I had never asked San Jose State coach Brent Brennan a question until his post-game press conference at the Arizona Bowl.
Brennan’s a great guy in every way. Just this week, his director of digital communications shared the story of how his love for the coach made him follow Brennan from the state of Oregon to San Jose after the 2016 season.
But great guys also make mistakes.
Brennan had an opportunity to explain why six of his players, including five starters, and his offense and defense coordinators were unavailable for Thursday’s bowl game in Tucson against Ball State, which won 34-13.
Instead, he cited privacy as a reason not to make even a basic statement. Maybe that was the advice he got from his sports administration bosses. Maybe it was his own doing.
Whatever the reason, it was wrong that a high profile figure at Silicon Valley’s largest taxpayer-funded public university wasn’t more open given the controversial moves the football program took during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If Stanford, a private school, could announce in a press release 100 minutes before the season opener that three players, including quarterback Davis Mills, were unavailable due to coronavirus issues, the state of San Jose certainly could have had more to say about why so many keys are available Players and coaches were not available for one of the biggest games in program history.
But the state of San Jose said next to nothing.
In response to an email from the Bay Area News Group Thursday morning, a longtime sports department spokesman said he could see who was “unavailable” at the start of the game and that it would be “inappropriate to assign COVID to” unavailable. 19 Problems or Logs. ”
The state of San Jose has not identified the players or coaches, or responded to a post-game follow-up question from the Bay Area News Group.
The players and coaches were identified on the San Jose State pregame radio show and the CBS pregame show, which quoted the Spartans radio show for spreading the news.
Now we have to wonder if her absence had more to do than just coronavirus. Did you break the curfew? Were they discovered in the city? Did you even make the trip to Tucson?
The school had previously announced that their players would be tested last Saturday and anyone with a negative result would fly to Tucson the next day. A spokesman for the sports department declined to present the results of these tests last weekend.
If the coaches weren’t among the unavailable, an indication that COVID-19 was the reason for their absence, speculation would be even more intense.
Still, things don’t look good – especially after the only public comment from the state of San Jose stated that it would be inappropriate to attribute their absence solely to COVID-19 issues.
During the pandemic, interviews with coaches and players were conducted via the Zoom video conference. Reporters wishing to ask a question click the Participants tab, then click the raised hand icon. A moderator from the school’s sports information department calls the reporter’s name to ask a question.
I was up first after Thursday’s game.
I asked Brennan if he regretted bringing the team home from Las Vegas after beating Boise State in the Mountain West Championship game on December 19 – a controversial decision over Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 quarantine for travelers from 150 miles outside the region. I also asked when he learned he’d lost six players and the two coordinators.
Brennan said he had no regrets.
When I repeated my question about when he heard the players and coaches were out, Brennan said, “That was game time.”
I clicked the raised hand icon again but was not called while Brennan spoke.
Brennan was later asked by another reporter if he could say how many of the missing players and coaches were related to the virus. Brennan declined, citing privacy rules, saying he would answer questions about the game.
San Jose State hoped to mark the perfect end to an unbeaten season. Instead, with no core of players, which included star defender Cade Hall and top recipient Bailey Gaither, the Spartans fell 27 points in the first quarter en route to their only loss.
Brennan and San Jose State still have a chance to do better than Thursday.
If the players and coaches were out for violating the team rules, say so.
If they were down because of positive coronavirus tests and contact tracing, say so.
If you didn’t go to Arizona say so.
Brennan doesn’t need to identify players or discuss specific details. Some of the largest football programs in the country this season announced cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19 issues without violating privacy laws.
SJSU officials owe a fuller explanation to the fans / alums who have been watching this team all season and are asked to reach into their wallets for season tickets next year.
It’s what responsible programs across the country are doing without invading privacy.
The state of San Jose, the founding campus of the California State University system, should be no different.