Tennessee fans might start to wonder if their search committee has gotten lost. And I wouldn't blame them.
A couple of months have passed since former University of Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton told UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek he wanted to resign. After pausing for about 1.5 seconds, Cheek accepted the resignation.
That's one account of the process that left UT in need of a new AD for its men's athletic department. You might have your own idea on the subject — perhaps that Cheek suggested to Hamilton that if he would resign, he would be willing to cut him a $1.3 million kinfolk deal.
Never mind what started this. UT's five-member search committee then teamed up with the headhunting firm of Parker Executive Search. About eight weeks later, all those searchers might as well have been looking for gold. UT still doesn't have an AD.
That's why it's not out of the question that the searchers are lost. They could have made a wrong turn or two, lost their bearings and fallen off the map, so to speak.
There are plenty examples of this in history and literature. For example, not all the guys who went after the Holy Grail made it back home.
I have another theory on UT's fruitless search for an AD. Maybe it has confused potential candidates with its fancy new title: "vice chancellor of athletics."
"What's that?" athletic directors might be wondering.
Suppose an attorney was offered a job as a "vice chancellor of legal defense." Wouldn't that raise a question?
And in UT's case, an extra question — coupled with the valid concerns about an athletic department that hasn't been able to get out of the way of the NCAA — might be enough to keep a qualified candidate from even considering the job.
My third theory is more conspiratorial. What if all this is a scam, and UT has no intention of hiring an athletic director?
That has worked splendidly for Vanderbilt, which, by doing away with the AD position, has used the extra money to fund its nationally recognized bowling team.
But UT doesn't want to be a Commodore copycat. So it won't announce that it's retiring the position. It will simply go through the motions of a search that will drag on until fans forget about it.
It's not as though there's an impending crisis at hand.
Coaches in the major sports have been hired, and all that's left of the NCAA trial is the sentencing.
Eventually, some talk-show caller will ask: "Whatever happened to UT's search for an AD?"
And the talk-show host will respond: "Search for what?"
Then, UT will know it's in the clear.
Again, that's just one theory. I still haven't ruled out the possibility that the members of the search committee are lost.
If so, hopefully they're sprinkling breadcrumbs behind them.