Tougher days ahead: Questions build about Weis’ future at Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND — The boldest statement to come out of Notre Dame Sunday regarding the state of its distressed football program was that there wouldn’t be any.

No spin. No photo-shopping of rays of sunshine into the big picture. No filibustering by Irish fifth-year coach Charlie Weis about what his future may or should look like. No word if the team stopped for gooey Primanti Brothers sandwiches on the way home from its Saturday night 27-22 deflation at No. 8 Pittsburgh.

Just a polite 58-word e-mail stating that Weis’ regularly scheduled Sunday press conference would be canceled, just 4½ hours before its launch. For the first time in five seasons.

With or without sculpted and scripted answers, the questions get bigger, uglier and more persistent.

Here’s a blend of questions and answers that will frame the world Weis and the people who sign his paychecks will be swimming in over the next couple of weeks.

1. The size of the buyout in Charlie Weis’ contract will play out in the media like a segment on The Price Is Right. Higher. Lower. Millions of dollars lower. I’m sorry, the lovely dinette set defaults to our current champion.

The bottom line is: It just doesn’t matter. If athletic director Jack Swarbrick, university president the Rev. John I. Jenkins and the powerbrokers who scrutinize and shape their decisions want to make a change, they’re not going to be held hostage by a deal former athletic director Kevin White slapped together a half a season into the Weis Era.

2. Could the Irish be facing their next coach in two weeks?

Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh is one of the more intriguing names to pop up in the “sources tell me” mill that will be gurgitated and regurgitated to the Notre Dame fans base in the days to come.

It’s so intriguing, in fact, that Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby is trying to hastily cobble together a contract extension.

South Bend Tribune
11/16/9