Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Josh Pastner doesn’t want to play local, high-major opponents.
He’ll play them if he has to.
Because he understands chain of command.
When your boss tells you to do something, you do it.
“Look, my athletic director, I think he’s the best,” Pastner said last summer. “I mean, the absolute best. If he tells me to do something, I totally believe in chain of command. He’s the boss. If he told me to go play Ole Miss, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi State and anyone else, I would do it, because he’s the boss.”
But that doesn’t mean he wants to do it. He’s got a vice-grip on the fertile Memphis recruiting grounds right now, and inviting his neighbors in could end up weakening that stranglehold.
That’s why the release that Ole Miss sent out yesterday, the one that confirmed that Ole Miss and Memphis had agreed to renew their rivalry, was so confusing. And, as it turns out, Memphis, according to Pastner, hadn’t actually agreed to anything yet. But that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future:
the fourth-year Memphis coach also knows that sometimes deals must get cut for the good of the athletic department, and my guess is that he’ll ultimately relent if Ole Miss demands a basketball game with Memphis in order for Memphis to get a football game with Ole Miss.