Since Monday, when Tulane was left out of the NCAA tournament field, I have been asked by several Wave baseball fans, "Is Rick Jones on the hot seat?"
It is an interesting question. In other words, should a coach who has won over 65 percent of his games this season at Tulane be on the hot seat?
Think about it.
At a school that hasn't been to a bowl game in 10 years and hasn't been to the NCAA basketball tournament in 17 years, a coach who finished third in Conference-USA is considered a failure?
Several of those same Tulane fans say: "Tulane has built Jones a stadium, and since then we have gone downhill."
Stadiums don't win games. Great players do.
And, it is clear Tulane has many good players. But, not enough great ones, the ones that get you to Omaha.
While Jones must accept responsibility for missing the NCAA's four years running, Tulane fans must also acknowledge that other factors have made winning at a high level much more difficult.
College baseball's transfer rule has changed.
In the past, a player could transfer and be eligible the next season. In 2005, Tulane had an outstanding team. But, that team suddenly became elite when pitcher/hitter Micah Owings transferred from Georgia Tech. Led by Owings and Brian Bogusevic, the 2005 team was ranked number one in the country.
Other Tulane transfers who became key contributors included Shooter Hunt, Brian Hughes and Larry Schneider.
There are many others.
The soaring cost of a Tulane education has not helped Jones, either.
Another recent rule change in college baseball: If you offer a student-athlete any financial aid, you must give at least 25 percent.
Tuition, books, room and meals at Tulane University for two semesters is approximately $60,000. So 25 percent of that covers $15,000. Even if a student/athlete gets a TOPS credit of $4,000, that still leaves about a $40,000 dollar gap. Per year.
These aren't excuses. These are reality.
Here's some more reality. In 2009, LSU beat Texas two games to one to win the College World Series. LSU didn't make the NCAA tournament in 2011. Texas was left out in 2012. College baseball has become much deeper and more competitive.
And this I truly don't understand. You can't have astronomical expectations in one sport and zero in the others. There are no such expectations in football, where a five or six win season would be considered major progress.
Same in basketball. A winning season would be real progress.
But in baseball, the coach who wins 38 and loses 20 has suddenly lost his touch.
Maybe I am out of touch. But if I am, here's a little bit of reality for all of us. Since he arrived here in 1994, Rick Jones has never had a losing season.
Yet many Tulane fans want baseball regime change. For a coach who this season won two out of every three games played.
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