Collusion at Arizona State
Details have emerged that members of Arizona State (ASU)’s football staff were culpable in the build-up to head coach Herm Edwards’ firing.
some within Arizona State athletics wanted a coaching change”
According to Doug Haller of The Athletic, an anonymous coach said that “it wasn’t hard to get intel on this season’s [ASU] team because some within Arizona State athletics wanted a coaching change.” The “some” appears to refer to other coaches attached to Edwards’ hip.
In the meantime, running backs coach Shaun Aguano has taken over as interim head coach as speculation swirls as to who might be hired for the top position in the offseason.
Herm Edwards villainized
Edwards’ firing was theatrical enough, even before the leaks of potential collusion from the inside. Following a 30-21 loss to Eastern Michigan on September 17, a camera picked up a meeting between the Sun Devils’ head coach, ASU president Michael Crow, and athletics director Ray Anderson in the end zone.
Although unconfirmed, it appeared as if the meeting ended with Edwards being cut from the program. Anderson officially announced Edwards’ termination on Sunday of the same week.
The latest developments, though, add another layer to the story. If true, ASU assistants would have participated in match-fixing, a scandal that has plagued the world of sports since the days of the Chicago “Black Sox,” when Chicago players were paid by the mafia to throw World Series games.
This is also not the first time that the Sun Devils and Edwards have been thrust into the national spotlight. In 2021, a package containing hordes of receipts, pictures, and emails was anonymously sent to the ASU athletic department. Rumors swirled that someone on the football staff had sent the package in an attempt to get Edwards kicked out.
The information in the package detailed how ASU hosted recruits despite the entire NCAA being in a “dead period,” a time during which high school players were not allowed to visit campuses, prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors were snuck into home suites during football games, moved through back stairwells and hallways, and given tours of facilities at 9:00 or 10:00 in the evening.
Future at ASU
Coach Edwards was brought out of an 11-year retirement to help lead the Sun Devils to the highest level. Having made multiple stops in the NFL, his experience and demeanor figured to bring a program teetering on the edge back to the top level.
brash comments also divided the fan base and led to lots of finger-pointing
However, despite finishing above .500 at 26-21 during his tenure, Edwards was unable to elevate the Sun Devils into the upper echelon in their conference. His brash comments also divided the fan base and led to lots of internal finger-pointing.
Reports have suggested that the ten-year NFL veteran was apathetic and did not fulfill all of his responsibilities as a head coach. His firing brought the end to an ongoing saga that many in the desert had been wanting to change the channel on.
Arizona State now has a long way to go to rebuild its program. The Sun Devils are just 1-3 (0-1 in conference) this season, with games against #6 USC and #16 Washington in each of the next two weeks.
ASU’s new regime will also have tons of work to do on the recruiting front. According to 247Sports, Edwards’ ex-program secured the 103rd best class of 2022, by far the worst in the PAC-12. There are only 130 FCS football programs.
The Sun Devils’ next game is Saturday, October 1, when they take on the sixth-ranked USC Trojans in a nationally televised road game.