in the non-revenue sports. The success may not be as consistent or widespread at the non-revenue level, but it's still very much possible.
By the way, I was flicking through the channels last night and happened upon the Sony Open PGA tournament out in Oahu at Waialae. This young kid was dominating it with a 7 shot lead and apparently had shot a 59 on Thursday. He had also won the previous week's Tournament of Champions over at Kapalua on Maui. Guess where he played college golf? Alabama. UF isn't even visible on the PGA Tour anymore and we're the "Sunshine State," one of the golf capitals of the world, home to 5 PGA Tour events each year, and lots of golf academies like the Saddlebrook program, etc. If there is one non-revenue sport that we should dominate without even supporting it, you'd think it would be golf. Yet, we're nowhere to be found.
Point being, these schools that don't even care about their non-revenue sports are still capable of making bigger impacts on our consciousness within the given sport than we are with our widespread support.
Byrne chose Bama because their brand is hotter thanks to what their board of trustees and president has enabled Nick Saban to build. A dominant football program will elevate an AD's profile higher than winning the All Sports trophy. It also makes it much, much easier to fundraise.
Perhaps the idea of having creepy Jeremy Foley still lingering around the program and haunting the AD office at UF also deterred him. Thanks, Jeremy, for handicapping our search by seeking to have your cake and eat it, too. Our idiotic board and president should have said, "Either you're in or you're out. Can't have it both ways." One wonders if Stricklin was chosen because he was the only one who would acquiesce to working under Foley's influence?
Bottom line: Byrne's decision clearly demonstrates that the value of being the "Everything School" is a lot less than we convinced ourselves. It's a myth that exists mostly in our own minds. Instead of attempting to be a "jack of all trades," why don't we start focusing on "mastering" the one that matters: football. We can still have pockets of success in these other worthless sports, which is really all we have anyway despite "spreading the wealth."