On Tuesday at the annual SEC meetings in Destin, Nick Saban suggested that college football is in need of a commissioner. At a glance, his concept seems reasonable. But the management reality of college football leans more towards the surreal than practical. Case in point, college football’s current governing body has no say-so in postseason bowl games or its national championship. At a minimum, Saban’s comments provoked thought in naming adequately qualified candidates to direct collegiate athletics’ most powerful and profitable entity.
Now down to business, here are the election guidelines. You pick one of the five candidates. As you’ll see, my list doesn’t include athletic directors, college presidents, former coaches, or conference commissioners. I’ve grown inpatient and tired of retread committee chairs. For the game’s progression I leaned towards outside the box, or in some cases athletics, thinkers to introduce a fresh direction. Meet the candidates:
Marillyn Hewson: Lockheed Martin CEO, Chairwoman, and President
In thirty years of distinguishable accomplishment, Hewson has successfully increased her responsibility within Lockheed Martin. Named as the coporation’s CEO in January of 2013; she oversees a global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company. On four separate occasions, Hewson was named to Fortune Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. Forbes named her as the 20th most powerful woman in the world.
Qualifications-Hewton’s corporate governance and vision would provide substantial credibility in directing egotistic coaches, agenda driven AD’s, scrupulous conference commissioners, and elitist college presidents.
JC Watts: President of Feed the Children
Julius Caesar Watts is a former Oklahoma Sooner quarterback, professional football player, Baptist minister, and both a state and federally elected official. Elected to the US Congress in 1994, Watts stayed in office until 2002. Following his stay in Washington, Watts now serves as the President and CEO of Feed the Children.
Qualifications-Quarterbacked the Sooners to consecutive Orange Bowl victories. As an elected official, he oversaw a plethora of budgetary and disciplinary committees and is considered by many to have impeccable integrity. Considered a “Football Man”, Watts would have instant credibility within coaching and administrative circles.
Greg McElroy: SEC Network Analyst
The former Alabama quarterback is the youngest and least experienced candidate. At time and applicable to this election, age doesn’t matter. McElroy’s analysis on the SEC Network offers a flavor of SEC charm mixed with Ivy League intelligence. A leader on the field, McElroy differentiates himself with a practical and modern-day understanding of student-athlete needs.
Qualifications-Not a whole lot to offer here, call it a hunch. As an Independent candidate, McElroy is the consummate underdog. However, if you listen to him on the radio or observe him in studio, you’ll see a philosophical thinker that holds value to tradition as well as order.
*For basketball folk, think Jay Bilas.
JD Thurman: Retired US Army General
As a young soldier, I first met then Colonel Thurman during an impromptu inspection. Decades later, I’d be hard pressed to name a more effective and impactful American leader than General Thurman. Born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, Thurman proceeded to successfully lead soldiers for thirty-eight years. From his beginning as a Platoon Leader to FORSCOM and US Forces Korea Commander, General Thurman was known as an in-your-face, hard-charging yet fair officer.
Qualifications-Commanded at virtually every level within the US Army, Thurman’s leadership experience vastly surpasses the others. And trust me on this, no coach or administrator would back him down in negotiations or in a heated discussion. You’ve most likely heard or read me say, “When you’re in charge, be in charge.” That saying is classic to JD Thurman.
Drew Franklin: Editor-in-Chief, Kentucky Sports Radio
Frequent to Taco Bell, Franklin is best known for his nonsense leadership style and Photoshop ability. As a former eighth grade standout tight end in Madisonville, Drew is a life-long student of defensive sub-packages, punt returns, and the quadruple reverse.
Qualifications-Can quote the Forrest Gump movie in entirety, Drew Franklin would immediately hire both of the Kentrell brothers to serve on his executive committee. An accomplished, published writer you can read his work at www.kentuckysportsradio.com. Skilled in media relations, early word from the Franklin Administration is that if elected he’d ban TV timeouts, Georgia-Florida Line in-stadium songs, instant replay, and promote Marlana Vanhoose as the permanent National Anthem at all college football games.
You’ve met the candidates, now do your patriotic duty and cast your vote.