Shatel: NU made right call with no discipline for Bo Pelini - Omaha.com
Published Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 10:40 pm / Updated at 10:34 am
FIRST DOWNS AND SECOND GUESSES
Shatel: NU made right call with no discipline for Bo Pelini

No discipline for Bo Pelini. That's the way it had to be this time.

The University of Nebraska likes to say it has standards. In the classroom. On the field. Off the field. In hiring.

And in firing.

If you're going to dismiss the Nebraska football coach in the middle of September, a guy who has won considerably more than he's lost and has done it right off the field, it's got to be for more than a bunch of two-year-old swear words.

Pelini's biggest transgression here was calling out the fans after the game, a victory. Actually, a bigger no-no was when he yelled and gestured at the fans before halftime of that Ohio State game in 2011.

This was bad form. If he had done this last week, then we'd have a different story. Next week, too.

But Nebraska — on record for firing a coach after a 9-3 regular season — can't be where you fire a coach for something that happened two years ago that wasn't a crime or violation of NCAA rules.

You can't be that school that fires a coach after a cheap shot from an anonymous person, looking for revenge or a thrill.

This incident scared the bejebees out of coaches throughout college football — including those out there who might be the next coach at Nebraska. They were paying attention to how this was handled.

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When this broke Monday, I wondered how Pelini could go on being the face of the program. Would this be a distraction with the fans? Could he recruit after this? Be an effective fundraiser?

The answers will have to fall where they may. The larger, more important issue here is treating an employee fairly. And firing Pelini for this would not have been right.

Apparently, Harvey Perlman and Shawn Eichorst felt that a suspension or reprimand wasn't necessary, either. That's fine.

This will go in Pelini's file, which Eichorst can trot out depending on the team's record at the end of the line.

It could be that this response took two days because the powers-that-be were testing the water in donor land. Maybe not enough big cigars thought this was a big deal. But a booster-led reaction wouldn't have been right here, either.

Time to move on and back to football, and the way Pelini should be judged. Now where were we? Second half of UCLA?

» One of the things that came out Wednesday was that Tom Osborne learned about the audio tape last year. Perlman and Eichorst didn't know until Monday. Surprise!

Shouldn't the chancellor and new athletic director be made aware of a potentially destructive audio that might one day go public? Yes.

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Osborne told The World-Herald that he made the judgment that Perlman didn't need to be bothered with it. I understand where Osborne is coming from, but this was something the boss needs to know about.

» Say Taylor Martinez can't go on Saturday. Tommy Armstrong or Ron Kellogg? If they really are equal in the coaching staff's eyes, wouldn't you go with the future? Better question: Do you need Martinez to beat South Dakota State? More drama for the week. Football drama.

» You ready for some hoops? Practice begins in a week, on Sept. 27. Nebraska will have an event that Friday night at the Pinnacle Bank Arena, including a scrimmage open to the public.

Creighton will practice on the 27th but won't hold a Midnight Madness event until October. The Big East and Fox Sports want each school to hold an event on the same night, for TV. Welcome to the Big East.

» I don't think Iowa is ready to win the Legends Division. But if the Hawkeyes have found an identity, and that identity is to pound the ball as opposed to Greg Davis calling short passes, there are some winnable home games on that schedule.

» Jerry Kill is an inspiration for folks with epilepsy. I say let him coach until the seizures become harmful to his health or an issue with moving the program forward.

» So the UNO hockey arena will cost $11.6 million more than estimated? Reminds me of when my daughter says she needs these clothes at the mall and tells me how much they cost. When I get there, I find out it's not even close to that price. But I'm there, so I buy it.

» Jordan Burroughs wins a second world wrestling title. No surprise. Burroughs wins it after breaking his ankle last month. No surprise there, either. I'm glad wrestling is back in the Olympics, if only to see Mr. Burroughs go for another gold.

» The Storm Chasers' roll continues. A national minor-league championship. Great tribute to manager Mike Jirschele, who keeps getting better. It was cool seeing the Durham Bulls' uniforms on TV. I kept waiting for the camera to show Kevin Costner or Susan Sarandon or Omaha pitcher Chris Dwyer drill the Bull mascot in the head. Dwyer, on his way up to the K.C. pennant chase, was too busy throwing a no-no for 6 2⁄3 innings.

» One more and I'm outta here: A couple of Nebraska football book plugs.

The first is “No Place Like Nebraska,” by Petersburg, Neb., native Paul Koch, who was on the Nebraska football strength staff from 1987 to '95. The book comes in two thick volumes and is loaded with interviews that Koch did with all of the major players of the 1990s era. Looks like a terrific stroll down memory lane.

The other is “100 Things Nebraska Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die,” by veteran Nebraska football writer Sean Callahan, a South Omaha kid. The book is a collection of 100 small chapters that highlight the stars, characters, traditions and Callahan's favorite stories of Nebraska football.

Get 'em while they're hot. After all, there is a bye week coming up.

* * *

Video: The Big Red Today Show, Sept. 18



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Contact the writer: Tom Shatel

tom.shatel@owh.com    |   402-444-1025    |  

Tom Shatel is a sports columnist who covers the city, regional and state scene.

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