Football Furloughs

Football Furloughs

Now this economic mess is getting serious.

Our retirement portfolios shrunk more than new blue jeans washed in hot water.

The housing market tanked like the 1919 Chicago White Sox.

Jobs disappeared faster than Botox from Nancy Pelosi’s cosmetics cabinet.

We took all that and came back for more. Go ahead and socialize our health care, take over our industries, cut our salaries … we’re Americans, tough as a two-dollar t-bone, we can handle most anything.

But … when you start furloughing football coaches you might just cause us to channel our inner Merle Haggard.

That’s right. One state government down in Dixie almost got on the fighting side of me.

Here’s the story.

Due to the lagging economy, the state of Georgia mandated furlough days for state employees. No work. No pay. In the case of University of Georgia personnel, no permission to be on campus. UGA president Michael Adams announced the six “do not pass go … do not come to work … do not get a paycheck” dates this week.

One of them is the day before the Florida-Georgia game.

Another is three days before the Dogs visit rival Georgia Tech.

My first thought … “that policy must have been in effect last year too.” (if you saw those games you know what I mean). My second thought was … “are you kidding me?”

A football coach cannot come to campus before a game with an arch-rival … sure.

Georgia fans excited in the hopes of replacing the Dog defensive coaches for at least one day were disappointed to learn that the Adams edict allows “essential employees” to work on those designated furlough days and substitute the non-paid holidays at a less-essential time … like the day before the Tennessee Tech game.

Still, the concept of furloughs for football coaches got me thinking. I’ll bet there are coaches and fans who would love to selectively employ this idea.

At Miami … head coach Randy Shannon takes furlough days on the first four Saturdays of the season, thus avoiding an 0-4 start (FSU, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma) and maybe saving his job.

At Southern Cal … Pete Carroll furloughs the days NCAA investigators show up asking about Reggie Bush payments, whispering about Trojans using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs, or challenging him on his questionable use of a former NFL tactician as a coaching consultant last year … meaning Pete hasn’t been seen around old SC much the past three years.

At Tennessee … the Big Orange administration places Lane Kiffin on furlough each time he commits a minor NCAA infraction or says something stupid. He’s worked about twelve days since being hired last winter.

At Alabama … Tide fans demand that Nick Saban take a furlough day (albeit with pay) on Sundays because on the seventh day he (and He) rested.

At Florida … rival fans rejoice in the notion that Tim Tebow takes a permanent college football furlough come January.

At Florida State … Bobby Bowden believes a furlough is in order for Joe Paterno.

At Auburn … Tiger fans still sting because the entire team took a furlough last November 29.

At Clemson … children of the Korn (Willie) expect newly-named QB Kyle Parker’s furlough to begin about midway through the second game against Georgia Tech.

At Michigan … the spread offense pioneered (at least in some aspects) by coach Rich Rodriquez may be furloughed (along with its inventor) if Big Blue falters again this season.

At Ohio State … Buckeye-bashers want to furlough those Jim Tressel sweater vests, but along the banks of the Olentangy the garments are still most fashionable.

At Notre Dame … a new motto at the Grotto … “Charlie – ten wins or the furlough begins.”

Until next time … enjoy your furlough!

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