When Florida International hired the disgraced, incompetent, unapproachable, and suicidal Isiah Thomas, the backlash was pretty severe. We almost began to feel sorry for him; after all, isn't this America, home of second, third, fourth, and fifth chances? Don't we love a good comeback story, so long as it doesn't result in Battlefield Earth?
But Thomas, it seems, just can't help himself -- or pick up the phone -- and Florida high school coaches are ready to ban him from their programs.
Over the past few weeks, Thomas has pulled scholarship offers for three recruits that the previous regime hotly pursued for FIU. It's unpleasant, but not uncommon when a staff turns over. Those familiar with college recruiting know it comes with the territory.
But Thomas didn't bother to call the players or their coaches before rescinding their offers -- he just did it, after the kids courted by FIU for months and even years were promised the new head coach would call after his press conference to let them know what's shaking.
And then...nothing. At least until their coaches were informed by an assistant that the school didn't want them anymore.
Well, that's a bit rude.
A source "familiar with Thomas' thinking" (who, Gargamel?) says that Thomas didn't make personal phone calls to the three recruits because he thought it would violate NCAA rules, according the NY Post.
That's funny, because Thomas had just taken -- and presumably passed -- his NCAA compliance test. And the NCAA says that college coaches are currently in a period in which contact between coaches and prospects or signees is a-ok.
One rejected player, Jamel Marshall, signed a letter of intent to FIU back in November, and didn't even receive a phone call asking him to sign a release until his coach told Thomas' assistant that Thomas should call the player himself, and soon.
"From Jacksonville, to Orlando to Pensacola, there's a lot of coaches in Florida not happy with him right now," said coach Greg Rosebrock of Jacksonville's Wolfson High, whose player Chris Rozier was "recruited like crazy by that school" before finding out from an assistant he didn't need to run out to his mailbox for the paperwork every day anymore. "He's not making friends here. I understand not wanting him, but place a phone call and do it in a professional way.
Florida, meet Isiah Thomas. Isiah Thomas, meet...does it matter?
Janie Campbell knows coaches be fussin', but this doesn't bode well for FIU. Nope, it bodes HILARIOUS. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.