Let me take a guess at what you were thinking when you saw the Journal Star story on Steve Pederson allegedly forcing head coach, Frank Solich out:
One - You were angry. No, wait. You were more than angry. You were livid. Yeah, livid is good. How dare the Star run a story like that? They have just sent this program into turmoil for no reason other than to make themselves look good because they got some kind of scoop, but they didn't get a scoop at all.
All they got was a bunch of people who didn't have the guts to say who they were, ranting and raving about Solich being bought out, someone trying to buy him out or Pederson doing anything and everything to get Solich, well, out.
A story like that will do nothing but hurt the program, chances of keeping the good assistants they have and worst of all, recruiting.
Two - This isn't a story at all. It's quotes from a bunch of no-names talking about stuff that nobody knows anything concrete about. It's basically making a story out of something that wasn't even going on, hence creating controversy where none existed. Oh sure, Solich wasn't doing that well, but this was just stirring the pot to try and get him forced out, one way or another."
Three - This was an attempt by the media outlet that ran the story to garner sympathy for Solich himself. It was nothing more than a ploy to put Pederson against the wall and see how much he squirms trying to push himself off. It makes Solich innocent no matter what happens and Pederson the bad guy, no matter what happens.
Any of those fit?
Forget the motivation, because what's done is done, now we have to wonder at what could end up happening and of course, I have a few ideas of my own.
Let's just say that this whole rumor of Solich being bought out was true. That means that if that was the case, the story from the Star just took a situation that would have let a man leave fairly unscathed and put a monkey wrench into the whole darn thing. If that rumor is true, it took what might have been a fairly painless and acceptable segue and turned it into one huge controversy, nothing painless coming out of it for anyone.
You can also look at it the other way in that if this had all happened as such or was even being attempted, it took Solich out of the frying pan and threw Athletic Director, Steve Pederson smack dab in the fire.
If this was his deal and he's been planning it all along, well, this story just put him squarely behind the eight-ball, needing to find a solution and quickly. The problem is, now, it's not that easy.
If Pederson wanted Solich out, well now everyone else knows it. Solich becomes a victim, Pederson the villain and nothing he does from this point on will save him from at least some measure of blame. Basically, he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't, so what's going to be the direction where the most minimal of damage occurs?
The thing is on this is that a story like this can't ever go away unless it's completely and totally addressed. If that doesn't happen early this week or by the press conference on Tuesday, the air of truth behind this story becomes a little thicker.
Thicker means messier and messier, well, that's what it means, this is all going to become one big mess.
Two coaching upheavals in a row, last year's group of assistants and this year, possibly the head coach and yes, some of those newly hired assistants.
I mean, the possibilities here are almost endless. If Solich is out and a new head coach comes in, you can probably say sayonara to a few of the assistants already here. A new head coach is likely to bring at least some sort of staff with them.
If it's an existing coach, well, Bo Pelini seems to be the popular choice. His fiery demeanor and straight-forward attitude, all have played well even despite the post-game tirade towards Bill Snyder. Or, perhaps because of it.
If that's the case, chances are some established assistants would be leaving, either of their own choice or not.
Or, how about if Solich is promoted to something like asst. A.D.? Would that make everything A-O.K?
That could help to not hinder recruiting nearly as much and it would certainly make the fan base of NU rest a little easier and I am sure that a few boosters wouldn't mind Frank being rewarded if not by remaining head coach, being given a title that allows a man of great dignity to retain at least some and also, continue with the program.
Well, that sounds like a great idea, so why wouldn't that work?
Because we're not stupid. Promoting Solich to Asst. A.D.? Yeah, sure it's a higher position and heck, maybe it's even a pay-raise (somehow I doubt that), but can you say "figurehead"? You think Solich took himself out of the picture with all the coaching changes, this will take him almost to the edge of the frame.
Yes, there's another or in that Steve Pederson could just say the heck with it all and replace everyone with someone new, even Bo Pelini. Yeah, sure that will mean that the fans will have to start all over, something they almost did this last year, but it's ok, it could pay off....say, in about a decade or so.
Oh and Pederson probably wouldn't be the most popular person in the state, something I don't think he was looking at "accomplishing" so early in his career as A.D. at NU.
Nope, not a lot of good is going to come out of this story that sent what might have been only a rumor into a full blown story. Sure, it could still be just a rumor in the end, but once something hits mainstream media, it automatically doesn't fall upon the media to prove it's true, rather it now falls upon the University to prove it's not.
Maybe the University could issue a statement saying: "After careful investigation by our unnamed sources, they have came back to us and said that there is absolutely, positively nothing going on."
Think that would work? Me either
Yes, there's yet another one and that could be that all of this really is nothing. That none of it is actually true. That the unnamed sources were in the end, unreliable as well.
And if that's the case?
Forget everything I just said.
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com or 402-730-5619