USA TODAY Sports "Paul Myerberg previews the two upcoming College Football playoff matches and explains why Oklahoma was ranked last.
USA TODAY Sports
Country does not need a former DJ from Maryland Durkins helps to win a national championship, it's Alabama.
And even if a program in the country took the opportunity to hire a trainer who disgraced the profession and whose so-called culture might have contributed to the death of a player, then – you guessed it – is Alabama.
Just because we are no longer surprised that Nick Saban is so willing to belittle Alabama's reputation for having half a house for coaching rehab does not mean that this is a good idea. And that does not mean Saban, even with six national championships in tow and maybe a seventh place in a few weeks, has to make such a decision without the contempt that any other head coach in America would and should take a similar situation.
Although Alabama has not confirmed or denied it, AL.com said Thursday that Durkin "supported Alabama in a consultant-like capacity last week," sources said.
This news comes exactly six months after Jordan McNair, an offensive lineman under Durkin's oversight in Maryland, died of heat stroke during an offseason workout.
It comes four months after an ESPN report, largely based on anonymous sources, shed light in a disturbing atmosphere in Maryland where players were allegedly mocked, bullied and dehumanised for motivation.
And it comes six weeks after Maryland was forced to fire Durkin, but only after a massive public backlash against the Maryland Board of Regents' first decision to bring him back.
The question that Saban has to answer – and as of Thursday afternoon, an Alabama spokesman had not answered specific questions from USA TODAY Sports – the reason.
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If Saban does not believe that Maryland treated Durkin wrongly for having lost $ 5.4 million, what would be an upside for Alabama? If Saban has not tested all the evidence and is prepared to publicly conclude that Durkin has been wronged and scolded, why would he want to bring someone into his organization that is so radioactive?
Perhaps it's as simple as Saban that Durkin, known as a defensive guru, can help him find a match-up against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. But how can this possibly be worthwhile? With or without Durkin's input, Alabama will probably be okay.
Although Alabama fans will surely realize that Saban did this previously with Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian and even tried with Hugh Freeze last summer before the Southeastern Conference office crushes it, this is a much different situation.
Kiffin's reputation as leader of a program might not have been very good after being released from South Cal, but there was never any suggestion that his behavior was destructive to anyone but himself.
Same deal with Sarkisian, who worked for a year as an analyst in Alabama to become an offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons. And even with Freeze, despite being fired for massive rule violations in his program and a personal stupidity from Ole Miss, the NCAA had essentially given him a clean health bill to resume training.
Yet, that was too much for the SEC and Commissioner Greg Sankey, who may not have explicitly called Saban to step down, but had made it known throughout the league that he did not want anyone to touch Freeze for at least another year ,
If Sankey can put his thumb on such a scale to prevent Freeze from coming back to the SEC, why not for Durkin?
Of course he should not have to come first. Saban certainly knows better.
It is one thing to have compassion for people who may need a restart, but there is time and place for that – and Durkin, who is in Alabama, may have won a national championship.
Saban's second-chance verdict has previously failed him, especially in 2015, when he transferred Jonathan Taylor, who had been charged with domestic violence, as a transfer to the program. Shortly thereafter, Alabama had to part with Taylor when Taylor was again charged with domestic violence, even though the prosecutor rejected her story and the charges were dropped.
"I'm not sorry to give him an opportunity," Saban Zeit said. "I'm sorry, how everything worked. I do not apologize for the opportunity we gave him. I wanted to try to help the man to make it work. "
But do not make a mistake, that was an all-system failure in Alabama and an unnecessary one. Even without Taylor, Alabama won the national championship this season.
It goes without saying that Saban's records have given him unprecedented power and freedom to risk personnel and disputes with his administration. However, if you want to include Durkin in any way in the program, you need to answer the following questions to answer today:
1) What are the responsibilities of Durkin?
2) Is he being paid, and if so, what?
3) What kind of contact does he have with athletes?
4) When did his employment begin and is there a retirement or is it indefinite?
5) Why is it appropriate for him? To be part of the Alabama program at the time, given the circumstances in which he was fired from Maryland?
6) Will he travel with the team to the Orange Bowl and receive championship rings should Alabama receive the national title?
And that's only the beginning.
Saban could be the king of college football, but getting a coach whose program was credibly accused of borderline and downright annoying treatment of players is a clear surplus of his unrestrained power.
Durkin could well get an opportunity at some point to explain himself and work in college football again. However, acting under the protection of Saban's dominance is not the kind of message that the American Gold Standard Program should send.