It didn’t take long after reports surfaced a couple of weeks ago that Condoleezza Rice would be a part of the College Football Playoff’s selection committee for the criticism to rain down. Most pointedly, former Auburn head coach Pat Dye laid into the notion of a non-football person being a part of a college football committee.
“All she knows about football is what somebody told her,” Dye said during an Oct. 7 radio interview. “Or what she read in a book, or what she saw on television. To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt.”
Yesterday, of course, Rice was officially named as part of CFP’s 13-person selection committee, which will determine the four teams that will take part in the sport’s postseason following the 2014 regular season. During a conference call shortly after the full committee was unveiled, Rice, who has never been part of the sport as anything but a knowledgeable fan, attempted to alleviate the fears of those who are still against a non-football person being a part of the process.
A day later, she specifically addressed Dye’s comments and, as would be expected from a former Secretary of State, she was very diplomatic in her response.
“I would say, Coach, I respect you. I remember your great run at Auburn, and I certainly respect you, but I just respectfully disagree,” Rice said when asked during an interview Thursday what she would say to Dye if he were sitting in front of here.
Rice’s best response, though, came when she addressed the concerns and doubts expressed by myriad people that the fact that she hasn’t played the game at a high level, or even been an administrator in the sport, makes her a liability to the committee.
“I am, Colin, after all, a student of Russia but I’ve actually never been Russian either,” Rice, currently a professor of political science at Stanford, said during her talk with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd. “You can know something from following it and studying it, and I spend a lot of my Saturday with college football.”
Yeah, I think the sport is in good hands.
(Tip O’ the Cap: al.com)