Friday, January 27, 2012

The Alamo...remember it, Craig James?

Texas Tech had a good season in 2009, going 8-4, though it wasn't the season that 2008 was, when the Red Raiders went 11-1 in the regular season and earned a trip to the 2009 Cotton Bowl. Nonetheless, the team was bowl bound again, the 2010 Volero Alamo Bowl to be precise. But their head coach--rising star and hot property Mike Leach--would never make the game.

On December 28, 2009 Leach was suspended by Texas Tech University. Two days later, he was fired. Why? According to the school, he was fired for refusing to apologize to a player, one Adam James, for supposed mistreatment. Oddly, he was also fired just a day before he was due some $2.5 million in bonuses and guarantees from Texas Tech University.

Now, there are two sides to this story, of course. On one side is a successful NCAA football head coach, not always the most agreeable, nor most trustworthy type of person. On the other side is a large university run by officials often more concerned with money and politics than right and wrong. And there is Craig James, former SMU and New England star running back, current ESPN broadcaster, aspiring politician, and father of Adam James.

There are all kinds of lawsuits still pending on this situation, everyone suing everyone, and it's likely that the truth will never be known. According to Craig James and the school, Leach forced Adam James to stand in a dark room, after suffering a concussion. Leach denies that this ever happened. He claims--as do his allies--that Craig James incessantly lobbied the coaching stafff to play his son more often, that he even did so during games from the sidelines (Craig had press credentials) and the ESPN booth!

Jason Stanford's piece--linked to above--refers to the senior James as the worst kind of "helicopter dad," the kind ever-present at little league games and other junior level sporting events. I'm sure Craig James sees this all very differently, however. Not knowing the man and not having been there, I can't very well say which side is in the right.

But I do know this: Texas loves its football. And while that would seem to be a plus for Craig James' current run at a U.S. Senate seat, it's looking like it's just the opposite. No one even remotely associated with Texas Tech seems inclined to be forgiving of James, thus meaning West Texas--at the very least--is a lost cause for him. New polling data puts James at a distant 5th place in the primary for the soon-to-be-vacant seat of Kay Bailey Hutchinson. He's actually doing worse among women voters and has negligible support among voters aged 30-45.

The question is, how long will James keep at this dog and pony show, because it's not going anywhere. And it's somewhat astonishing that he thought it would, really. Since Leach left Texas Tech, the Red Raiders have gone 8-5 (3-5 in conference) and 5-7 (2-7 in conference). Texas Tech fans, like the rest of the State, have long memories. And they won't soon forget the Alamo (Bowl).

Cheers, all.

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