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After Nebraska’s loss to Minnesota, the rumblings from the Nebraska faithful began about whether Pelini was the right man to lead NU to glory. This dope even wrote an article right after the loss to Minnesota listing coaches that could replace Pelini if he were dismissed.
The rumblings got louder as Nebraska’s season unraveled, and Pelini’s frustration with his uncertain job status became clearer. He drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Iowa for swinging his hat at an official and all but dared Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst to fire him after the game.
Eichorst’s statement of support for Pelini seems to have settled the waters—for now. Here’s exactly what Eichorst said about his decision, less than 48 hours after the Iowa game, and the timing of his decision (as reprinted by BTN.com, emphasis added):
My approach has always been to not comment publicly about our coaches until their full seasons are complete, as I strongly believe it is unfair and counter to best practices. However, given the volume of unfounded speculation and conjecture about our head football coach, I want to reaffirm what I have said many times since I have arrived at the University of Nebraska — that I positively respect, appreciate and support our football student-athletes, coaches and staff, as we do everyone in the Husker family. We very much look forward to our upcoming bowl game and Coach Pelini continuing to lead our program in the future.
Did you catch that? Eichorst had said throughout the controversy that he did not want to comment on the job status of any Nebraska coach until the end of that coach’s season. But he quickly came out with his decision “given the volume of unfounded speculation” about Pelini’s future. It was the fanbase, fueled by the Internet’s ability to magnify voices, which forced Eichorst’s hand—and gave the controversy the oxygen necessary to grow in the first place.
If Nebraska struggles next year, expect those same voices to raise questions about Pelini’s tenure in 2014. While the genie is most certainly out of the bottle, if Pelini could, I am certain he would take the entire Internet back to the store where Al Gore bought it from to start with.
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