Dienhart: Burke will have to make decision on Hope

Dienhart: Burke will have to make decision on Hope

Amid unrest about the direction of the football program, which sits at 0-4 in the Big Ten, Purdue A.D. Morgan Burke issued a statement Monday.

Here is the full release:

“Everyone around our football program has high expectations for the 2012 season. We have worked very hard over the past four years to improve our personnel, facilities and every phase of our program, which is evident. Our student-athletes, alumni, fans, coaching staff and administration all expect to see the program move forward and take a step up the postseason ladder. Currently, our performance has kept us from reaching our goals. But we have a third of the season left to play, and our focus is to achieve that consistency over the remaining four games. We need to press forward, converting potential into results and having fun playing Boilermaker football.”

Just an innocuous statement that says little.

Here is all you need to know: Burke is going to have to make a decision on Hope after the season. Period. End of story.

Burke extended Hope’s deal after last season, pushing it through 2016.

Purdue is notoriously thrifty and frowns upon paying buyouts. And to dump Hope and his assistants would cost plenty. But can Burke and Purdue afford to keep Hope for a fifth season with attendance lagging?

And know this: Purdue has a new president in Mitch Daniels, which only adds to the intrigue.

There is no sense that the program is pointed upward. This was Hope’s self-professed best team. And it had the most returning starters of any Big Ten team. A defense that was billed as one of the Big Ten’s best has been a fantastic flop.

Purdue is 3-5 overall and has lost four in a row, all Big Ten games. A bowl game–of which there has been one under Hope–seems like a remote possibility.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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