Baltimore Orioles: Fans shouldn’t get a say

The Baltimore Orioles should look to another orange-clad team regarding personnel decisions: the Tennessee Volunteers. Or let me be a bit more clear; they should look to the University of Tennessee on how NOT to handle personnel decisions. Namely a head coach.

You can read more about the situation here (courtesy of Dan Wolken, USA Today), however in a nutshell Tennesse was going to hire Greg Schiano as it’s next head football coach. Fans, alumni, and students alike widely protested this decision, threatening boycotts and picketing with pitchforks and brooms. Ultimately, the decision to hire Schiano was rescinded.

This is a bad look for the University, and it would be a bad look for any organization. Fans should not have any say in hires – I’m sorry, that’s just how it should work. Some would argue that in fact they should have a say…they’re paying customers, after all. But do customers get a say in who manages supermarkets? How about hotels?

Point being, you’re really walking a tightrope when you allow public opinion to seep into your decision-making. A very narrow tightrope. But there’s more to this than just that part…

…one of the reasons Schiano was unpopular was due to the allegation that he might have been privy to what was going on at Penn State with the child abuse scandal. This was never proven, and in effect is heresy. Now just to be clear, abuse of children is a serious crime that should never be allowed to stand. However let’s hold accountable the people who should have been held accountable – not someone who might have walked by a room where something was going on.

This leads us to the mob mentality. Let’s go out and lynch someone, in essence. And Greg Schiano isn’t the only person who’s reputation has been or will be ruined. It can and has happened to anyone.

My point here is that the University shouldn’t be listening to outside forces, including fans and boosters, when it comes to picking a coach. It’s incredibly poor form, and in essence you’re relying on people who know nothing of how the industry works to make the decision. But even if you hire a guy who’s intensely popular, he’s still held to the same standard. So if the more popular choice ends up not working out, those same fans will be calling for his head.

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