Drama on the Internets!

When I started this blog I swore to myself that I’d leave e-drama out of it, but this Maryland mess apparently has a lot of people spun up. People like this guy. I wrote a response to his post and was going to leave it at that, but he is either A) experiencing technical difficulties, or B) cherry-picking which replies to post, because he’s added other comments but not mine. It’s no big deal; a man’s blog is his kingdom, and if he wants to filter out all but the most easily dismissed responses then that’s his business. But there are a lot of kingdoms out there on the internet, and when a guy can’t be heard in one there’s always somewhere else to go. Like here.

We can begin with the unintentional comedy about how this guy decides he’s going to tell Chet “how things work” when it comes to bowl games. Considering that Navy has been to as many bowl games under Chet Gladchuk as Maryland has under Debbie Yow– all without the safety net of conference affiliation to fall back on– I’d say that Chet has a pretty good idea how these things work. Considering also that he has been athletic director at Boston College and Tulane– who went to another four bowl games between them during Gladchuk’s tenure– I’d say that he probably has a good idea of how things work on the conference side, too. I know that the blog world doesn’t appreciate fact-checking as much as it does snarky, condescending one-liners, but sometimes attention to detail pays off.

Poorly-reasoned insults aside, there is a lot of ranting and raving about what Chet said without considering why he said it. Let’s set the stage. Gladchuk and Yow had been talking about setting up a game in 2010, apparently for several weeks. When that story broke, Chet wasn’t a part of it. Heather Dinich’s article was updated after she got Chet’s reaction, but her blog entry stayed the same. As it says there, “Gladchuck is in meetings today and wasn’t immediately available to comment…” So clearly it was Yow who went public with the negotiations, and that’s what rubbed Chet the wrong way. I can just imagine Chet’s reaction when he came out of sitting through meetings all day to read that Navy is “dragging its feet” in getting these negotiations done, and seeing Debbie Yow’s ultimatum that a deal needs to be done in 4-6 weeks or she’s going elsewhere.

Yow thought that she was playing hardball by taking her case to the papers. She thought that she could pressure Chet into completing the deal by talking publicly about her self-imposed deadline. She was wrong. Chet’s response is intentionally over-the-top to make sure that Debbie Yow got the message that he isn’t going to be pressured that way. The message might have been lost on Maryland bloggers, but I’m sure it was loud and clear to Yow: Chet’s going to take as much time as he deems necessary whether Debbie Yow likes it or not. None of this would be a story if Yow had kept these negotiations where they belonged– behind closed doors.

Yow’s tactics are a hell of a way to do business with a fellow athletic director. They also say a lot about what she apparently thinks of the Naval Academy. If she was trying to get Michigan on the schedule, do you think she’d go to the media to tell their AD to hurry up? Would she go to the media to issue an ultimatum to Notre Dame’s AD? Not only no, but hell no. She probably wouldn’t even do that to Vanderbilt (no offense to Vandy, a school for which I cheer and have tremendous respect). Of course, Navy isn’t Michigan or Notre Dame. But you know what? Neither is Maryland. Navy carries enough clout relative to Maryland that they don’t need to be subject to the bush-league tactics of their athletic director. When programs like Virginia Tech and Florida State have come to Navy trying to get us on their schedules and when we already play Notre Dame every year, it’s going to take a lot more than a call from Debbie Yow at Maryland for Chet Gladchuk to get star-struck.

If I had to guess, I’d say that this game will still be played. One thing I don’t have to guess about, though, is Chet Gladchuk’s resolve. If this game happens it won’t be the product of Debbie Yow’s attempted coercion. It’ll be on terms that Chet thinks are best for Navy.

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3 Responses

  1. Good points all around. Yow and the Maryland fans need to wake up and realize Fridge has a middle-of-the-pack team in what is currently a fairly mediocre conference, not a Top 15 program with the standing to be able to dictate these kinds of discussions.

  2. And it isn’t even really about how good of a team you are, either. It’s about the cachet that your brand carries. Notre Dame could go 0-12 this year, but they’re still going have the Notre Dame brand. That brand is still going to carry more weight than Boise State, even though they beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl last year. The Navy brand is solid enough that we enter these arrangements as equal partners. We don’t need anyone acting like they’re doing us a favor.

  3. why do we even bother with those outlaws? there’s a reason we’ve only played them one or two times since the 60’s and it’s not a pretty one. when we played them back in the late 50’s, they were one of the dirtiest teams (along wirth notre dame) on our schedule. it should be a natural rivalry. unfortunately, it can’t be and will never be. don’t know what yow was like before she got to maryland, but it didn’t take her long to become one of “them.” i, for one, would not be disappointed if the game never comes off.

    joe tranchini
    usna ’60

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