Boondoggle: A work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value. An endeavor of putting leftover, worthless parts and pieces to make something appear to work.
Is the perfect description for Clemson Men’s Basketball?
I confess, I’m sitting in my recliner just fuming watching programs with less resources compete and win in March Madness. It’s here that I finally realize boondoggle almost perfectly describes the plight of Clemson’s Men’s Basketball, sheer madness not just in March but all year for twelve, soon to be, thirteen long, years.
When new AD, Graham Neff, took over the department in late December, most lauded him as a visionary. Honestly, those outside the circle of influence had hoped for a new direction for basketball.
However, Neff released a letter informing all interested parties of the ‘state’ of Tiger Basketball. After reading the letter, to me it infers, reading deeper, changes are never going to happen.
Brad Brownell is as safe and as comfortable in the bosom of mediocrity as Dabo Swinney is sitting on the splendor of the mountain top. Sure it’s hard to compare the two men or the programs they lead. It’s clearly a night and day comparison and that will never change.
If you’re tired of reading, hearing and even thinking about Clemson Basketball, you’re probably more mentally sound than those that can’t swallow another dose of the same nasty medicine ingested over the past twelve years. Reading inside the lines or between the lines or even outside the lines, it’s clear there is actually no “line in the sand” to establish a point where enough is enough.
No, Neff’s tepid words describe a safe, comfortable circle where a chorus sings ‘for he’s a jolly good fellow,’ over and over. It’s in the wake of this letter that I’ve decided to remain vigilant in a quest for change in something I used to love. Even if it’s singular effort.
It’s interesting, if the ambiguity of this letter is indicative of Neff’s leadership style with Brownell, then it’s little wonder why the program is in the shape it’s in. The paradox of Clemson Basketball is this, no one that influences decisions concerning any changes in leadership shows little, if any, motivation or responsibility to actually lead nor influence anything. Clemson Basketball exists in a vacuum, devoid of anything new and fresh.
Am I being unfair to Neff, a man I’ve ever met? Sure, he’s new and I get it but he’s been in the hierarchy of leadership for a number of years under the tutelage of former AD Dan Radakovich. He was hailed as a pragmatic, breath of fresh air. A young professional willing to face the hard realities of those programs under his leadership.
If this type of letter is what we can expect from the new AD and his leadership style, then he should just make it official and give Brownell a lifetime contract. In doing this, fans and donors alike can finally grasp and accept the hard truth that there is absolutely no desire to compete in basketball. In time, fan’s interest and support will be forced to look downward to meet those of the leaders.
Sadly, the painful reality of this entire situation is that Clemson is a family and when families condone sweeping issues under the rug, nothing ever really changes, nothing is ever learned and nobody is ever really happy. Worse, by the spirit of the ‘Neff Letter’, who really cares about the programs future? It’s a question deserving of a direct, honest answer, not just more ambiguity.
I write trying to answer, if only for myself, whether or not Clemson Basketball is indeed a Boondoggle. Just an ignored entity that is left to just wander blindly in the wilderness to find it’s identity. It will be interesting to see the real future of Clemson Basketball.
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