The 2-9 season is over, finally, and now Maryland has to decide whether to retain Joe Krivak as head football coach.
Krivak met with athletic director Andy Geiger early today and then departed for a speaking engagement tonight in Columbus, Ga. Meanwhile, College Park is awash in speculation.
"They can't afford to fire Joe, not with three years left on his contract," says one man with a pipeline to the inside. "They're still paying Lefty Driesell [10-year contract]."
"Lefty had a 10-year contract. When he was removed as basketball coach, the university had to compensate him for the loss of future income from radio-TV shows, camps and shoe contracts.
"Buying out Krivak would cost more than his $94,000-a-year salary. It would probably cost $175,000 a year."
"I get the idea from talking with Andy Geiger," says another deeply involved Terps supporter, "that they're going to make a change. They have to. If Joe comes back with that record [20-34-2 in five years] it'll hurt ticket sales. It'll hurt fund-raising."
That sounds like the words of Gary R. Roberts, vice dean of Tulane Law School and chairman of Tulane's athletics committee, in the Nov. 4 NCAA News:
"The sad fact that virtually all Division 1-A football and Division I men's basketball coaches' careers depend primarily on their abilities to win is not because those in charge at each school are corrupt or lack integrity. It is because the system creates economic imperatives that lead [administrators] to make business [not academic or ethical] decisions."
Maryland's players played their hearts out Saturday in losing, 20-17, to North Carolina State. At the end of Krivak's final weekly news conference, he told the media not that he would see us next year, but, "I'll see you . . . around."
After Saturday's game, he lingered on the field, uncharacteristically. As he exited, he looked back at the scoreboard and at the stands, as if it were a final look.
My instinct is that Maryland will make a change, a business decision, and that Krivak expects it -- and his players picked up on that.
* Visiting coaches who watched Maryland's opening basketball game, an 83-53 win over Mount St. Mary's Saturday night, came away with two observations: the Mount was unbelievably sloppy (41 turnovers), and Evers Burns is the most improved player on the Terps.
* Speaking of turnovers, Towson State's quarterback, Dan PTC Crowley, has thrown 13 interceptions in his last two games. That's 13 more than Virginia's Matt Blundin, in his first year as a starter, threw all season. Blundin has broken the NCAA record for most consecutive passes without an interception -- 224.
* Virginia's George Welsh is being considered for Coach of the Year honors, something few would have expected when his Cavaliers departed College Park Sept. 7 with an 0-1 record (which soon became 1-2). Welsh ended 8-2-1 and will go to the Gator Bowl.
That's the reverse of Welsh's 1990 season, when Virginia started out 7-0 and was ranked No. 1, then lost four of its last five games. George must have decided this year to start slower so the team wouldn't run out of gas in November.
* If you yearn for the days when college athletes were strictly legit, yearn no more. Division III Johns Hopkins played a basketball game with Hamilton Saturday that was a delight to anyone who is weary of athletes' drug abuse, assault and academic failure at so many colleges.
Legit and Division III don't mean that nobody knows how to play. Hamilton was 26-1 last year and No. 1 in the final NCAA poll. Yet Hopkins was able to beat the visitors from upstate New York (who had four returning starters) in a hard-fought, well-played game, 93-84.
"Our kids did an amazing job," says coach Bill Nelson, who is 75-58 in six years at Hopkins. "We got big games out of some guys who enrolled here without being recruited. These kids are great students, too.
"Jay Gangemi [23 points, voted MVP of the Blue Jay Classic, in which Hopkins also beat Albright] is pre-med. So is Frank Grzywacz [6-4, 210-pound sophomore who had 10 rebounds and 12 points]. We have 10 players who are either pre-med or engineering students."