The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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ASU's Leadership Crisis

Its a good news/bad news scenario for ARizona State right now.

The bad news is ASU football is in the midst of a leadership crisis. The only good news is they aren’t alone in said crisis, far from it.

Earlier this week, the trio of ASU athletics leaders decided to publicly comment on the state of the program in the midst of an NCAA investigation and promptly revealed either a concerning lack awareness or an appalling lack of leadership or some combination of both.

Michael Crow’s defense of Edwards as someone who while responsible for the football program but not directly responsible for directing the cheating, according to Crow, is the shallowest definition of leadership that can exist.

There is no definition of leadership that allows a leader to accept responsibility for only the positives and none of the negatives.

This is what it has come to. Instead of leadership being about accepting accountability and doing the necessary hard things, ASU has defined Edwards leadership as avoiding consequences and only taking credit for the easy things.

What’s especially difficult to swallow is Herm was supposed to be different. Hired as an unconventional choice but soon celebrated for his paternal, genuine presence Edwards was the opposite of the career climber that defines most of college football’s coaching ranks. Herm’s coaching super power was telling you to trust him and you actually trusting him.

Now it feels more like “Say it ain’t so, Herm!”.

We don’t know exactly what transpired to cause ASU to be facing an NCAA investigation but we do know that both coordinators have effectively been fired and three other coaches were also let go. We know the programs recruiting has tanked and that the only people still around the program who have been implicated or would be responsible are Herm Edwards and Ray Anderson.

Instead of trying to lead the Sun Devils through this, it appears they are trying to use ASU as a shield.

When a program is used as a shield, it comes at the expense of every fan and alum. ASU is choosing to protect Herm and to alienate the lifeblood of Arizona State athletics.

They aren’t alone. Leadership is the scarcest resource we have right now in and out of sports.

When Juwan Howard struck a Wisconsin assistant coach in the post game handshake line, he went to the podium and instead of expressing contrition for his complete breakdown in leadership, he basically said Wisconsin started it.

There’s a leadership void across the land. For some reason we have decided to prioritize avoiding consequences and generating attention as leadership qualities over all others.

Herm Edwards should own his mistakes, account responsibility for the state of the program and take his medicine.

Instead, he’s avoiding responsibility, blaming others and hoping no one notices all the while his bosses are happy to go along with it.

That’s not leadership. That’s not who Herm Edwards was supposed to be as a coach.

Now its what the entire football program has become.

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