Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades on Tuesday took exception to the tone of recent comments made by Houston football coach Dana Holgorsen in the aftermath of the two teams’ postponed game, which was to be played last Saturday.
Rhoades, in an appearance on SicEm365 Radio in Waco, Texas, was asked if he was disappointed by the “chirping” going on from Houston, and Rhoades admitted that he was.
“Yeah, you know, I’ll be candid: I’m disappointed in their head coach and the chirping,” Rhoades said. “And I let the [Houston athletic director] know it. And, you know, in my opinion, [it’s] not professional, but we’ll move on and we’ll move forward.”
Holgorsen, in a news conference on Monday, sounded frustrated when discussing the postponed game between Houston and Baylor. The game was quickly manufactured after Houston’s original Week 3 opponent — Memphis — had to pause practice on Sept. 11 because of coronavirus testing results and eventually postponed the game. Rhoades and Houston athletic director Chris Pezman scrambled the next day to schedule the game because Baylor had an open date and Houston, which had lost its three previous opponents to postponement or cancellation, badly wanted a game and was ready to play.
On Friday, a day before the scheduled kickoff, the game was postponed because Baylor could not meet the Big 12 cancellation thresholds at one of the key positions (one quarterback, seven offensive linemen or four interior defensive linemen).
“I don’t know how it gets to 22 hours before the game,” Holgorsen said Monday of the postponement. “There’s a reason why our conference and the Big 12 tests three times a week. So, I would think that our opponent kinda knows where they’re at just like we kinda knew where we were at. … We had five buses out there, hotels lined up, we’ve got our equipment truck parked [at McLane Stadium].”
Holgorsen tweeted a picture of Houston’s equipment truck in Waco shortly after the postponement announcement.
Holgorsen on Monday went on to say that his team “buried it” over the weekend and was looking forward to its next opponent. Later asked about having to see his squad’s first four attempts at a game postponed or canceled, Holgorsen said, “Unfortunately, those games weren’t played, but it’s 2020, and we’re used to this crap. So we’re gonna get ready to go play North Texas.”
Sources at Houston told ESPN on Tuesday that the team’s frustration with the postponement stemmed from what it felt was a lack of communication from Baylor officials on their roster situation and ability to play the game, while the Cougars felt they were transparent about their situation.
Rhoades did not specify which position group was short on players but noted on Monday during a news conference that the Bears were expecting multiple players back in that group this week and, at this point, still expect to play their scheduled Big 12 opener versus Kansas on Saturday.
On Monday, Fox Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt said on Fox Sports Radio that Baylor fell under the offensive line threshold by one in part because of a suspended player and because Baylor coach Dave Aranda was unwilling to unsuspend the player to meet the seven-lineman threshold. Klatt was part of the broadcast crew for the game and was in Waco to meet with Aranda before the game was postponed.
Rhoades, asked Tuesday on the radio appearance about such a scenario, said he and Aranda didn’t want to compromise on that in order to make the game happen.
“You’re starting to think, ‘Hey, the only way we can do this is to unsuspend an individual,’ and how does that play in for the good of, you know, the 110 [players on the roster]?” Rhoades said. “But then you sit there and you think about your moral and your value system. Dave and I probably had three or four different conversations about it. We just finally rested that, you know, that’s just not something we’re willing to do.
“We probably could have justified it in our mind, and we certainly could have cleared it … but what does that do in terms of long term and what we believe in and what our program’s built upon, and then, what message does that send to our young men, as well? It was just something that Dave and I at the end of the day that we just felt we’re not going to compromise.”