Credit Matt Hayes of The Sporting News for getting to Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. Hayes was able to get a rare comment out of the man sharing the spotlight under the Golden Dome with besieged head coach Charlie Weis.
When Hayes asked Swarbrick if economics would play a factor into the decision to retain or fire Weis, Swarbrick responded with a firm, “No.”
Hayes also put the much speculated buyout of Weis’ contract at $18 million for the six years remaining. He also said the university is on the hook for another $1 million for contract guarantees to Weis’ assistant coaches.
Swarbrick also addressed Weis’ status, and said that any decision won’t be made until after the season.
“I evaluate programs at the end of the season,” Swarbrick said. “I don’t evaluate coaches, I evaluate programs.”
That’s a very interesting comment from Swarbrick. If you had to make a distinction, I’d say that Weis the coach is having a worse season than Weis the head of Notre Dame’s football program, and it makes me feel better that Swarbrick will be evaluating everything — the change in recruiting, the transition to a new scheme, the timing of the decision — before deciding on Charlie Weis’ fate.
Either way, as expected, Weis’ contract won’t have anything to do with the school’s decision on the head coach. What also won’t play a factor are past coaching decisions — the choice to fire Bob Davie after five seasons and Tyrone Willingham after three. What’s happened in the past has nothing to do with the current decision to fire or retain Weis. For those who enjoy making tidy comparisons to records or winning percentages, the decision is hardly as cut and dry as Ws and Ls. Swarbrick wasn’t at the helm for either of those decisions and I hope he doesn’t let the past dictate what should happen in the future.
With rain falling and the forecast expecting much more, Notre Dame and Clemson are kicking off in primetime anyway.
College GameDay was on campus this morning, showcasing the soggy conditions and the mud-covered campus. And while some wondered whether or not the kickoff would move up to earlier in the day to take advantage of a slight lull in the conditions, kickoff is remaining at 8:22 p.m.
“We’ve been in constant communication with state and local law enforcement and have monitored weather throughout the week and today,” director of athletics Dan Radakovich said in a statement Friday night. “I’ve spoken with campus leaders, State Highway Patrol, and Governor Nikki Haley, and feel confident we can play the game as scheduled. We ask our fans to be conscientious arriving and departing from our campus as we will have some limitations due to this ongoing weather event.”
Ball security will be key this evening, and during an interview with Tom Rinaldi this morning Kelly mentioned the punting and kick game as concerns in these conditions. The Irish came to Clemson prepared for miserable conditions and if the forecast holds, they’ll get just that.
Notre Dame’s tight end recruiting keeps rolling. The Irish received a commitment from Illinois tight end Cole Kmet, who adds a third piece to Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting class.
Kmet is a 6-foot-4, 230-pounder, joining fellow blue-chipper 2017 tight end Brock Wright in next year’s recruiting class (they won’t sign until February 2017). He had early offers from plenty of the top programs around the country, but picked Notre Dame over finalist Ohio State, a nice recruiting victory for Scott Booker and Brian Kelly.
Kmet talked about the decision with Irish 247 who broke the news:
“I think it was just a gut feeling knowing it was Notre Dame,” Kmet to Irish 247. “I didn’t want to pass on playing for that program and attending that university. It’s always been the school I wanted an offer from and Ohio State made it really close, but I just couldn’t pass on Notre Dame.”