STILLWATER — Tommy Tuberville will be strolling the sidelines Saturday in Stillwater.
Hold onto your headsets.
Last week during a struggle of a game against lowly Kansas, the Texas Tech coach slapped the headset right off one of his graduate assistants. Then, he gave the lamest excuse of all time.
“He was on the field, and I reached to grab him and pull him off,” Tuberville said after the game. “When I pulled, I missed his shirt and I grabbed his (headset) and his microphone ripped off his head.”
If you're one of the million-plus people who've watched the incident on YouTube, you know that ain't true.
Not only has Tuberville avoided suspension but also any sort of public reprimand from his employer. He will coach his team at Oklahoma State this Saturday afternoon as though nothing happened last Saturday afternoon.
Where's the adult supervision at Texas Tech?
I'm not suggesting that the school should fire Tuberville. The coach has a pristine record of good behavior in three-plus decades of coaching. But that doesn't exempt him from punishment.
As soon as he swiped anywhere in the vicinity of his grad assistant's face, a line was crossed.
And if he does that on the sidelines with 55,000 sitting in the stands and millions more watching on TV, you have to wonder what he might be doing when no one is watching.
The Big 12 issued a reprimand.
Texas Tech's response?
This is the same school that has had two high-profile scandals involving coaches and their treatment of others. A few years ago, Mike Leach was accused of having injured player Adam James locked in a shed; Leach was fired. Then earlier this year, Billy Gillispie came under fire when several basketball players said his hard-nosed style bordered on abuse; Gillispie, whom the school reprimanded for violating practice-time limits, has since resigned for health reasons.
And, of course, Texas Tech was the final stop for Bob Knight, president of the Coaches Behaving Badly Club.
But now, Texas Tech is doing nothing about Tuberville. It sends an extremely mixed message.
Behavior like this isn't OK — until it is.
Tuberville did apologize to the grad assistant, Kevin Oliver, for his actions.
“After watching the film when I got home,” he said Monday, “it was obvious what a lot of people were upset about and it upset me, too.”
According to media reports during that press conference, Tuberville got emotional while talking about the incident.
Hey, that's good. He feels badly. He is contrite.
But that doesn't change the fact that he deserves to be punished for what he did. He should be sitting in Lubbock, not coaching in Stillwater.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.