I'm writing this to all of you USF fans, but in no stretch of the imagination do I root for your Bulls. I'm a sports writer. I analyze, I watch games, and I write. I try to find stories that intrigue me, and they're usually the positive ones. Usually.
But in this case, where a coach in Manhattan's Steve Masiello -- a coach who has ignited and built a spectacular program at Manhattan over the last few years -- was "played" by USF, I was appalled.
This is awful. This is awful for the USF basketball program (which oh by the way has made the tournament 3 times over the last 25-plus years), this is awful for Steve Masiello, who has built himself a solid career on hard work and dedication, and this is awful for you guys, the USF fans who have to deal with the wrath of this decision.
And you might ask, "What decision?"
In a sense, it was the indecision. It was worse than LeBron's "The Decision." USF hired the coach, and then, withdrew that hiring (which doesn't even seem possible) hours later due to a "discrepancy in the coach's background check." The discrepancy that wasn't found by Manhattan, the discrepancy that didn't at all seem to affect his players, and the discrepancy that Rick Pitino (who hasn't had the perfect record either…) never seemed to know throughout his career of endorsing and supporting Masiello.
Now though, the discrepancy will be read by the whole world (as USF is now trending on Twitter). The discrepancy will now be investigated by the University of Manhattan, and the discrepancy will haunt Masiello. Ask yourself, "Is it fair?" Or maybe ask yourself, "Are we dumb?" Because Masiello was going to turn around USF and there's no doubt about it.
Masiello recruits, Masiello coaches, and Masiello has been around basketball and basketball minds throughout his entire life. And no. I'm not at all supporting this discrepancy, but when you let the coach SIGN the contract, you usually don't tell him thereafter he can't coach. It logically makes zero sense.
I love the AAC and I think it's a conference with great potential, especially in basketball. And with USF finally rising up and competing for championships and NCAA tournaments, it'd only be more beneficial. But with this, with this decision and action, the AAC and USF took a negative step, and it's disappointing and even unprofessional (as Collin has said).
So we'll wait, and we'll watch, and don't think this story is going away. Better yet, don't think this story won't get ugly.