Bobby Valentine and Urban Meyer are among the latest crop of managers and coaches to return to their first loves after brief stops at ESPN, but they won’t be the last.
TV networks – especially the one headquartered in Bristol – simply can’t resist, even if they often are being used by their analysts to stay busy and stay in the spotlight.
Mostly, it’s harmless. The trouble comes when the moonlighting coaches in question are in the news, and aren’t open and honest with their audience.
College coaches are notorious for their disingenuousness during the courtship process, which this time put Meyer and ESPN in awkward positions during the Ohio State search.
Is it all worth it to ESPN? Here is what executive VP Norby Williamson told SI.com:
“Our philosophy is when you have people that are connected to the game, relevant and sought-after, we think the totality of that is a good thing because it brings you access and insight.
“The downside of that is people are sought-after so they will have conversations, and the higher profile that you get, the more potential conflicts may arise. I think you have to be transparent with the audience, and you have to consistently talk about areas of conflict.’’