Well, folks, if it's going to happen at all, then as they say, IT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. As KCRG first reported, Todd Lickliter and Gary Barta are meeting this morning. We're sure that'll be a barrel of laughs.
Frankly, we think the biggest factor here is this past weekend's switch to Daylight Savings Time. That, combined with the fact that they're both a time zone away from Iowa City, works against Lickliter; they're both basically two hours behind their regular sleep schedule, which means they'll both be miserably under-rested for the meeting. And if there's one thing Todd Lickliter reminds us of, it's a guy who gets at least 9 hours of sleep a night. Right.
Okay, that entire last paragraph is bullshit; Barta's got a plan one way or another, and whether he gets up in time for a continental breakfast* or whatever isn't going to change that. If Lickliter's going to be fired, it's going to happen very, very soon. Well, unless Barta decides to keep him, then a month later Lick keys his car. You know what we mean though.
Frankly, we're going to be content no matter how today winds up, mainly because we see the merits of all plausible outcomes. If Barta fires Lickliter, it's basically out of necessity; the team didn't seem to play hard, the talent isn't terribly evident, and most importantly, the fan base has deserted the team completely. There's no money to be made in an empty arena.
Likewise, if Lickliter decides the stress of fielding a basement-feeder team year after year isn't enough to keep him in coaching, and he resigns, that's okay too. It's totally plausible that Lickliter announces a resignation with a settlement, and that Barta announces that he'd have let Lickliter come back if he wanted it. Now, whether Barta means that won't ever come out, of course, but the job instantly becomes that much more appealing to prospective coaches if Barta at least gives the appearance of being that coach-friendly.
And then lastly, though some of us refuse to believe it, there remains the chance that Lickliter's given one more year. It's entirely contingent upon the team, as a whole, throwing their support behind Lickliter and committing to come back. Any hesitancy on anybody's part (maybe including Andrew Brommer, although those are not good hands in which to put a man's career, or a baby, or a basketball) to back Lick's return is probably all Barta needs to hear to drop the axe.
And yet, if Lickliter gets that vote of support from his entire team, he's facing the first positive offseason in his entire tenure at Iowa. We don't actually know how this team will operate when it's not in damage control, after all, and when Lickliter can just coach kids. It's totally possible that he can have them in the NCAAs within two years, even if it's as a 10 seed or something. Of course, it's also possible that a different coach can do the exact same thing by then, but we're just saying: the talent's possibly there for a quick resurgence within the next few years. It just has to stay there. As for whether Barta has to fire him to save his own ass, well, name the last major college athletic director who was fired because he hired a basketball coach who didn't win enough right away. Exactly.
We don't know how this thing ends yet. We honestly don't. We've gone to bed thinking a firing's coming, and we've woken up thinking Lick stays, and we've changed our mind again 20 times. There is an empty arena in Iowa City right now, and it's scarcely different when the Hawkeyes actually play. Maybe Carver doesn't get filled back up without a coaching change. Or maybe, regardless of who's on the sidelines, winning is the only thing that'll bring fans back, whether it's Lickliter or somebody else tasked to do it. We'll know soon enough.
*Wait a second. It just occurred to use that "continental," in this instance, probably has nothing to do with a continent on earth, and more to do with the style of food (wheats and fruits) keeping you, y'know, continent. Eeeewwwww.