Drop The Egos and Get Gundy Signed

Okay, I'll admit I'm not much of a JIm Rome fan. I think he is one of those smart-mouthed wannabes that is a classic shock jock talk radio host. Hey, who am I to criticize because he's pulling in a lot more than I am. I'm not jealous, and I'm more than comfortable with my own skin. What I am frustrated with is the contract negotiations between Oklahoma State and head coach Mike Gundy.

In my discussions with parties involved, I understand that Gundy is not asking for Mack Brown, Bob Stoops, Nick Saban or Les Miles money. That is good because he is not at that level and Oklahoma State can't afford it.

Gundy wants to win, wants his program cared for at an elite level including his coaches, wants to maintain top-flight facilities, and wants the student-athletes enjoying the best college football experience available. These are same things that Mike Holder, President Burns Hargis and the OSU Board of Regents should want too.

For a variety of reasons, some on Holder's part, some on past coaching regimes part and some on current coaching, the basketball program has slipped. Attendance is not just down, but it is way down. To the credit of the players they play hard, but the results aren't what they used to be.

Now that football is peeking into the very upper echelon of the sport, do you really want to flirt with hitting the down button on the elevator?

Holder and others are frustrated that Gundy brought in an agent. Get over it! This is business and most coaches use agents. Honestly, Gundy should have brought in an agent originally and some of the hurt feelings might not exist today. Gundy should drop the posturing in the media. That doesn't promote good relationships. Let the agent sit down and get this done.

Now Oklahoma State could have done this earlier, much earlier and it would be done. However, they have let it ride and Gundy is a huge winner. He has finished his plan with a 12-1 season, best in school history. He beat Texas A&M four years in a row. He best Texas in Austin for two years in a row. He beat Oklahoma, crushing the Sooners in a Big 12 title tilt.

Now he has won a BCS bowl with the 41-38 victory over Stanford in the Fiesta. He has done things right off the field such as suspending players or not playing players when they don't deserve to play. He has embraced Shelley Budke and her family, along with the Serna family in the aftermath of the plane crash that claimed Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna.

Gundy is one of the OSU family and fans love him. He and his wife Kristen are pillars of the Stillwater community.

If this were a political primary or election, Gundy has an approval rating or popularity level near 100 percent. Holder, who is not as people oriented as Gundy and has the job of raising ticket prices (never a popular position), is far south of 100 percent. That is just a fact that both parties not only have to live with but are well aware of.

Let's cut to the chase. Gundy is seeking a contract in the neighborhood of Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino. Like Gundy, Petrino has had his team in contention for conference championships. Arkansas has made a BCS bowl, but has not won a national title. The accomplishments are on par. The two schools financials are close as well.

Arkansas has a little bit bigger stadium. Petrino just last year signed a new seven-year deal with his average salary at $3.56 million. Lets skip the negotiations and get right down to that figure, somewhere slightly north or south of that is okay. Mix it up with the incentive bonuses and get it agreeable to both sides.

As for length, the talk is Holder made a mistake giving basketball coach Travis Ford a 10-year contract. You can't compare the two. Ford was barely moved in when Georgia and others came looking, which caused Holder to make the 10-year jump. Gundy has a seven-year track record of building success. He is a safe bet and will retire before any contract of length would end. As for years, you can also structure the buyout.

For example Petrino's contract carries an $18 million mutual buyout clause in 2011-12 should the university fire Petrino or he leave the school. The buyout is lowered by $25,000 in 2013 and falls to $14.5 million in 2014 and $10.8 million in 2015. It's $7.4 million in 2016 and $3.9 million in the final year of the deal.

Okay, there you have it. Cut through all the emotions and angst of which there seems to be plenty. For the good of Oklahoma State football, Gundy needs to be signed up for good to stay right where he belongs, with the Cowboys.


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