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Orsini fired at SMU -- but why?

In January 2011 SMU AD Steve Orsini got a contract extension through 2015.

Since that extension, SMU has gotten an invitation to join the Big East, been able to retain football coach June Jones and hired both Larry Brown and his successor Tim Jankovich.

Those are all good things, right?

It would seem. That's why Orsini's firing announced by president Gerald Turner on Thursday afternoon borders on shocking. Orsini, the former Notre Dame player, was nearing six years on the job. Sure, he could come on strong at times, but that's what ADs are -- salesmen.

Orsini was a good one. This may be over money. Jones is making $2 million per year. There was a big outlay for Brown and Jankovich. But didn't Turner have to sign off on all of that? And under Orsini, SMU had finished 10th nationally in something called the Excellence in Management Cup. Essentially, the rankings represent the athletic departments that win the most championships with the lowest expenses.

Orsini hired Jones, which was seen as a coup at the time. After last season, Jones was all but gone for Arizona State, but that in itself doesn't indicate any problem with Orsini. Going from Conference USA to the Pac-12 makes sense. The surprise, at least to me, was Jones being welcomed back with open arms when the ASU thing became complicated.

Something about this doesn't smell right. Stay tuned.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
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