Earlier this year, Chancellor Jones responded to calls for Boone’s removal by saying that he would not, well, respond. He went on to indignantly state that he would not make a decision “at the point of a sword.” Melodrama and ego aside, Forward Rebels would like to address Dr. Jones’s continued failure to take action to repair a gaping hole in Ole Miss’s administration.
The fact is, Pete Boone should be replaced regardless of what Forward Rebels says, and, although Dr. Jones and others in the administration attempted to claim that this should have been handled privately, we debunked that excuse thoroughly yesterday.
People have been trying for years to get a better athletic director than Pete Boone, and, yet, who is our athletic director today? Pete Boone.
Individuals have tried to get a better leader. Small groups have tried. Medium and large-sized groups have tried. It’s been tried in private. It’s been tried in public. It’s been tried by famous people, and it’s been tried by the cap and t-shirt crowd. Wealthy donors have called for Boone’s removal. Cheap seat season ticket holders have asked for a replacement. Former players have explained why Boone should be replaced. Friends of Boone have said that it’s time for him to go. Media from near and far have made the call. The list of people and groups of people that have begged for better leadership reads like a Dr. Seuss story. In fact, try out this Mad Lib
__________________ has called for Pete Boone to be replaced.
It’s hard to fill that blank with any entity related to Ole Miss without making that a true statement. This is almost the most unifying event in the modern history of Ole Miss, yet, sadly, it’s coming totally at our, and our program’s, expense.
While various groups disagree on the best way to get rid of Boone, the fact remains that virtually every tactic, every path, and every method has been exhausted. It is only after such a long-standing refusal to listen to anyone that public outcry begins, and that outcry is entirely the responsibility of administration.
Some have said, “Forward Rebels, why don’t you back off for a bit and give Dr. Jones some space so that he can fire Boone without looking like he did so in response to these public demands.”
That statement is built on two very faulty premises.
First, do you think that, had Forward Rebels never run an ad, Dr. Jones would have fired Pete Boone? There is zero evidence that that would have happened, in spite of what Dr. Jones knew about Boone’s antics.
Second, what is more abnormal… asking for a better AD than Boone or asking to keep Boone in office “just a little while longer”? Clearly, the former is normal; the latter is abnormal. It is basic logic that for the betterment of any organization, the normal should not bend to the abnormal, but, rather, the abnormal should be expected to bend to the normal. It is keeping Boone in office that is the indefensible position, and it would be wrong of the public to “just be quiet.”
You, we, everyone, have made very reasonable requests and demands for the betterment of our Athletic Department. We all have every right to make these demands, and, if we truly care about Ole Miss, we should not stop until Ole Miss is made better.
Now, this would all be very different if Forward Rebels pleas were unreasonable. Allow us to clearly contrast this situation with such an occurrence. There have been examples of individual donors using their money and influence to achieve their personal preferences in collegiate administration. In those situations, an individual says, “I have a bunch of money; hire my friend.”
That’s exactly what Forward Rebels is opposing, and, if anything, past choices at Ole Miss have been made not at the point of a sword but at the point of a pen signing a check in return for preferential treatment.
We are asking for a nationwide, objective search committee to replace Pete Boone and anyone else who is holding Ole Miss back. There are quite a few. It’s laughable to call that a sword, and, although Dr. Jones has attempted to frame this as some overblown me versus the world conflict, it is nothing more than the public saying, “Dr. Jones, we’ve asked repeatedly. Will you please do what’s right?”
Digging in and simply saying, “I will not act while people are asking me to act” is an absurd notion, and it is not appropriate in this position. Wise leaders listen to their advisers, and they listen to, and learn from, their critics even more. However, thus far, Dr. Jones position has been, “If my critics demand it, I will not do it… even if it is the right thing to do and will hurt Ole Miss if I don’t do it.”
This is the untenable position, and this began building the day Dr. Jones ignored the private pleas of numerous people, pleas he received within days of his taking office. Delaying doing the right thing because someone else thought of it is a losing plan, and it will never net a positive result.
This hole existed before we got here, and you can’t dig your way out of a hole.
For the rest of us, imagine the day when Dr. Jones stands up and says, “The Ole Miss family is a strong group, and we have conflicted with all the passion that makes us great. I have listened to you, fans and friends. Ole Miss can indeed do better, and we will do better. Today, I announce that the athletic director’s chair, a chair which is owned by no man, not even myself, is open, and we are committed to scouring the nation to find the best person to lead Ole Miss Sports to a brighter future. We hope that everyone will come along for the ride.” I know we would!