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"Salty." (Scott McLemee)
"Unvarnished." (Phi Beta Cons)
"Splendidly splenetic." (Culture Industry)
"Except for University Diaries, most academic blogs are tedious."
(Rate Your Students)
"I think of Soltan as the Maureen Dowd of the blogosphere,
except that Maureen Dowd is kind of a wrecking ball of a writer,
and Soltan isn't. For the life of me, I can't figure out her
politics, but she's pretty fabulous, so who gives a damn?"
(Tenured Radical)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Scathing Online Schoolmarm

UD's already told you that Gophers fans are stupid. In so very many ways. But you don't listen to UD, because she's ...well, you know her demographics. So listen to this guy, who writes for the Minnesota Star Tribune. Admittedly he introduces his opinion piece oddly. But in his own way he's making my point.

'Abraham Lincoln is credited with this observation: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." [We're starting in a galaxy far away from our subject... But it might work...]

Honest Abe [SOS is getting nervous. Honest Abe... ] succumbed to an assassin's bullet in 1865. The University of Minnesota would have its first graduating class in 1873.

There were two graduates, or roughly the number of scholarship basketball players that wore the cloak and gown during the Dan Monson era.

The above timeline makes it obvious that President Lincoln never met a loyal follower of the Golden Gophers, or to maintain honesty he would have amended the quote to say:

"... You cannot fool all of the people all of the time, unless you're talking about Gophers fans." [Whew. What an exhausting way of getting to a very very simple point.]

Lou Holtz proved without question what saps we can be when his relentless bull-slinging instantly filled the Metrodome. To his credit, Holtz brought with him a strong résumé as a head coach. When the rhetoric stopped for three hours on a Saturday, he was a tremendous offensive coach.

Two decades later, we are being swept off our feet by another slinger in Tim Brewster. What this says is our sap ratio actually has increased in the past two decades, since Brewster brings with him only the verbosity and no track record.

The guy coached for 18 years in Division I-A or the NFL and his bosses resisted the urge to make him a coordinator.

The Gophers fired Glen Mason after the bowl choke against Texas Tech, and Joel Maturi started his search. Once Brewster got the athletic director in a room and started excitedly spewing clichés, our poor bumpkin from the Iron Range didn't have a chance. [This gets better as it goes along, but the writer needs to drop some excess weight: excitedly, poor.]

The spewing hasn't stopped since Brewster was hired in mid-January. He has gone running to every group that will have him, flapping his arms like San Diego's Famous Chicken and screeching, "Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl."

He's also the runaway pitchman in recruiting, where his enthusiasm seems to be convincing all of the prospects some of the time.

Brewster reached a new level in his self-promotion last week when he used a sexual assault investigation to tell us how lucky we should feel to have him.

On Monday, Dominic Jones was charged, and it came with the allegation that his actions were videotaped on Alex Daniels' cell phone. Once Mike Freeman, the Hennepin County attorney, told the tale, it was certain that the university hierarchy was not going to have Jones, Daniels, Keith Massey and E.J. Jones playing football for the Gophers.

The university allowed Brewster to offer the spin that he had reached independently the decision to dismiss the four players from the team.

A statement was released Wednesday in which Brewster said: "We spend a considerable amount of time addressing our players regarding their personal conduct. ... We are establishing a culture of integrity and we will demand that our players are held accountable for their actions."

Two questions:

• Brewster was on the job for three months when the alleged assault of the 18-year-old woman took place. So, why is the coach bragging about addressing his players on personal conduct, if some of them obviously didn't listen?

• If he's forced to establish a culture of integrity, it would seem that he's telling us it was missing when he took over for Mason. So, how was it that Mason dismissed several players for much less serious failings, without feeling the need to pay tribute to himself for doing so?

Yes, this was a high-profile situation that demanded a statement from the coach, but a simple declaration from Brewster that the action had been taken would have left no room for cynicism.

Throw in Maturi's comment -- "I am in full support of the decision of coach Brewster and I appreciate how he has handled this very difficult situation" -- and it all comes off as more of an ain't-Tim-great sales pitch than a sincere reaction to this embarrassment suffered in the athletic department.

You're being manipulated, folks, but as we've learned previously, a football coach with a talent for slinging can fool all of the Gophers fans all of the time.'