I'm not going to comment on whether hiring Brian Kelly was a smart move for Notre Dame. I'm not going to critique his coaching skills.
The issue I have is the timing of the hire.
What kind of a message does it send to the players on Cincinnati that their coach could leave for greener pastures and more money irregardless of their feelings?
Is this telling these future adults that it's okay to shuck your responsibilities and not finish the job as long as you're being well compensated for it?
Does all of the time and effort the Cincinnati players put into the season mean nothing as long as Brian Kelly can better his own predicament?
What about all of the practice time they put in not only during the football season, but whenever the coach deemed it necessary? Did they sacrifice their schoolwork for the team?
Did they do whatever was asked of them for the best of the program?
If the answer to those questions is yes, then why wasn't the same question asked of the supposed leader of the team? Was this the best thing for Cincinnati, having their coach leave before the Sugar Bowl?
Sure he made the program viable and put them on the map. Does he deserve the opportunity to better himself and his family and work at his dream job?
Of course he does.
But at what expense to his players and Cincinnati?
The players can't just leave and go to another school. If they decide to transfer, they're required to sit out a year before they can play for another team.
Why shouldn't the coach be held to the same standard?
Why can Brian Kelly leave just because Notre Dame came sniffing around offering gobs of cash?
The NCAA is known as a stickler for rules. A player could be suspended for just accepting a free lunch from a booster. They run a tight ship.
If a player is not getting an opportunity at his current school, he can't leave without having to sit out a year.
How come the ship isn't as tightly run when a coach wants to leave a school he has a contract with?
Why even bother with contracts? The contract is only good until somebody comes around offering something better. The coach is then free to leave the school he supposedly committed to and grab the money.
Several Cincinnati players were vocal about their displeasure at the news that the coach, whose program they dedicated themselves to, walked away before the final game.
Does a father pay for and plan his daughter's wedding and then leave before walking her down the aisle?
Of course not! That's not the right thing to do.
And neither is taking a team to the Sugar Bowl, and on the brink of an undefeated season not finishing the job.