What Is a Guarantee Worth?

Wyoming football coach Joe Glenn guaranteed last week that his Cowboys would defeat the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City this past Saturday. Things didn’t quite work out for Glenn. The Utes defeated his team 50 to 0. In the midst of the game, Utah recovered an on-side kick while leading by a score of 43 to 0. Glenn responded by “flipping the bird” to the Utah bench. Today the Mountain West Conference reprimanded Glenn and he apologized for the obscene gesture.

That’s all fine and well, but I am left with the question of what a guarantee is worth. Glenn said that he regretted making the guarantee. Utah fans weren’t so gracious as they chanted “guarantee” towards the end of the game. So he apologized and was reprimanded for a gesture, and he regretted making the guarantee. In my mind when a guarantee is not fulfilled, the correct response is not to regret the guarantee. I would be fine if the regret were expressed before the game began. But after the game, it’s time to pay up.

The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary uses this definition for “guarantee.” It is “an assurance of the quality of or of the length of use to be expected from a product offered for sale often with a promise of reimbursement.” In the business world, a guarantee means that if you don’t deliver on the guarantee you make a reimbursement. As a hotelier, a guarantee means that you provide the room for free if you cannot deliver what you promised.

I think it is time that coaches and athletes be held to this standard for making a guarantee. Coach Glenn should reimburse the University of Wyoming a week worth of salary. Professional players should return one game check for each unfulfilled guarantee. Now that would make a game worth watching and it would stifle the crazy talk of many in the sports world.

Joe Namath was the first of the famous athletes to guarantee victory before Super Bowl III against the Baltimore Colts. He lived up to his words. He walked the talk. Coach Glenn should set the example for those that talk without walking — pay up.