|Dave Weaver / Associated Press|
|A dramatic defeat to UCLA isn't the only thing that has Bo Pelini in hot water in Lincoln, Neb.|
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini apologized Monday for a recorded 90-second, expletive-filled rant he went on in 2011, railing against local reporters and Cornhusker fans alike. If anything, what should Nebraska do with Pelini?
Retroactive punishment would not be fairThe powers that run the University of Nebraska, led by chancellor Harvey Perlman, are not exactly surprised by this rant. If you recall, during Pelini's first year as the head coach at Nebraska he was summoned to a Sunday meeting with the chancellor to discuss his sideline behavior and antics, which did not put him or Nebraska in a good light, and had an effect on the outcome of a loss at home to Virginia Tech.
But, to have this come to light two years later, and decide to retroactively punish the coach? I'm not in favor of that at all. A tough game just ended, an emotional come-from-way-behind win for UCLA over Nebraska, a coach who competes to the nth degree blowing off steam during what he believed was a private moment with a trusted colleague? How many of us do that every day? No, no penalties for the coach from this camp. In fact, if Nebraska had beaten UCLA on Saturday, and had not suffered some huge defeats in the last couple of seasons (see UCLA, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Georgia in 2012), this story would have cycled quickly. Instead, it's become part of the "piling on" that's currently occurring.
Talk privately to the coach, get his side of the story, let him know that's not acceptable, and let him coach his team. The ultimate penalty (or reward) might be levied based on how Nebraska finishes out the season .. not a rant that's two years old.
On-field shortcomings will be his undoingBy itself, Pelini's takedown of Nebraska legend Tommie Frazier and the release of Pelini's 2011 fan-bashing rant aren't enough to result in suspension or termination. However, when combined with his inability to turn the Cornhuskers defense back into the fabled Blackshirts of yore, the timing could not be worse for Pelini. While he has stabilized the program after the Bill Callahan debacle, Pelini was brought in to contend for BCS championships and win conference titles, and has done neither. Without a Big Ten title this season, Pelini is as good as gone. His inability to bite his tongue just confirms his tenuous job status.
Bashing fan base isn't enough to oust PeliniDoes Pelini need to be smarter about what he says and who is around when he says it? No question. He's always been a bit hot-tempered, and Pelini's got to realize he's a public figure. Memo to Bo: Every day, people lose jobs less high-profile than yours for merely choosing their words poorly. That's a shame, but it's also a reality. Still, Nebraska doesn't need to do anything other than reprimand the coach. Further punishment could manifest on its own in the form of fan unrest. Blasting one's own fan base added to a couple of embarrassing losses is a recipe for a quicker ouster, but the rant alone shouldn't get him fired.
Pelini shouldn't get canned over two-year-old rantIf Nebraska fires him for a two-year-old rant, it would be a gutless move by the administration. I think Pelini is a mediocre head coach, but you don't get rid of him for his tirade. If you want to fire him because the program is underachieving, that's another thing totally. The Huskers' schedule is such that they should be 7-1 entering November. I would bet the administration lets the season play out.