Scott Sewell-US PRESSWIRE
Bill Parcells once said, "If they they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries." And while he was referring to control over player personnel, that quote could just as easily apply to the fiasco that is taking place at Oklahoma State concerning Mike Gundy and his coaching position.
I assume the first thing OSU fans think when they hear Gundy is talking to other programs is "Traitor!" or "How greedy!" It certainly doesn't help when particular columnists for state newspapers paint the situation in a certain light even when they have no idea what they're talking about. Or worse, they do have an idea of what is going on but for political reasons, they still slant the story in a different direction. Or even worse than that, they purposely write the story a certain way to stir the pot in an effort to increase readership.
So let me set the story straight right now. Mike Gundy does not want to leave Oklahoma State. He never did.
In my opinion, if things were set up the right way, Gundy would never leave OSU. Unfortunately, things aren't currently set up the right way and there are people at the top that have power that shouldn't necessarily belong to them--or at least it shouldn't SOLELY belong to them.
None of this has to do with money. Gundy just received a hefty raise and wasn't about to hold his hand out for more after a 7-5 season. This has to do with power. The power to run a football program the way a head coach believes will ultimately lead to greater success. And when a head coach is told that he can't have that power, it can be incredibly frustrating--especially when you're expected to win and win a lot.
So what does a head coach do? Well, if you're new and unproven, you grit and bear it. If you're experienced and starting to show results, you make it known that you want some changes. If you are the all-time winningest head coach in school history, conference champion, BCS bowl winner, and came inches away from playing in the national championship game a year ago--you do whatever is necessary to make the right people listen.
So Gundy did. I doubt he wanted to take it as far as it had to go but sometimes egos cannot be soothed or massaged. Sometimes people need to be told that despite what they think, they in fact do not know best.
For example, while games outside of Stillwater generate dollar signs, maybe there is a strategic advantage to playing more than one game at home in the entire month of September. Maybe opening on the road (or neutral site) with an inexperienced quarterback against a formidable opponent isn't the best way to build confidence. It would seem that the head football coach would have the best input and experience in these matters, right? So when that coach is denied the ability to even have a say in the matter, does it shock anyone that he would be upset?
This is just one example of the types of power struggles that are taking place right now in Stillwater. For some people at the top of the food chain, money trumps everything. And granted, money does make a lot of things possible (like top-of-the-line facilities and a brand new stadium). But when it comes to decisions that directly impact a coach's strategy or philosophy, the power must be at least shared by the man you are paying to win the games.
I'd like to hope that with the negotiations that took place during the last two days things will start to smooth out. But I think we all know that it is going to be a much rockier road to climb. Until that time comes, cross your fingers and hope that everyone can manage to at least do the grocery shopping together.