I went to Northern Iowa in the 1980s. It was a strange time and place. Our TVs were 9-inch black-and-white deals with three channels not counting UHF.
We called 10:30 to 11:30 weekdays the “Power Hour,” because M*A*S*H and Cheers reruns were back-to-back on channel 2.
My dad would mail me $10 for the weekend. Stop laughing. I was the oldest of four kids. Dad was determined to put us all through college, so $10 was as good as it got. Of course, then I thought it was a rip-off and wanted a new contract. Now? Thanks, dad.
So, Friday Afternoon Club was not only strategic, it was survival. You needed to have some money to throw into the Sunday night desperation pizza grab. Is Paul Revere’s still cheap? Has to be, right?
Let’s start with the least-worst bad idea (and, hey, it might not even be a bad idea).
THREE OLD STYLES for $1.50
— If the Hawkeyes make the Sweet 16, does Iowa AD Gary Barta open up coach Fran McCaffery’s contract?
Yes, this is hours before the Wisconsin game. More on that later, but if the Hawkeyes crap the bed tonight, I’ll be eating some poo along with them for bringing this up. (I get the most tweets when I prematurely “Concert F” the Hawkeyes in a basketball game. Seriously, you guys are locked in.)
McCaffery’s deal — you remember how The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman randomly found the unannounced new deal in 2018, we’ve been over that — runs through the 2023-24 season (there more years). McCaffery would make $3 million in the final season.
There’s some buyout stuff. If McCaffery took another job before July 1, 2022, he’d owe Iowa $2 million. McCaffery’s buyout was $10 million if he were fired before July 2018. Now? I think it’s around $8 million.
That’s just stuff you have to put in.
Remember, I said “if the Hawkeyes make the Sweet 16.” If they don’t, there’s no discussion.
Let’s say it happens. A lot of you are going to say, “Eleven years and one Sweet 16?!?!?! No way!” Some of you will say, “Yeah, it’s been since 1999, let’s do this.”
I think you do it. Terms? I don’t know. Maybe start the deal at $3 million and go from there. Add two or three years. It’s not so much the terms, but the show.
Yes, it does kind of feel like we’re just kinda getting over “cheating MFers” at Ohio State. McCaffery ended up serving a suspension for letting that one fly where he shouldn’t have in February 2019. I asked Barta at the presser, “How many of these does he get?”
In the two years since, I’ve come to this conclusion: You’re not firing your coach for getting after officials. Yes, there are limits. And, yes, McCaffery can’t go machete and cleaver every night. I kind of like it at once a season. If you don’t feel like you’re going to the principal’s office once in a while, what’s the damn point of trying?
I think McCaffery has reached a point of maturity. The “line” seems there for him like it hadn’t been. He runs a clean program. His team has a chance to crest at a 22-year high in the tournament.
Every year in the midwest, I think McCaffery feels the region more and more. I could understand a pull back east, back to Philly, but I think the emergence of this particular team — the growth of Luka Garza and Jordan Bohannon and others (Jack Nunge, Joe Toussaint — shows there’s a long game worth having here. I think McCaffery feels more “of” here. His family probably feels more and more Iowa City every year.
Barta has been tied to McCaffery since he fired Lickliter. If McCaffery can deliver the March he wants, they want and everyone Iowa sorta kinda needs, open up the deal. Make a show of it. Make a statement.
Lose to Wisconsin tonight and, please, I’m between prescriptions for my heart meds.
SHOTZ, SHOTZ, SHOTZ for 75 cents
Over here, I’m going to cop to a lot of BS sportswriter tricks that I either learned or invented over the years.
This one wasn’t mine, but, oh boy, I leaned into and it used it every chance I could.
You know, the ol’ “hey, the coach has five years left on his deal, what are you guys telling recruits?”
It is total cheesedickery. I admit it. But hey, people want to know stuff and it’s never bad to take the temp on what is up with the football coach and his deal.
KF has five years left on his latest deal. So, next year the writers can use this cheesedickery to kill a day with a semi-BS topic. OK, maybe it’s a little less BS when the coach will be 66 going into the next season.
I was around when Hayden Fry was at the end in 1998. Then-AD Bob Bowlsby repeatedly said, “I’m not telling Hayden Fry when it’s time to go.” Totally got that. This was 1998, so the internet had yet to fully gain the oxygen that it takes in now. There just wasn’t a lot of pushback on this.
Here’s what I think happens: Ferentz’s end is Ferentz’s call. During Fry’s end, Iowa had one-year automatic rollovers kick in to keep the BS reporter/recruiting question at bay.
I don’t know why this wouldn’t go that way. Bigger question is if KF makes it through 2025. Not “makes it,” but he stays personally healthy and thriving and the program meets/exceeds expectations.
See? I told you this was cheesedickery.
THREE LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS for $3
Most of you know I have some hockey in my background. This is good and bad. If you’re not a fan of violence, it’s bad. Turns out, I’m a fan.
So, here’s a regular-season game in 2014 between the Canucks and the Flames. The Flames lined up their fourth-line goon squad for the opening faceoff. This is bad. This is intent. This is the tornado warning before the line brawl.
Canucks’ defenseman Kevin Bieksa picks up on this and, as the only fisty Canuck on the ice, skates in to take the face off.
You know where this is going.
Yes, I take out Brad Davison on the opening tip tonight. I “hook” my arm around his neck and I “hold” until someone taps.
This is one you, Big Ten. Nothing personal. The Hawkeyes are trying to have a season here and there’s no time for this Davison bullshit.