Brian Kelly selfishly leaving for LSU with Notre Dame in playoff race puts sport’s hypocrisy on display

Whatever Brian Kelly told the Notre Dame players on his way out the door Tuesday morning, his final team meeting didn’t include the words, “It’s not worth it.”

It didn’t need to. Kelly’s shocking actions spoke louder than any profound exit address. At perhaps the most storied sports program in the world, one in the thick of a College Football Playoff race with a national championship potentially within reach, Kelly punted.

The LSU job was more desirable. The Tigers needed him now with early signing day approaching. The money was certainly more substantial. For Kelly, it was not worth chasing the dragon that has kept the coach from getting a statue built outside Notre Dame Stadium.

On the same day Lincoln Riley was labeled a “traitor” on the Oklahoma campus for taking the USC job, Kelly called … and raised.

Six days before his team could get into the CFP for the third time in four years, Kelly not only accepted the LSU job, he left right away. That is unprecedented. In the history of the sport, few if any coaches have ever left with a championship on the line.

Among the messages Kelly sent: I don’t think the Fighting Irish are going to get to the playoff, but even if they do, I don’t care because they aren’t going to win anyway.

In three visits to the BCS and CFP, his Notre Dame teams have never won — or come close to winning — a game. The Irish have lost those three games by a combined 103-31.

There have been comparisons to Bobby Petrino’s departure from the Atlanta Falcons. But that team wasn’t in the NFL playoff race. This is like a coach of a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament leaving on the eve of Round 1 tip-off.

Here we are in what should be the most exciting week of the season. Instead, the conference championship…


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