The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Does ASU Have to Choose Between Hurley and Anderson?

After Yahoo Sports published an explosive email exchange between Bobby Hurley and ASU AD Ray Anderson, its fair to wonder whether a choice will have to be made at some point; who stays and who goes?

Now to be clear, the email exchange was from early December and I don't need to remind anyone how quickly the world can change in a few days, let alone a few months. It's possible the two worked through their differences and both are comfortable with each other going forward.

It's also possible this is a wound that may never fully heal for Bobby Hurley.

The allegations are serious and I'd encourage everyone to read the full report on Yahoo or Doug Haller's excellent coverage for The Athletic. The bottom line is this: Bobby Hurley believes his wife was harassed and assaulted by a prominent booster and Ray Anderson didn't do enough to protect her or respond to the allegations. In fact, Anderson fired one of Hurley's closest allies in the program who was responsible for following up on the allegations. There's a lot more to this story but that appears to, at least publicly, be the essence of the rift.

This isn't a typical AD versus Head coach power struggle. This is appears to be deeper.

In the latest email to surface Hurley emails Anderson but copies Anderson's boss, ASU President Michael Crow. Emailing your boss's boss is an open act of war in any workplace environment and rarely works out well. Hurley also begins the email with "Where do I start?", which again has never led to a good outcome in the history of letter writing and/or emails.

This is a clearly PISSED off Hurley. Like, the kind of reaction Hurley would have if a ref missed three straight obvious fouls on an opponent and then told Hurley to sit down and shut up. And then some.

But it's not at an official, it's at his boss. And if the allegations he writes about are true, can you blame him?

Wherever the relationship stands now, it stands to reason that ASU may have to make a choice at some point: Hurley or Anderson?

And thats more like Hurley or Herm Edwards because Anderson's best leverage is the hiring of the once ridiculed now beloved head coach of ASU Football, Herm Edwards.

Hurley has successfully transformed the perception of ASU basketball. While he has yet to translate that to postseason success, it certainly feels like he will soon, possibly as early as next year.

How far has Hurley taken ASU basketball? If you gave me a choice right now of Hurley or Sean Miller for the next three years, I think I'd take Hurley.

That's never been true between ASU and UofA basketball. Not even when Kevin O'Neill and Russ Pennell were running the show for Arizona.

On the other hand, if Herm can continue his trajectory of ASU football, a successful college football program will always dwarf the financial impact of a successful college basketball program.

It might not be fair to drag Herm's name into this but such is the reality of athletic department politics. You are only as safe as your strongest ally.

Ray has Herm. Bobby has Bobby.

Who would you choose?

If the allegations are proven true, its an easy choice. You choose the guy who didn't cover up and/or protect someone who sexually harassed and assaulted women. You choose the guy who has pulled off the impossible at Arizona State basketball. You choose Bobby Hurley.

If the allegations are not proven or are left ambiguous, you probably choose the guy who engineered the greatest hiring swerve in major sports history. You choose the guy how could finally lead ASU Athletics to shed the sleeping giant label. You choose Ray Anderson.

With multiple lawsuits, it's likely that the momentum of ASU basketball and football over the last few years won't be decided in a Rose Bowl or NCAA tournament but in the legal system.

No matter the outcome, it doesn't feel like anyone is going to win.

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