ASU president Michael Crow throws support behind Herm Edwards, says he was not part of rule-breaking
Weeks ago, Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards received a vote of confidence from ASU athletic director Ray Anderson and deputy AD Jean Boyd during a team meeting. It came amid rampant speculation that Edwards could lose his job as a result of an NCAA investigation into alleged recruiting violations.
That investigation remains ongoing, but ASU has already seen resignations from former offensive coordinator Zak hill and defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce, the alleged orchestrator of ASU’s rule-breaking, as well as departures from three other assistants.
Asked why Edwards remains the head coach during a radio appearance on Arizona Sports 98.7 Wednesday morning, ASU president Michael Crow defended his head football coach, saying Edwards never asked his assistant to break the rules.
“In all of these things where you have people who decide not to play by the rules, those people are gone,” Crow said. “Now we’re looking at what went wrong and why that happened, so we’re still in the thick of that. Coach Edwards has done an outstanding job of upgrading our overall program. We got this collusion of people who decided to not play by the rules relative to recruiting.
“Coach Edwards is responsible for all the actions of all of his people, but these are not things he asked them to do. These are not things he was a part of. We’re looking at everything possible. He’s brought a lot of talent, a lot of energy, and a lot of creativity. Now we’re dealing with people who couldn’t play by the rules and now they’re gone.”
That would seem to contradict a report in January from Sun Devil Source that said NCAA investigators had been told in interviews that Pierce and Edwards participated in impermissible local meetings with recruits.
Crow said the NCAA investigation could still be 10-12 months away from concluding.
And because of that, Anderson, who also made an appearance on the Bickley & Marotta show Wednesday, offered little on the Edwards front.
“You got an NCAA investigation ongoing so we can’t comment, as you know, publicly about it. To give you an assessment would be doing that,” he said. “The NCAA process controls (the investigation), we do not control it. As you know, that process can be glacial.
“We just got to be patient as required. So we’re going to do that before we make any final determinations about our program, who leads it going into the long-term future. … I certainly personally don’t believe any rush to judgment is justified here in this case at ASU and will remain adamant about that.”
It is interesting to hear the AD preach patience due to the ongoing nature of an investigation while the president looks to absolve a coach of blame, but ASU has remained resolute in its support for Edwards since the 2021 season came to an end.
Crow went on to add that perhaps ASU’s self-titled “pro model” was part of the problem. “I think another consequence of the pro model is some individuals who weren’t as focused on the college rules as they should have been,” Crow said.
Anderson said the program has shown progress under Edwards, and that he’d like to see that build continue.
When Edwards was hired, Anderson said the Sun Devils weren’t going into a rebuild or a reload, but that they were setting up to compete at a high level. “There is no way anybody can tell me … we can’t do it in football,” Anderson said at Edwards’ introductory press conference in 2017. “In fact, we’re going to do it in football.”
But the Sun Devils are 25-18 in Edwards’ four seasons and now need to replace starting quarterback Jayden Daniels, who entered the transfer portal last week.
“Anyone who said we wanted to say we were making a promise the next two, three, or four years, quite frankly that’s an interpretation I think is not correct,” Anderson told Bickley & Marotta on Wednesday. “Do we have aspirations to build to that? Absolutely, yes we do.
“… I guess the only thing I would have said is it hasn’t been done here, very frankly, ever, and it’s going to take some time to get there. Don’t impose some timeline on us that hasn’t existed for prior programs.”
You can see the full interview from Crow here.