POSTED ON DECEMBER 12, 2012:
Say It Ain't So, Steadman!
TU should have stood by its man
He placed a wager on a University of Tulsa football game. The stakes were high. A conference championship was on the line.
Irony is a word often misused. So I will ask you. Is it ironic that a local morning television show followed up the breaking news of TU athletic director Ross Parmley's gambling investigation with a cheesy segment involving our Mayor Dewey Bartlett wagering pies with a mayor in Florida?
Let's be crystal clear on one issue. If it was uncovered that Parmley bet on the University of Tulsa during his employment at the university, he deserved to be fired and will be blacklisted from college athletics. Just ask Pete Rose.
However, if his bets were outside of the university's scope, then what is the big deal?
What red-blooded American hasn't filled out a parlay card, three-team teaser, or put a couple of dollars on Tony Romo to throw an interception with the game on the line at some point in their lives?
How many "households divided" watched anxiously as OU defeated OSU? The orange clad member of the family may have earned dish duty for a week after a friendly wager.
Oh, you say Ross Parmley should be held to a higher standard because the hypocrites of the NCAA have guidelines as such?
Bosh. TU took the easy road.
They bowed down to the faux NCAA powers. An investigator showed up in town and the president of the university, while vacationing in a foreign country, decided to fire Parmley immediately.
Imagine Bill Blankenship making a season-changing, fourth quarter, fourth down call from the Buckaneer.
It's not like Parmley was caught intoxicated or urinating in public. That would have been an embarrassment for TU.
Parmley has brought more positive coverage during his one-year tenure at TU than Bubba Cunningham did during his stint.
The hiring of Danny Manning as the men's basketball coach was a coup. It earned the university press during March Madness. When is the last time the university was relevant in March?
He supported Bill Blankenship. His radio appearances were always extremely positive. He combined knowledge and enthusiasm like very few can for the home team.
TU took the easy road.
They could have made even more positive inroads across the country by standing by their man. By all accounts he did a fantastic job in the face of unprecedented adversity with conference realignment and the like.
If the NCAA forced sanctions or Parmley's removal, so be it. But do not make that call prematurely.
The university should have called a press conference stating their support for the athletic director. Everyone deserves a second chance in life.
Picture President Steadman Upham flanked by the entire coaching staff showing a united front. Think of it as an intervention before a live audience or at least in front of three local media guys looking for a free lunch.
Each head coach could speak a few words on behalf of Parmley's leadership. At the conclusion, Parmley would stand while surrounded by both his personal family and his work family. A remorseful, apologetic, forgiveness speech would follow. At its center would be lessons learned and gratefulness for the second chance provided by the outstanding leadership at TU.
We see second chances awarded daily with players who can score touchdowns and knock down 3-pointers. Why not give the same latitude for an athletic director?
Parmley was mentioned once in the 84-page gambling investigation. Paying by check seems to have been his biggest misstep.
If his "addiction" was to alcohol, would he have been tossed out so quickly? Or would someone within the university have sought help for him?
TU took the easy road.
"Today, I terminated the employment of TU Athletic Director Ross Parmley," read a statement released by Upham on Dec. 4.
"In October of 2011, Ross shared with me that he was cooperating in an FBI investigation pertaining to a gambling case in Oklahoma City. At that time, Ross told me that his involvement was solely due to a family connection to the person being investigated," the letter continued.
Would an alcoholic be forthcoming with their addiction even to family members? Or would it take an incident to bring the issue to a head?
The letter went on: "TU is cooperating fully with officials from the NCAA to comprehensively investigate this matter and bring it to a fair and proper conclusion. This a difficult time [sic] for TU and we realize that our reputation is at stake."
"We are determined to uncover the whole truth in every aspect of this case."
So why the rush to terminate his job? Wouldn't "the whole truth" be an important factor before making a monumental decision for the athletic department?
If we are to believe the lone reason for Parmley's dismissal was due to his gambling exploits in 2009, this seems irrational.
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