Rant Man Can't: Not OK for OK-State Coach to Decide When It's Safe to Practice

Dan Raley

They love Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State University.

He's a former Cowboys quarterback, a native Oklahoman, who heroically broke all sorts of passing records while playing next to wondrous running backs Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders.

He's been the OK-State coach for 15 seasons, maintaining a respectable level of program success under the long shadow cast by neighboring University of Oklahoma.

Gundy also is not averse to a leadership style that seems to appease a lot of people in Middle America -- screaming and distorting things until he gets his way, if not demanding a perverse sense of loyalty.

So it was with great discomfort to others when, on Tuesday, this fearless one suggested rather pointedly how he was going to deal with the deadly pandemic sweeping the world and his team.

Gundy proposed having his football staffers back on campus on May 1 and his players return a short time later.

In three weeks.

What virus?

"They're in good shape," Gundy said of his football players. "They're all 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 years old. They're healthy. A lot of them can fight it off with their natural body, the antibodies, and build what they have."

To its credit, Oklahoma State said that wasn't going to happen in that time frame. 

"May 1 seems a little ambitious," Cowboys athletic director Mike Holder reiterated.

Gundy, of course, will forever be remembered for his infamous postgame rant in 2007 that went viral, which is addressed here once more in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer story, when he brought his team to Seattle to play Washington State at CenturyLink Field a year later. 

Right or wrong, the man just went off as shown in this YouTube video classic.

Now a little emotion isn't a bad thing, but common sense in this current state of societal disruption needs to supersede all of the bravado. The object of his 13-year-old rant, sportswriter Jenni Carlson, weighs in here on his latest news-making antics in the Daily Oklahoman.  

Washington football coach Jimmy Lake, on the other hand, recently said he was hoping his players could return to some sort of football practice normalcy in 45 to 60 days. Yet he qualified his statement by acknowledging he wasn't a medical professional and would let others decide the proper course of action.

A UW athletics spokesperson on Tuesday said the school was still trying to gather all the information it could around the contagion and formulate some sort of plans for dealing with football practice and an upcoming season, but it was still too early to offer any scenarios.

Meantime, Gundy will have to adhere to the greater wisdom of people far more qualified than him to deal with these unprecedented health concerns.