Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Case For David Beaty, 2018 Edition

Wanted: For Killing Kansas Football
You remember when the Penn State football team lost 20 scholarships for several years when that whole Paterno/Sandusky incredible example of power and corruption and disgustingness went down. You remember when most people said Penn State would be hard-pressed to recover anytime soon because they were limited to just 65 players on scholarship, out of a total of 85. You remember that people thought Penn State was done because they only had 65 scholarships to award to football players.

You also thought you were going to read about Kansas Football.

What does Penn State's scholarship reduction have to do with saving David Beaty's job?

In his first year as Kansas head coach, in 2015, David Beaty had 38 players on scholarship.

Thirty.

Eight.

It is only now, in his fourth year, that they are even close to surpassing 65 scholarshipped players. In other words, Penn State's lowest, NCAA-sanctioned level was still higher than anything David Beaty had to work with for his first three years at Kansas. 

That, my friends, is why Charlie Weis is still killing Kansas football. And it's why David Beaty has had no chance to succeed. And that is why the #FireBeaty hashtag is completely unwarranted. It should really be #FireCharlieWeisAgainAndAgainAndAgainAndAgain.
 
So when I hear that new KU Athletic Director Jeff Long says that the football program is constantly being evaluated, I can only hope it means that they are considering replacing it with an Ultimate Frisbee team and not considering firing David Beaty.

I imagine that not many of you have heard why David Beaty only had 38 players on scholarship his first year, or still is well below the maximum limit of 85, because if you are not in Lawrence proper or are not a subscriber to The Athletic, you may have not heard this story. Thus, when Kansas lost to Nicholls, the #FireBeaty hashtag sprang up around the country from various KU Alumni, including many who are my friends. Thus, this column.

My first argument when people use #FireBeaty is to say "and replace him with whom, exactly?"  Yes, somebody will take the job. But nobody wants the job as bad as Beaty, or his defensive coordinator, Clint Bowen. Anybody else would have quit by now because the circumstances are so stupid. Beaty hasn't. Neither has Bowen.

Which brings me back around to why the circumstances are so stupid for Beaty and Bowen and Long and Kansas football, and it is because Charlie Weis was the worst hire in Kansas football history. It might be hyperbole, but not by much.

When Charlie Weis was hired as Kansas football coach, he believed the way to make the program kind of competitive quickly was via transfers. It makes sense. Get some guys sitting on a bench somewhere prominent, or some juco guys who slipped through somehow, and use those guys to get a foundation going. (I didn't need a subscription to The Athletic to tell me that. What I learned in the story was the next part.)

So they brought in about 30 guys like that. By the time Weis was fired, he had given away 56 scholarships, and 12 of those players were still on the roster.

That is unheard of.

That, friends, is how you get to 38 players on scholarship.

Who could win with 38 scholarship players? Maybe Nick Saban, because he could get anybody. But no other football coach could win with those restrictions. And certainly not a football program that has been spiraling down like a man without a parachute for a decade. 

According to NCAA rules, you can only give away 25 scholarships a year. So even if Beaty had maxed out his numbers, it still would have taken two years to get to 85, even if all of those 38 guys had stayed on the roster. Of course, with graduation and expiring eligibility and so on, that's impossible.

Which is why, maybe, they're at 70. In year four. And, honest to Pete, Beaty is thrilled they are even approaching 70.

This is the quote:

"I'm excited about being 15 short. That's unbelievable. I'm so fired up about being 15 short which tells you where we came from. I would say it'll take a few more years. I'd say at least three, maybe more, to get to 85, because the attrition that happens naturally from medicals is what keeps you from being able to continue to make up those numbers."

What. The. Hell.

Penn State got cut to 65. Beaty might be at 65 this year.

You can't win with 38 players on scholarship.

You can't fire David Beaty.

Charlie Weis killed Kansas Football.

His horrid mistakes are still killing Kansas Football, four years after he was fired.

And now you know.

"I'm STILL HERE and I'm STILL TRYING"