Houston Nutt’s impending resignation at Ole Miss isn’t surprising for the school, the conference or the sport.
The Rebels have always had a bit of a trigger finger with head coaches — see their ridiculous firing of David Cutcliffe in 2004 — and apparently Ole Miss boosters would rather pay than wait.
Nutt will receive the entirety of his $6 million buyout and his agent Jimmy Sexton can start badgering Tulane tomorrow even though Nutt stays on until the end of the season.
Joining him on the unemployment line is his athletic director Pete Boone. It’s possible the Ole Miss executive remains until December 2012 but SB Nation is reporting the Rebels could anoint a successor by the summer.
At a conference level, this shouldn’t shock either. America’s best collection of college football campuses don’t compete by posting 24-23 records overall and 10-20 in conference over four seasons.
In the 24-7-365 suffocating atmosphere that is SEC football, two straight Cotton Bowl victories followed by two straight losing years provides ammunition to the thought that Nutt was living on players he didn’t recruit.
Never mind Ole Miss ran off Ed Orgeron because he didn’t win (10-25 from 2005-2007), it fits the current narrative on Nutt to partially absolve his predecessor of blame.
For the sport, it’s a testament to the business that is college football. As recently as September of 2010, Ole Miss was forced to implement a hiring freeze for faculty positions. A little over a year later, their athletic department eyes a payment due for $6 million and scoffs.
The problem is, filling up the Grove with paying customers and Oxford hotels and restaurants with visitors greatly aids the bottom line at Ole Miss.
We’re past the point of viewing college sports through a prism of amateur principles. The competition on the field is still played by poor college students, but the boosters in suites willing to cut million dollar checks guide the decision-making.
Closer to home, Missouri and Texas A&M are experiencing disappointing final campaigns in the Big 12. Are their programs ready for the increased pressure that will come with entering the SEC? When college coaches can barely see the completion of one recruiting cycle, has our please-me-now-society gone a bit too far?
Not as long as there’s someone ready to cash in for a replacement.