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The Norm Chow Sweepstakes

The Norm Chow situation is still in flux.

There is a lot of gamesmanship going on here, but it is pretty easy to figure out.

This is from Wolf...

I heard earlier tonight that Norm Chow was leaning toward staying at UCLA. But I also heard that nothing was settled yet. I think this is going to boil down to how much Lane Kiffin can demonstrate he is committed to hiring Chow and whether he can show some contrition over the way Chow was cast aside five years ago.

Remember Wolf has been all over the map on this, so take it with a heavy dose of salt.

Message board rumors have it that there is supposedly a meeting happening today. That makes sense since Chow was away at a coaching conference until last night. This would give him the opportunity to actually sit down with Kiffin and work out a plan and gauge their ability to work together. That to me is more important than money. ucla can't run with USC in terms of money, not with the California budget crunch, but the bigger question to me will be Chow and Kiffin's ability to work together.

Anyway, I will believe it when I read it from a credible source.

Here are some quotes from Rick Neuheiel from his conference call last night...

On Coach Chow moving to USC:
"Obviously there's been lots of talk about Coach Chow and his situation. I talked to Norm as he was en route back from the east coast. He assured me he wants to be at UCLA."

On Coach Chow, Part 2:
"The profession is one where you certainly want a commitment. You want people who want to be there. I think Coach Chow feels that about UCLA. I don't think it, it's exhibited. That being said, no one would ever be angry at somebody that if they got a blockbuster deal and felt like they couldn't turn it down. All I know is what Norm Chow told me, that he is committed to UCLA."

Not surprising that Chow said that...if he didn't he would lose his bargaining power with USC.

I will say it again, this is all about leverage. If Norm Chow was not interested in USC then he would have shut the door on this as soon as it broke. Heck, even Class of 66 on BN said the same thing in his fanpost and you all know I think that guys is a blowhard. Chow didn't do it because it is common knowledge that he was always interested in coming back to USC.

"Blockbuster deal" or not, there are also rumblings that there is some tension between Chow and Neuheisel. Not surprising, both have tremendous egos, both want to do things their own way.

Chow saying he "wants" to be at ucla is quite different than saying I am "staying" at ucla. Chow likes money...he wants more. Now, it would not surprise me if he did want to stay at ucla just because he is comfortable so why not get a few more bucks out of them. Chow wants an extension to stay. He won't get close to the Tennessee money he has been making but a longer term deal may be the thing he needs.

I get it...comfort and stability. He already has two years invested into this and he is on the downhill slide of his career at 64-years old. He might not be interested in pulling up stakes...who knows?

Look, ucla has improved no question but they aren't Pac-10 champion or BCS Title material yet and they may never be. Chow knows that, but as long as ucla has some steady improvement all will be well. At this point the drama in all of this immaterial, it is all about business and when dealing in business you never let emotion get in the way.

Don't forget the guys on the other end of this. They know how to negotiate too. This not some AD who is calling the shots. The guys that will fund this are big time money men. They did not get where they are by just writing checks wantonly.

It will be interesting to see who blinks first.

I stand by my feelings that Chow coming aboard makes this hire more palatable to me...but if he doesn't life goes on and Kiffin will have my support until he screws up.