Throughout the NCAA investigation into Arizona State recruiting, one question has emerged, and it hasn’t gone away:
How does coach Herm Edwards still have a job?
Since July, five assistant coaches, including defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce and offensive coordinator Zak Hill, have departed. Last week, quarterback Jayden Daniels entered the transfer portal. Most of the fan base is on edge. These are not great times.
The Sun Devils are accused of hosting recruits during a no-contact period put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The probe could lead to other areas. No investigation timetable is known, but some fear it could lead to Level I violations. Arizona State starts spring practice next month, and finding a replacement for Daniels might be the least of the program’s worries.
So why has the university opted to stick with Edwards, at least for now? Here are four possible reasons:
1. It’s a bad time to make a change
The 2021 coaching carousel was intense. Oklahoma, Miami, Oregon, Notre Dame, USC, LSU, Florida and Washington were among the schools seeking coaches. Even without the recruiting allegations, Arizona State would not have fit well on this list, making the ideal replacement difficult to find.
Arizona State would have found somebody. This is, after all, a Pac-12 job with built-in advantages. The facilities are decent. Recruiting-rich California is within driving distance, and the in-state high school talent is improving. Plus, since Phoenix is a pro-sports market, the media pressure isn’t bad. But the investigation lingering over Sun Devil Stadium no doubt would’ve limited the candidate pool, perhaps forcing the Sun Devils to make a hire more out of necessity than preference. And Arizona State’s decision-making lately has not been strong.