Mack Brown: Think about the players, parents
September, 19, 2011
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com
Texas Longhorns coach Mack Brown first tried to give the pat answer regarding the fluid conference realignment subject.
"We are 3-0 and excited about playing an undefeated Iowa State team in two weeks," Brown said during Monday morning's Big 12 coaches teleconference. Texas has a bye week after its 49-20 win over UCLA. "And, I’ve got really good bosses that understand the conference realignment better than I do and they understand what’s best for Texas as a university and athletic department better than I do, so I’ve really stayed totally out of it."
Pretty much what Oklahoma Sooners coach Bob Stoops would say 10 minutes later.
But, Brown, 60, had a little more on his mind. He reiterated Texas' goal is to remain in the Big 12 (for obvious reasons), saying, "I know Texas would love to see the Big 12 stay together. That’s their whole purpose and that’s where I am."
Brown then got a bit impassioned, maybe even a bit sappy or old-fashioned with thoughts that perhaps should be, but surely aren't on the top of the minds of those making the decisions on conference realignment. Brown reminded everyone to think about the players and their dear parents.
"What I’m concerned about is the players and their parents," Brown started a rather lengthy monologue. "As much as we talk about money, as much as we talk about college football, as much as we talk about realignment, as much as we talk about great games, playoffs and all that stuff, we better go back and make sure that we’re taking care of the players and that the players and the high school coaches are always considered in the equation.
"Because if not, we’re not going to have a game, and they’re the ones that are playing. And, for parents to travel all the way across the country is going to put a bigger burden on them. It’s going to be more difficult. And right now with the regional leagues the parents can go see their kids play and that’s really important because these kids are working their guts out year-round for us to have a show on Saturday that everyone enjoys. College football’s as great as it’s ever been, but we better keep considering what’s in the best interest of the players or at some point they’re going to get so frustrated it won’t be fun for them."
Considering the best interest of the players?
Now that's a good one, Mack.
But, don't blame or snicker at Brown. He's just the head coach. Yes, a handsomely paid one, but he's not at the wheel here, he's just along for the wild ride. If the Big 12 somehow soldiers on or if the Longhorns become part of the Southwest pod of a Pac-16, not Brown nor Stoops will make those calls.
At least they can say they were consulted. Players and their parents cannot.