Oprah had to go.
All radio reports, phone calls, e-mails, instant-messenger jabber, television tickertapes and Internet updates in the aftermath of Quin Snyder’s resignation that transformed Columbia into a national story Friday afternoon fell on deaf ears inside the Comfort Suites lobby.
Here, in the city that spawned attention and snatched up bandwidth stretching from both coasts and beyond, the lobby remained an island of ignorance at the center of it all.
One Toshiba television set. And Oprah was on.
Someone mustered enough energy to switch to Channel 30. The traffic on I-70 crawled. The world outside began to move again.
ESPNEWS’ top story at about 4 p.m.? Quin Snyder steps down as Missouri men’s basketball coach after seven years of diminishing expectations.
The urge to let someone, anyone, know about the resignation wasn’t in short supply in mid-Missouri after the decision, one that reportedly came during a team meeting Friday afternoon at Mizzou Arena, a day after Snyder said he planned to finish the season.
Within hours, opinion, speculation and everything in between descended on Columbia.
Jay Bilas, an ESPN analyst and Snyder’s Duke teammate during the 1986 season, called Quin’s resignation a “selfless act” during an ESPNEWS interview from the ESPN College Game Day set in Spokane, Wash.
Snyder’s mentor, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, discussed Snyder’s resignation with Washington Post’s Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon during Friday’s taping of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, saying that sometimes it’s best if both sides part ways.
In an article on ESPN.com, Pat Forde wrote that Snyder should have been fired at the end of last season, citing a failure to capitalize on recruiting gains during the early part of Snyder’s tenure.
Associated Press wires buzzed with updates.
But chatter wasn’t limited to newsroom cubicles and faraway production sets.
Onlookers littered Internet message boards with everything from guesses about Snyder’s replacement — “How long until we have Rick Majerus sightings at Shakespeare’s?” — to the latest developments during the story’s early stages.
As of mid-Saturday, topics about Snyder’s resignation on the popular Tiger Board forum stretched to 21 pages.
“The real Quin bashing hasn’t started yet.”
“And now Quin can add ‘quitter’ to his resume.”
“Quin to enter the next season of (ABC’s) Dancing with the Stars.”
But no matter the location or the level of professional interest, Web curiosity revolving around Snyder’s resignation shared a common theme.
“Holy cow,” said someone with the bluesox7 handle on Tiger Board. “It’s true!”
Back at the Comfort Suites, telephones rang under a marble countertop. Patrons walked through two sliding doors ready to call it a day. Oprah was over. ESPNEWS spilled from the Toshiba television set and wafted in the background.
Breaking news: Quin Snyder resigns from Missouri.
And life, at the center of it all, carried on.