Irish eyes not smiling on Davie’s future at Notre Dame

Nov 6, 2001 8:48 AM

Bob Davie’s job as head coach at Notre Dame could be in serious jeopardy.

It seems that the contract extension he signed a year ago that would make the current season the first of a five-year deal is something less than an iron-clad document.

GamingToday has learned there are conditions attached that leave an opening for the school to abrogate the pact when these conditions are not fulfilled.

The first of these conditions concerns graduation rates of football players and, considering the type of students that attend Notre Dame, this is a slam dunk. The Irish have always ranked high in graduation rates of student-athletes.

But the second condition is somewhat sticky, at least for Davie. It calls for a certain winning percentage and although the exact figure is unknown, history would indicate that .700 would be the minimum. Davie doesn’t come close to that. The current edition of the Irish has a 3-5 record with remaining games against Navy, Stanford and Purdue. So a losing season is in prospect, the second one in three years.

The Rev. Edward Malloy, president of the university, has made no public comment regarding the football situation but he is known to have told the college’s trustees that he wants a winning football team. Athletic director Kevin White will only say that the program will be evaluated at the end of the season.

And, a behind-the-scenes player could be NBC. The network is signed on with the Irish through 2005. Certainly when NBC joined forces with the school, it expected a whole lot more than the desultory games on the slate. Millions of dollars are involved.

The Notre Dame coach job is no bed of roses. The Irish play a national schedule with few breathers. Michigan returns to the card next year and Florida State replaces Texas A&M. Future schedules include BYU, Syracuse, Washington and Tennessee.

Eclipse a Given

Although Tiznow’s triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Classic was a notable achievement, in our opinion it doesn’t bring him within a furlong of getting the Eclipse Award.

That honor belongs to Point Given, who ran off a remarkable string of victories in the Preakness, Belmont Stakes, Haskell Invitational and Travers Stakes. His star, unfortunately, twinkled all too briefly. When he excelled, it transcended horse racing.

People with a minimum of interest in racing knew of Point Given. He was a superstar, easily the Horse of the Year.

Mac or no Mac

“To be or not to be”¦That’s the question that St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire ponders as he decides whether to retire or “take arms against a sea of troubles.”

Hampered by a leg injury that refused to heal, McGwire last season truly “suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” posting a .187 batting average. McGwire did belt 29 homers, but he struck out 118 times in just 299 at-bats.

The ultimate ignominy came in the final game of the divisional playoffs when McGwire was lifted for a pinch-hitter with the tying run on first. Manager Tony LaRussa was looking for the sacrifice, but the move was tough for McGwire to take.

Big Mac had been sending mixed signals regarding retirement throughout the latter half of this past season and you can expect that pattern to continue. Also, there seems to be some doubt about the status of McGwire’s contractual arrangement with the Cardinals.

It might be wise to regard no decision as to McGwire’s status as final until next year’s spring training.

BEST BET Saturday, Nov. 10

Florida at South Carolina: The Gators are rolling in high gear for the SEC championship. Florida QB Rex Grossman is putting up big numbers and is a viable candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

The Gators are a good team on which to lay points because head coach Steve Spurrier doesn’t believe in kneel-downs when the game is in hand.

Spurrier likes to run up the score. For this game, Florida (—12) gets the money.