Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Quick Hits: Volume CXL

- The University of Minnesota football program has long been an untapped resource in terms of competing with the upper echelon teams in the Big 10 conference. Tuesday's announcement regarding its coaching staff doesn't exactly instill confidence that may change anytime soon.

The University of Minnesota fired Gophers football coach Tracy Claeys and nearly all of his assistants on Tuesday in what athletic director Mark Coyle called a “very difficult decision.”

It was a reversal for Coyle, who indicated in late-November that Claeys and his staff would be back for next season. At the heart of Coyle’s change was Claeys’ handling of a sexual assault allegation that hung over his team all season but reached a boiling point when his players staged a two-day boycott of the team after 10 players were suspended following a school investigation. Claeys supported his players’ stance.

After the Gophers upset Washington State in last week’s Holiday Bowl, Coyle said in a statement that he and Claeys would “take this opportunity to reflect on this past season before sitting down together to talk about the future and my expectations for our football program.”

I guess Claeys didn't meet whatever "expectations" Coyle set for the program. I actually watched the entire press conference Coyle conducted with the Twin Cities media on Tuesday evening. What surprised me most was Coyle's statement indicating that Claeys defying the U of M administration by publicly supporting the 10 suspended players merely underscored multiple issues. Apparently there were a litany of problems, ones which Coyle didn't care to (or couldn't) address specifically.

While there seems to be a significant amount of outrage from some players and a good number of Gophers fans, they can be placated with a solid replacement.

Speculation is sure to start immediately on who will replace Claeys, with Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck, former LSU coach Les Miles and Boise State coach Bryan Harsin (a Coyle hire when he worked at Boise State) among the names expected to get tossed around. Coyle said Tuesday evening that the school will “move quickly” in its national search.

“I have received phone calls from people,” Coyle said. “But again, we will move as quickly as we can to find the best fit for Minnesota.”

Despite a prolonged streak of mediocrity on the field/court/ice, Gophers mens' athletics sure know how to make headlines away from their respective arenas.

- So it would appear Bill & Hillary Clinton will be making an appearance at the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump later this month.

In an effort to show that bygones are truly bygones, I say the Clintons and Trump create an updated version of this 2005 photo:

Of course now that the lucrative speaking circuits may be drying up for Bill and Hil, they could be just trying to reestablish some relevance.

- So this is just a tad disconcerting.

Officials with U.S. Bank Stadium said Tuesday a group of protesters at Sunday’s Vikings game had tickets and concealed equipment for their protest under winter clothing.

Three people were arrested Sunday after two of them, Sen Holiday and Karl Zimmermann, rappelled from stadium rafters next to a banner that read “U.S. Bank, DIVEST #NoDAPL.” The incident started in the second quarter of the Vikings victory over the Bears, and they remained there for the rest of the game.

Authorities at the scene had them stay there due to safety reasons and to avoid confrontation with other fans after the game. Other Vikings fans in seats below were evacuated by stadium workers due to safety concerns.

SMG, a managing partner of U.S. Bank Stadium, said in a statement Tuesday that Holiday and Zimmermann entered the stadium as ticketed guests. They brought in nylon rope, a number of carabiners and the banner under their winter clothing. The items were distributed among the protesters, and went undetected by stadium security workers.


I mean, it's not like many of us didn't already know that these "security checks" were little more than a charade in an attempt to provide us a sense of safety in this post-9/11/2001 world. But to see first hand how easy it is to smuggle in bulky items has to give us pause to consider what else could fly under the proverbial radar. And if indeed this is a catalyst to TSA style security checks for Vikings games, you may wanna show up to U.S. Bank Stadium by 6:00 am for a Noon kickoff.


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