Head coach Butch Jones peeks at the scoreboard during the fourth quarter, Saturday, Dec. 4. The Bearcats suffered their first losing season since 2005 after a loss to Pitt in Jones' first season at UC. (wcpo.com/Sam Greene)
Photographer: Sam Greene
Copyright (c) 2010 The E. W. Scripps Company
CINCINNATI - As it was told to me, the University of Cincinnati, trying to pare costs, adopted new janitorial procedures for the entire university. Fine when the campus is empty like on Labor Day. Except one little cluster of UC associates, namely the football team's coaches and players, was on the job that day. Labor Day was just another day of work in anticipation of the start of the season three days later versus Pittsburgh.
With no janitors to reload toilet tissue and paper towel dispensers or to empty waste receptacles, the tasks fell to… Butch Jones and his staff.
It isn't that Jones and his guys are above such menial jobs, but wouldn't their time be better devoted to making Pitt uncomfortable rather than catering to the teams' bathroom needs?
Someone in the admissions office apparently had been steamrolled by Brian Kelly during his three years in Clifton. There would be no more of that!
A highly prized and academically eligible Jones recruit would be the first to fall victim to this new intractability. Rules are rules. Too bad if the kid's high school had botched the paperwork; no exceptions. And no one could or would take up the cause other than coach Jones who was eventually deprived of, according to insiders, a potential starter. Another player, one of the team's GPA leaders, was on the verge of being ruled ineligible because of a slip up in a graduate level course. Fortunately that was dealt by the player and his instructor so the valuable senior wouldn't fall victim to a paper chase spawned out of retribution for Kelly's heavy hand.
These are just three incidents I'm aware of. Who knows how many more inconveniences, slights, discourtesies and downright indignities Jones, his staff and players have been subjected to by the powers that be at the University, who couch all of their actions as being in the best interests of the student/athletes.
Only after the ACC train was pulling out of the station did anyone realize that presuming an invitation was forthcoming, wasn't remotely the same as actively courting inclusion.
In light of all the intrigue surrounding his career move, Coach Jones would only say, "I'm very disappointed in a lot of people here whom I thought I could trust."
Presumably they know who they are. Sadly their identities will be lost to history, while the University loses a quality man and capable coach, who wins the right way. Producing players who are a credit to their school, their city, their team and their families.
That said, a former member of his UC staff offered in the midst of his swing through first Purdue, then Colorado, that "Butch loves to dance." The implication being that he liked the courting process. Whether to provide leverage to facilitate improvements at UC, or just to assuage his own ego, he's not alone in that regard. He's just the latest.
By the way, any Cincinnati players he recruited who might want to follow him to Tennessee? They have to sit out a year. Butch hits the clock in Knoxville Friday afternoon.
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