Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Did SaveGopherFootball.com Harm Gopher Football?

This just in: People in Minnesota don't necessarily like Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi.

Some have taken their dislike too far, however.

The folks behind the website SaveGopherFootball.com might have a well-meaning plan. After all, they have been consistent in their stance that Maturi -- the same guy who headed a search that led to Tim Brewster -- shouldn't be allowed to search for Brewster's successor.

That's fine. There's nothing wrong with taking a stand and speaking out. Gopher football has stunk for so many years that the alumni and fans should take a stand.

However, actions that interfere in Maturi's ability to do his job ... well, that's just wrong.

Former All-Big Ten punter Adam Kelly went so far as to contact officials at other universities to warn them that Maturi might contact their coach without asking permission.

"That's unethical and reprehensible behavior," university President Robert Bruininks said. "To interfere in the process that way, I think it's indefensible."

Kelly, though, said Maturi was the unethical one, citing his hush-hush contact with San Diego State coach Brady Hoke before the Aztecs' season had ended. In addition to e-mails, he said he called Temple's athletic director, Bill Bradshaw, to point out a newspaper column critical of Maturi.

"He said, 'We already read the story, and it was his opinion that hundreds of other AD's around the country had read it and were shaking their heads," Kelly said. "Was it [the call] unethical? It's more unethical to contact a coach before his season's done."

Bruininks said he was surprised by the negativity from outside the program, calling it the work of "a relatively small and active group that I think is offbase.

"I don't think they've done the university any service, and I think they've done a disservice to themselves."

Kelly is right about Maturi being unethical in not asking permission to interview coaches. That's just a courtesy and has been part of virtually every school's protocol for many years.

But two wrongs don't make a right, and Kelly's wrong might have actually hindered his alma mater's ability to hire the kind of coach he wanted them to.

How ironic. In trying to help, his group may have harmed.

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