“There was good effort, good attitude,” Addazio said in comments released by the Rams athletic department Saturday following the team’s first preseason scrimmage. “But we need to scrimmage and tackle full speed a lot more. We’re not ready for that right now. This is a new normal. Normally you worry about how much tackling you’re doing, but we’ve got to tackle, play football, and get tougher. We’ve got to be able to gain a couple yards when you have to run it for a couple of yards.”
OK. Great. Here’s the thing, though: While the Rams get back to cracking skulls, the meter’s running. As the Nuggets soared, the Avs fell short, the Rockies flopped and the Broncos got hurt, the investigation into alleged violations of racist/abusive language and disregard for COVID-19 protocols at CSU has quietly rolled into … (checks calendar) … Week 8 now.
“We’re not where we want to be. We’re just not there yet,” Addazio said about the scrimmage via comments released by CSU. “I don’t know how many days we’ve had in pads, but it just doesn’t work like that. We’ve got another week of camp coming up. In that week, we’ve got to have some real tough practices and scrimmages, and we’ve got to grind this thing out and raise our level of play.”
Gotcha. Groovy. Speaking of grinding, here’s the other thing: Investigators tend to not poke and prod pro gratis. The legal eagles in this case, Husch Blackwell, reportedly charged the University of Iowa athletic department this summer as much as $675 per hour in rates, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. In Iowa City, the span from the announcement of Husch Blackwell’s involvement to the release of the firm’s final report was roughly six weeks. We zipped past that little benchmark a while ago.
Iowa State University paid the Kansas City firm $120,325 for its services on three athletic department cases, the Iowa State Daily reported in 2018, and it’s not hard to see this one landing in the same ballpark.
CSU athletics operated at a $4.1 loss in the 2019-20 fiscal year. In June, the university announced $17 million in budget cuts because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Rams are already up to their cornibus in debt over a gorgeous stadium they couldn’t afford. Now you’ve probably just sunk another six figures into Lord knows what.
Your take, Coach?
“It’s one down. It’s the first one,” Addazio said, also via the Rams athletic department. “We’ve got to have three more or so. This was just one. Thank God we got out of here without any significant injuries. We’ve been grinding pretty hard. We’ve had a long stretch of practices, and they’ve all been physical.”
Oh, back off, you say. Addazio can’t say anything until the investigation is completed. The same goes for athletic director Joe Parker and university president Joyce McConnell, and you know it. Who are you to presume anything?
Me? Oh, I’m a schmuck. But I’m also savvy enough to read between the lines. And this investigation smells like a rigged job.
Don’t take my words for it. Take McConnell’s. The new CSU president told ESPN on Aug. 4 that her investigation would be “immediate and objective.”
Later that month, after hiring a pricey legal firm to investigate the CSU athletic department, after demanding total fealty from all staffers and students toward that investigation, after vowing to punish intimidators and influencers, McConnell, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, got in front of the entire athletic department in August and said this:
“Joe (Parker) is a remarkable partner for me. I’m really, really fortunate to have him as the athletic director. (Deputy director of athletics) Steve Cottingham also has been incredibly helpful. Shalani (Shanker, senior associate athletic director for compliance) is amazing in terms of the compliance piece. I feel really supported by the athletic department and the professionals in place. I want to share that with you because during times of stress there often is questions about leadership, and I want to make sure you know that you have really good leadership.”
Objective, my patootie.
The football team’s back.
The meter’s still running.
“(Saturday) was a day that, for the first time out,” Addazio told the Rams athletic department, “we exposed a lot of our issues.”
Not all of them, coach. Not even close.