The Houston Chronicle reported on Thursday that Texas A&M is considering current University of Houston Athletics Director Mack Rhoades as a candidate for the same position at A&M, opened up by the recent retirement of Bill Byrne.
Understandably, this has the potential to send many-a Cougar fan flying off the handle. But it really shouldn't.
Yes, it was frustrating to watch the Aggies cherry-pick Kevin Sumlin, seeing him leave all of the nice things he said about UH being a goldmine job in the dust when the SEC came calling. A&M's proximity to Houston doesn't help ease the pain, either. If your girlfriend is going to leave you for somebody else, you'd prefer it at least not be your neighbor.
(I'm not sure how Mack Rhoades fits in with this analogy, but the point is, losing one's athletics director to the same school that hired your football coach out from under you would be a blow to the pride.)
Now I'm a Mack Rhoades fan, and all things being equal, I'd much prefer for him to remain at UH. But even if he trades in the scarlet and albino for maroon and I refuse to research the name of A&M's secondary color, I won't be angry. And neither should you.
The logic in remaining calm is three-fold:
1. It's way to early to assume it's going to happen. For every Kevin-Sumlin-to-A&M rumor that comes to fruition, there's a Kevin-Sumlin-to-Arizona-State, a Texas-to-the-Pac-12, and an I-saw-Elvis-at-Kroger-last-Thursday. Many Internet geniuses were positive that Sonny Dykes was Houston's next football coach after Sumlin left, so let's all just stop, take a deep breath, and see how this thing plays out.
2. It doesn't speak poorly of UH if he leaves. Based on A&M's recent history in the inferior Big XII, many folks believe that the Aggies (particularly the football program) will struggle mightily in (at very least) their first few years in the SEC. But it's still the SEC. It's the greatest, richest, most powerful athletics conference in existence, without a close second. Rejection always stings, but administrators leaving UH for the SEC doesn't mean that UH isn't a relevant entity in college athletics, it just means it's not in the SEC.
3. If he does decide to leave, UH will find someone else. Rhoades has his supporters and detractors, and I'm not going to get into a premature internal debate over whether or not he "was" a good AD while he's still here. But one UH administrator with a basically flawless resume and zero naysayers is University President Renu Khator, a woman who has not only excelled in increasing the school's academic profile, but shown that she understand the importance of athletics. The University of Houston may not be in the SEC, but it's a name institution in the middle of fertile recruiting grounds in basically every sport. If you don't think incredibly well-qualified candidates will be falling all over themselves to apply for the job, and that Khator will make sure the right one is chosen, I'm sorry to break this to you, but you're a crazy person.
Remember, when nobody else is looking at the guy you've got, there's a good chance that the guy you've got isn't any good. So take it as a compliment.
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