Commentary | Rewards going to wrong place at USF, other schools

March 31, 2013 

The USF women basketball team won the program's first NCAA tournament game this year and showed remarkable resiliency before losing to California in the second round.

But in what has become a disturbing trend across the country, rewards are heading in the wrong direction.

USF athletic director Doug Woolard was paid $10,000 for the team getting invited to the tournament.

He didn't make a free throw, never ran a lap and didn't even hire USF head women's coach Jose Fernandez, who has guided the women to their only two NCAA tournaments.

Woolard is the benefactor of the generosity of USF President Judy Genshaft, who said in her contract offer letter she wanted to demonstrate her intent and desire for success.

Under a new three-year deal, Woolard is eligible for bonuses equal to the amounts paid to the performances of USF head coaches.

A report by USA Today said Woolard could earn $2.5 million in bonus money, which is more than any other athletic director in the country. He had been limited to $30,000 per year in bonuses during his first eight years with USF.

He receives a salary of $493,657, which makes him one of the higher paid athletic directors in the Big East, according to the USA Today report.

Woolard is best known for giving former USF head football coach Skip Holtz a five-year contract extension despite the team going 1-6 in Big East play in 2011. The move will cost the school about $2.5 million after it fired Holtz at the end of last season.

An honorable thing for Woolard to do would be to reject the bonus or give it back to the football program. Even better, give it to Fernandez along with a new contract, which he more than deserves.

Where's 'Stan the Man?'

Last year, the USF men nearly matched the accomplishments of Florida Gulf Coast University, winning two NCAA tournament games and falling just short of the Sweet 16.

The Bulls got attention, but nothing like FGCU. They didn't have the right style.

It's like judging Cinderella's slipper by its price tag.

Appearing in only its third NCAA tournament last year, USF gave breath to a program that was suffocated by its powerful Big East brothers.

But while FGCU made its mini-run with high-flying dunks and catchy clichés, USF used a defense that looked as ugly as a month-old bag of dirty socks.

No one wanted to face USF because of its defense. Louisville's Rick Pitino said playing the Bulls was like going to your dentist for a root canal.

A year ago, USF head coach Stan Heath was "Stan the Man," and they couldn't build a statue fast enough to honor him.

Now, coming off a dismal 2012-13 season, some are calling for his head. Others are saying if he can't win big next year, when the Bulls are no longer part of the Big East, he should be escorted out of town.

Jenkins to Oakland?

Here today, gone tomorrow; where is he now?

The saga continues for Mike Jenkins, but the latest reports indicate that the former Southeast/USF standout defensive back may find a home with the Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders secondary is desperate, and Jenkins is considered among the best remaining free agent cornerbacks in many circles.

ESPN Dallas reported Jenkins could get $2 million on a one-year deal, which he should jump on. He also has received compliments from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, with whom he had been feuding.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't seem to want him and could wind up sticking with Eric Wright, who was suspended for drugs, despite his mediocre performance on the field and penchant for getting into the trouble.

The Bucs passed on Jenkins in the draft five years ago and took Aqib Talib, another troubled soul who was eventually traded because the team couldn't rely on him.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112.

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