Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/7/11
TEMPE, Ariz. When discussing the latest turn in the Arizona State football programs coaching search, its appropriate that we lead with a tweet from @godawgs4. What was ur favorite moment in the june jones era at asu? In the age of instant information, eras are subjective. ASU went from preparing to announce a coaching hire on Wednesday morning to breaking off negotiations with Jones on Wednesday afternoon. The play-by-play was carried live on Twitter and culminated with this definitive blog post from Jones agent, Leigh Steinberg. Just had one of the most bizarre endings to a set of productive discussions to bring a client to a new situation. Everything was set, few tweaks left, and the principal decision maker yanks the deal w no real explanation. At least we can say definitively that Jones is out as a candidate. Theres no way Steinberg, one of the shrewdest agents in the business, sends out that message unless this deal is dead. He wasnt going to take the blame for the failure, and theres no reason he should. The fallout from this mess will land squarely on the shoulders of ASUs power triumvirate, president Michael Crow, athletic director Lisa Love and chief operating officer Steve Patterson. The reason for the last-minute breakdown in negotiations depends on your source. Most reports cited backlash with boosters as the principle reason. Others said Jones buyout at SMU reportedly as high as 2 million might have been a contributing factor. Whether one or both is true, one gnawing question arises. Why wasnt ASU prepared for such concerns before beginning negotiations? Why didnt it have a thorough read on its boosters sentiment? Why didnt it know the risks associated with the buyout before reaching the table with pens in hand and yellow tabs in place, marking the required locations for Jones signature? It was apparent last week when Jones named first surfaced that he was widely unpopular with the fan base. ASU apparently backed off of him while athletic director Lisa Love approached other candidates at a National Football Foundation function in New York. So if ASU was still willing to go to the table with Jones, why would the booster backlash matter now? Did they threaten Crow with a loss of funding? At this point, those details might not even matter. The bigger picture is where it gets ugly. Following Steinbergs post, ASU comes off looking, at best, unprepared, at worst, incompetent. The entire coaching search has been a bungled array of missteps from the day word leaked out that Houstons Kevin Sumlin was the leading candidate until now. Dont blame Love and Co. for not being to land their top choice. Money talks in this business. If those dissatisfied boosters want a bigger name, they know where their checkbooks are. Its not Loves fault she cant afford more. Its the boosters fault. Thats how college football works. But the rest of the blame clearly falls on Love, Patterson and Crow. All were a part of this process. All are accountable for its results. So where does ASU turn now? Good question. Given the events of the past two weeks, would you want to coach in this program? It might be time to explore one of those hot-shot coordinators Love talked about in multiple press briefings following Dennis Ericksons firing. At least an up-and-comer could be wooed by the prospect of coaching in a BCS conference with a glut of talent returning to the fold. The problem is, were not convinced Love or Patterson (whos in charge here, anyway?) ever compiled that list. Love insisted that every AD does that sort of diligence before a coach is fired before a coach is even in danger of being fired. But if Love really dug deep and compiled a long list of potential candidates, if she asked associates about them, found out why they are so promising, found out how much theyd cost and then gauged their interest in ASU, how in the world did ASU end up considering June Jones in the first place?
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