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The College Football Coaching Carousel Is Busted

Photo: Alan Diaz (AP)

Miami Hurricanes defensive coordinator Manny Diaz had accepted the head coaching position for Temple on Dec. 13. Although the Canes still had their bowl game later in the month, Diaz was locked in for the early signing period, so as to keep his new school’s recruits and convince them that it was worth staying for his leadership and mission. Uh, yeah, about that.

After Wisconsin thumped Miami 35-3 in last Thursday’s Pinstripe Bowl, Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt abruptly retired Sunday afternoon. That meant the Canes were now in danger of shedding recruits due to the combination of an underwhelming 7-6 season and an uncertain future. What better way to preserve stability than to snatch it back from another school? Boy, isn’t this video awkward:

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On Sunday night, Diaz, who had signed a five-year contract with Temple, reportedly signed a five-year contract with the Canes. Miami will be sending $4 million to the Owls to satisfy his buyout clause. The school essentially paid more money, on top of a new contract, to promote its own defensive coordinator. This is also a guy who has never been a head coach before.

The entire process of hiring a coach in college football gets even more inefficient and perverse with reverse chronology. The reason Temple went after Diaz was because previous head coach Geoff Collins left after two seasons into a five-year deal, jumping to Georgia Tech at the beginning of December. The Owls came out with a lot of money, but still have no head coach:

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All of these coaches can do whatever the hell they want. As for the college football players—well, even though each one of these coaching moves would affect their playing time, careers, and lives, they’ll need to sacrifice a season of eligibility if they want to transfer, or have to prove they deserve an exemption or waiver. The NCAA wouldn’t dare to let “student-athletes” break their commitments so easily. You know, the commitments they made to play for free, even though Diaz’s buyout clause alone could pay a living wage to a program’s entire roster.

Maybe it’s time for Temple to give another look at Ed Foley. Yes, he coached the Owls to a 56-27 Independence Bowl loss to Duke, but he sure was happy to be there.

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