Brady Versus Marist…Or, All My Children…

As usual, Dopirak does an outstanding job…he covers every base with the entire Marist sues Brady, JMU, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The facts are the facts, and they are laid out in the above link. No matter which side you take, it happened.

(And more from Mike Barber.)

This whole situation is extremely convoluted and to be honest, stupid. It is drama for drama’s sake and could’ve easily been avoided. Keep reading for why.

As usual, Tom Pecora sums it up best: “I think that’s ridiculous,” Pecora said. “They’ve got a good basketball coach at Marist. They should just move on.”

This whole situation is not unlike many workplace problems in that we can go down 54 worm holes if you’d like and pile on to the drama, but it is pointless because we all know how this is going to end:

JMU will say: “We’re extremely sorry this happened, and we’d like to put it behind us.”

Marist will say: “We’re extremely sorry this happened, and we’re glad it has come to a conclusion.”

Some sort of dollar figure will go from Harrisonburg to Poughkeepsie and we’ll forget about it by October 15.

The problem is that it needs to play out this way and that is a shame.

Marist wants its pound of flesh, even if all this litigation hullabaloo is a non-starter. JMUs mistake, I imagine, is that it didn’t give Marist some TLC for eight months. That’s our problem.

If Jeff Bourne had called Tim Murray at any point over the past year, apologized, and perhaps offered up some token of his shame we may not be here.

It’s very frustrating because nobody has leg to stand on here, and simple egos may have gotten us to this point.

You see, it is clear that Brady contacted those recruits–that’s how they ended up at JMU–and it appears from what I read that it is in clear violation of contract terms. But, as noted in Barber’s report, it’s hard to see how a no-contact clause would hold up in court.

Agreed.

To me, it is exactly like the popular clause in many mid major contracts–if a coach leaves to go to a top RPI conference school (say, Jeff Capel and Oklahoma), that school is contractually obligated to schedule the mid major in a home-and-home.

It’s a wonderful clause and makes people feel good, but it is also extremely dubious if ever challenged in court.

The issue is that nobody is going to challenge it and everybody knows that. No major will take the hit of going to court to avoid scheduling someone. That would be a laughingstock move.

No, both parties simply add a buyout to the contract that allows everyone to go away not angry, but just go away. The mid major gets a six-figure payday, and the major gets to avoid the scheduling black hole. Everybody wins.

Same is true here, in my opinion–Marist is looking for their “buyout,” which oddly was not in Brady’s contract.

Here’s where Marist deserves credit. They are stepping down the path exactly as they need to be:

1. We called.

2. We called again.

3. They never responded so we’re forced to do this.

4. It isn’t about the kids. We need to protect ourselves.

For JMU, they made two mistakes. First, they never called (as currently reported). Second, the whole “it happens all the time” doesn’t wash with me. Just because it happens all the time doesn’t make it right.

Yes, we all know Calipari took those recruits with him from Memphis to Kentucky. The issue there is that Memphis let it happen, not that Kentucky allowed it to happen. Questionable, yes, but with nobody calling their bluff, Kentucky took on all-comers.

You know as well as I do there were several phone calls from athletics director to athletics director nobody ever heard about. Privately the situation was smoothed over and handled.

This is what JMU did, or did not, do. Jeff Bourne’s responsibility was to proactively do something. He owed Marist at least a phone call to say “sorry, what can we do to make it better.”

Why? Because that would’ve made it better.

You cannot restrict a coach who is changing jobs from recruiting any kid he’s spoken to or he’d not recruit for four years. Keep in mind that recruiting begins (in earnest, not the hysterically overblown shots at a seventh grader) in a kid’s freshman year of high school.

The issue is that you’ve got no place to draw the line. At the LOI? At the oral? It is an impossible measure because recruiting is fluid and people (kids and their college choice) have the right to change their minds. When you add to that the whole murkiness of recruiting, you end up in situation just like this.

The root of the problem is that the whole thing was botched. First, Marist botched Brady’s contract. They had no buyout, and it was awfully Pollyanna-ish to think they could enforce a “don’t chat” clause.

When Marist realized this problem–somebody in NY clearly looked at the contract and said “we have no monetary buyout–are you kidding?”–and began rectifying their mistake, JMU botched it by not responding.

If everybody had just acknowledged they didn’t like it but it’s part of the business and JMU had done something–anything–to appease Marist, we wouldn’t be here.

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~ by mglitos on July 24, 2009.

One Response to “Brady Versus Marist…Or, All My Children…”

  1. ehh i dont know if Bourne should have responded. Im sure he got sound legal advise that steered him into silence. If he did admit the wrong, then that could be held against him in court.

    I certainly hope JMU is handling this right, but its tough to know with such incomplete informations

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