Denial is the first indication of a serious problem When everyone around see’s the situation you are in as troublesome but you are in denial then you may have a serious problem. Complicated stacking of issues that are attacking your every thought cause a blurred view of reality at the same time. President Carol Folt of the University of Southern California came to the school knowing there were serious issues. The least of which was the football program. Did she know the Trojans Football team was subpar? Maybe yes maybe no. She had other higher level concerns that she was coming to fix or help to move on from.
Fast forward and you take the Varsity Blues scandal sweeping the country then the issues with the medical schools multiple victim lawsuits then horrible start to the fall school season where 9 students have committed suicide well there you go. She is clearly dealing with a level of saturation on challenging needs for her leadership. Is she competent to manage through this? Time will tell. But this is a lot to consider and then the schools beloved Football Program is spiraling out of control on facts dictating and erosion of the once proud gem of the school.
So, why these entry level paragraphs on President Folt. Sounds like Im building excuses for her. On the contrary, this observation is telling the story of a President that is under enormous pressure but has made serious judgement errors in my opinion. She initially came on and in 90 days removed the AD, Lynn Swan. She blind sided him on a Monday morning when he thought he was starting a new week and just heading to a meeting with his boss. Boom. The fans rejoiced and Carol Folt sent a message that things are changing. The changing part as it relates to Lynn Swan was more related to the mis-management of the Athletic Department and Varsity Blues. First mistake. The fans took the departure of Swan by Folt as a sign that she gets it. She should have clearly stated the reason for his sudden resignation but because of the HR department she is limited as all managers are. Then she moves to bring on AD Bohn. Bohn comes in and she states many times how excited she is to see his leadership come on board. When asked she clearly states he is in charge and she will have no say in the hiring of his staff. So again, the fans are teased by Folt that Bohn is going to clean up the staff starting with the head coach, Clay Helton.
Her actions were weaving a story and the story was a false narrative on what was really taking shape. She loves Clay Helton. She had her own set of rules that Bohn may have known or was blind sided. Blind siding is apparently a common occurrence under Folt so we move on. Bohn takes all the heat for the first week. He then comes out and states that Clay was his coach and there was NO search. So he didn’t do any due diligence outside of Heritage Hall to see what might be possible. Clay’s past 2 years of failure was enough to probe for change. Mike Bohn stated that he never did a search. Yet another blunder or was this prescribed by President Folt?
Transparency is a remedy to always consider when the media is spinning it’s own narrative and the narrative is caustic. By being transparent, President Folt could have shared here vision and whether you agreed or disagreed she plants the truth of her pursuit for the future clearly on the media and fans. To leave it to one’s own judgement and weave misdirections is only going to cause more defection from the brand.
President Folt, you need to come clean with your challenges and the fact that many in the fan base believe that Football is not your focus and that the program will not be your focus until all of the other priorities are settled and the school academically and socially can move on as well as the victims.
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