Something I've never understood is why, when a man or woman gets involved with someone who was having an affair, that person is surprised when they themselves get cheated on down the road. You look at a person's history, their character and their personality and then are still surprised when they act exactly like they have in the past?
The same is true of football coaches. Take Nick Saban for example. He's hightailed it from jobs in East Lansing, Baton Rouge and Miami before settling into Tuscaloosa as the new coach of the Crimson Tide. That history of cutting and running isn't worrying fans down Alabama way, 90,000+ showed up to watch the spring football game, but you do have to wonder why it doesn't worry school officials enough to make Saban sign a contract for the job they are giving him millions of dollars to fill.
"What it gets down to is, once you have the principle terms nailed down - salary, perks, assistant coaches' salaries - the coach accepts the position based on that," said Birmingham attorney Russ Campbell, who represents college and NFL coaches, including the Atlanta Falcons' Bob Petrino.
"Once that happens, sometimes a coach signs a letter of intent, sometimes it's just a handshake. But the coach's camp gets comfortable. They say, `We've got our agreement.' The rest of it is really items put in place to protect the university."
You have to figure that handshake involved more than a little bit of saliva in the old palm. Alabama does have some history with unsigned contracts, both good and bad. Mike Price never signed his which left the university free to can him when he was involved in some unsavory behavior at a strip club. But Price only got the job because the Tide failed to get Dennis Franchione's name on the dotted line of his pact during the two years he patrolled the sidelines. That left him free and clear to head to Texas A&M when they offered the job and that's just what he did. Good thing they don't have to worry about that happening with someone as loyal and forthright as Saban.
Maybe Alabama thinks the problem in those other places was that Saban had signed the contract. All that pressure of living up to your committments can drive a man pretty crazy so maybe this way they'll get a calmer, more serene Nick Saban who isn't always checking for loopholes in a contract so that he can get out of it? Without a contract, Saban is bonded to the Crimson Tide only by the cosmos not by any of our outdated concepts of law and order. Who am I to question such deeply felt relationships?