Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Revolving Door of Husker PA Announcers Reflects Badly on Nebraska

The story of Patrick Combs, the former Nebraska football public address announcer, was weird enough.  That quickly led to a search for a new announcer to serve at Memorial Stadium this fall.  (CN's Pat Janssen tried out for the job, but Nebraska was looking for someone local, who wouldn't have any travel issues to complicate the game day planning.)  Monday, it was announced that Jon Schuetz, the former sports anchor at KETV-Channel 7 in Omaha, would take over.  Seemed like a good choice, and it got quite a bit of publicity.

He lasted one day.

One day?  One Day.

Seems that someone found an old Facebook post by Schuetz criticizing Harvey Perlman; it was nine months old, posted in the aftermath of the Bo Pelini dismissal.

EXCLUSIVE: Unsportsmanlike Conduct and 1620 the Zone have come upon the alleged Facebook post that Jon Schuetz put out...
Posted by Unsportsmanlike Conduct on Tuesday, September 1, 2015

And the administration in Lincoln decided that couldn't be tolerated. Schuetz apologized and removed the post, but it was too late.  Schuetz was out, and the University scrambled.  For this season, Lane Grindle of the Husker Sports Network will move up to the press box from the sidelines to handle the PA.  It makes sense that NU would stay in-house on such short notice. No fear of having another Schuetz situation developing there, though it does complicate the radio broadcast setup for the IMG Network.  (I originally feared that NU would tap Jim Rose, who's now with the athletic department as a fund-raiser.)

The whole situation is awfully silly, with the University looking foolish on multiple fronts:
First, not vetting Schuetz's Facebook page in the first place. Schuetz's post was public, so it was easy to find. And it was found, after they announced he was hired. Do this in the first place, before the announcement, and NU moves on to the next candidate.
Second, having a thin skin.  What Schuetz said was nothing different than many Husker fans have said at one time or another.  I dare say "most".  Schuetz also said it long before pursuing the job, when he was a private citizen and not associated with the University.  It's not insubordinate.  Furthermore, Harvey Perlman has already announced his retirement.  (Jim Tressel is not replacing him, though.)

Here's the thing: if Schuetz quietly takes down the Facebook post but remains as PA announcer, this doesn't get near the attention that firing a guy after a day does. Maybe someone sends it out afterwards, but then, it's on Schuetz, who could then issue a quick apology and it would be over and done with.

Instead, it becomes a national story and another circus. Which it didn't need to be.

On Monday, Mike Riley talked about being at the center of attention in the state of Nebraska. In Riley's situation, it's all positive at this point.  (He undefeated in Lincoln, after all...)

But this points out the flip side of the situation...when stories about PA announcers get this much attention, well, it points out the down side of the intense focus on anything associated with Nebraska football.  And when Bo Pelini says "that's what wrong with that place," you have to acknowledge that he has a point.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Harvey Perlman isn't "big boy" enough to stomach a little criticism, even on his way out. He is a public figure and subject to opinion. Maybe Schuetz should have known better but since he wasn't employed by the university, big deal. I agree that none of it played out well.