Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Howard Baker School of Administration

"What did the president know and when did he know it?"

Senator Howard Baker's question of Richard Nixon during the Senate Watergate Hearings rings across the decades, and echoes today in Piscataway, N.J.

Timeline and how Dr. Robert Barachi manages his explanations of that series of events define his presidential future.

The good and bad news of the Rutgers men's basketball situation is the buck stops at the university leadership.  Mike Rice Jr. adds his name to a list of high-profile coaches that may end an administration.

According to The Chronicle, it appears the Baker Rule is in play.  The vice chair of the Rutgers Board of Trustees was vocal today about the statements thus far from Barachi:

"Every single person who has read that memo is wondering what the hell he is really saying. It was clearly written by lawyers."

And, that may not be fair to the president as one gets the feeling the lawyering up is on for protection on all sides.  Big 10 bound Rutgers does not want to have anything that might appear to be Paterno-esque on the record.

The suits are just about to roll.  Former director of player development Eric Murdock broke the code, first by showing the video to the athletic director Tim Pernetti.  Apparently fired for speaking out internally, Murdock gave the videos to ESPN.  He is suing Rutgers for wrongful termination.  As NBC points out, he's likely done in college coaching for going against the system.  In Sicily, they call it omerta.  Those that cover coaching sometimes call it honor among thieves.

Murdock is no wannabe.  NBA veteran, New Jersey native and first round draft pick of the Utah Jazz. More than a few are rallying to his side in the debate within athletics.

Want to read something chilling?  How about this excerpt from Rob Dauster's NBC web column.  After explaining that the media covering Rutgers knew about the tapes and placing blame on the reason for the firing now at the feet of the general public's reaction to the tape, Dauster concludes:

But the root cause for the firing?

Allowing Murdock to walk away angry.

Because if Murdock leaves the Rutgers happy, or if he is still employed by the university, Rice is still firing basketballs at his players.

Thus the questions about who, what and when.  The new president may not have known in real-time about the internal athletic department moves.  He says he changed his mind once he saw the tapes.  It will lead to the Baker Question about viewing them now.  CBS has made their own timeline thus far.

Clearly the video is from the team's analysis system, which today are 100% digital.

People -- rule number one -- digital assets are easily copied (FYI -- that's a 2006 blog link) and once posted always available.  There were no tapes to take or dubs to make.  One quick drag and drop and you've got the files.

Coaches and administrators who believed for years they could say things in private groups learned hard lessons about digital recorders on cell phones.  Now coaches who believe practice is closed to all need to rethink what they are doing in supposed privacy.  On this count, Dauster's story has the situation nailed down.  He also recounts the history of other coaches with anger issues -- guess what a common denominator in many departures?  Visual evidence shown to the public.

Just to reiterate from the other end of the spectrum, let's not forget the role of digital video in the events at Syracuse where an athletics department staff member admitted to secretly taping male athletes in locker rooms.

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