We are all still in the dark as to what is going on in the bowels of the Morgan Center. So far, all we know is that Reggie Moore and Chuck Bullough were fired, and that Mike Johnson has been hired to do something. We still don't know who is being considered for the Defensive Coordinator position or if Norm Chow will stay on board in another capacity.
At this point, though it is only speculation, it is fair to assume that the Norm Chow situation has created a bottleneck in the already constipated decision making machine that is our athletic department. I find it hard to believe that Rick Neuheisel, who for all his faults is an excellent networker, does not have a bunch of options in mind for the positions he wants to fill. This leads me to think that the bottleneck is not a matter of finding candidates, but a matter of money.
Which makes me wonder: who holds the purse strings at UCLA?
Here is a possible scenario, and again I have no way of being sure about this: Neuheisel agrees with Chow that he can no longer be the OC at UCLA. Presumably out of respect, he allows Chow to find another employer, which in this case is rumored to be Utah. Utah however does not pay much for its assistants, and since UCLA would be on the hook for whatever is short of $500k per year for the next two years, they are probably negotiating every last penny with Utah.
If we presume that this is true, UCLA is probably haggling over shelling out around $300k extra per year. It is not a small amount of money, but it is rather depressing. Any truly serious football school would have bitten the bullet and made this transition already. UCLA's lack of committment to the football program is becoming more and more obvious. Perhaps it has to do with DG's lack of experience with a big time football program.
It's a pretty serious dilemma I think. Getting an AD who is committed to football might mean less attention given to other sports. But in the end, is it DG or is it whoever is holding the purse? How much can DG actually do? He has already given his support to CRN, but clearly he does not have control over the money.
I think we are again facing an administration that is refusing to come to terms with the realities of today's big time college football scene. It is here. It is why the Pac-10 is expanding and it is why TV networks shell out copious amounts of cash for the rights to show college football games. It is ridiculous to me, at a time where the conference is set to earn more from TV rights and bowl games, that our administration is holding back a crucial process. Our program is being held back and will become an afterthought in the conference if this continues. The administrative apathy must stop now.
Because, let's face it, is there any other program at UCLA, athletic or otherwise, that can do this?
Update: Well, wouldn't you know it, just as I post this, there is a very interesting comment from Rick Neuheisel on ESPNLA:
UCLA's poor record is on Neuheisel. But the delay in hiring the coordinators and sorting out Chow's situation seems more procedural and bureaucratic than passive-aggressive.
"There's a protocol that is part of the university system that requires a by-the-book approach," he said carefully.
"Sometimes that keeps you from reaching full potential. But in the long run I think there's advantages to it because it's going to make sure that you don't fall into any pitfalls by taking shortcuts."
Rick, you can be as diplomatic as you want, and you are doing a good job of it...but this reeks of bureaucratic cowardice.