Has Vanderbilt Thrown It in Reverse?

As Tom pointed out, Vanderbilt sounds more and more like the Fyre Festival of the SEC. And as VandyImport pointed out in the first comment, and I'll just quote here, "This makes it sound as if things are actively going backward, not just stagnant."

As a hetwetter on the outside looking in, I agree. The circumstantial evidence seems to point to an active decline, and a recent one.

Let's take this one piece at a time. (It won't cost us a dime. You'll know it's us when we come through your town.)

Thing #1: Chris Lee's comment that players "aren't being fed well"

The full quote was "Kids aren't being fed well and the shower situation is hit-and-miss from what I am told."

This was absolutely, indisputably, not the case for years. For those who don't remember, Majid "Magic" Noori was hired the chef at Vanderbilt all the way back in 1990 by Watson Brown. He was recognized by Sports Illustrated by the #1 food coach in America in 2012, and wrote his own book the following year.

Noori was fired by Vanderbilt in spring of 2014 under inauspicious circumstances. Allegedly he showed up to work drunk (after 24 years?); Noori claimed he was suffering side effects of heart medication. I think his dismissal was truly the final piece of the Franklin era fading away, actually.

Actually, let me highlight this David Williams quote: "A lot of people mistakenly thought Magic reported in the athletic department; he didn't. I really don't know anything about it other than they told us he wouldn't be here anymore. Obviously, since it's not one of my positions they wouldn't have to."

Like, what. Technically Noori wasn't part of athletics; he was under Campus Dining. Fine. Still, the guy who fixed your student-athletes' food for a quarter century just got canned, and apparently athletics didn't ask a single question about what happened?? Okay then? (Noori's comment that no one from athletics contacted him after his dismissal is sad as well.)

I'm not going to say that his immediate replacement was incompetent, because we don't have proof of that. We can say that if food is a problem now, it wasn't until recently.

Thing The Second: Matthew Fisher-Davis gets Frankie Valli's falsetto stuck in my head

Here's the exact quote: "It’s like y'all want Mason to convince players to come stay in a Holiday Inn when they just visited a Four Seasons"

On the surface, that's already a sensible enough quote. But here's the thing. Holiday Inn Vanderbilt may not be a Four Seasons (neither this one nor this one), but it's not exactly a sack of crap either.

MFD left Vanderbilt in spring of 2018. He strikes me as very perceptive and street smart. For one, he figured out the Bryce Drew Experience before the rest of us did. If Vanderbilt football was doing without friggin' showers or air conditioning when he was there, I don't think he'd be comparing it to a Holiday Inn. He'd be comparing it to a seedy pay by the hour truckstop motel.

And another point...there hasn't exactly been a shortage of former football players willing to speak out about the program recently. If they didn't have air conditioning in there for YEARS, surely we would have heard about it by now.

Based on these aspects, I've got to think this started post-2018, and it's another step backward.

Thing C: Whatever that Rivals article last week was

Anchor of Gold already linked to it on the main page, but this is the one. You can click on it and re-read it if you want.

The part that I want to focus on is the post-Zeppos resignation part. Because if that article's, let's just relive the quote about Susan Wente.

"Her focus was getting the chancellor's job," a source said. "To do that, she had to keep her foot on athletics. She didn't want athletics out front. That's not the Vanderbilt Way and it would hurt her chances.

She was petrified of athletics spending money, of a facilities plan and all that. That would have stirred up the faculty. She wanted to avoid any noise because she was afraid it would hurt her chances of becoming chancellor."

Good gravy, I hope that quote isn't fair. Nothing like working for a sociopath putting their career advancement ahead of actually doing their job (much less the peons...sorry, students beneath them that they're supposed to be looking out for). Although if somebody wanted to avoid a facilities plan with actual concrete goals, it would help explain the buzzword-bingo extraordinaire Strategic Action Plan™).

But let's say it is fair. You know what some easy ways to save money on athletics are? Skimp on the food budget, don't gas up the air conditioning, and don't repair the showers' plumbing. Not like you're personally suffering from it.

Denouement, because this is Anchor of Gold and we're pretentious weirdos

More and more, it seems like supporting Vanderbilt athletics is like watching a Twitch stream of a guy trying to beat Ninja Gaiden without cheating. Even if he pulls it off, you've probably already stopped watching because of all the falling into pits, and it was mostly dumb luck anyway.

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