Kentucky Sports: Family Feud Within The Big Blue Media

Daniel Oines

It happens, but these days, it can have consequences.

Hank directed me to an interesting article by Brad Woodcock of the Kentucky Sports Connection. He writes about the recent (and probably ongoing) "nerd fight," to use Hank's words, that has recently broken out between some Rivals.com reporters and the Kentucky Sports Radio people. Here's what the fight is about:

Derek Kief committed to Alabama, as many expected that he would. From there, things got a little weird. Justin Rowland of Rivals.com put some information on the premium board discussing Kief’s recruitment implying that UK certainly didn’t think this recruitment was over and that some sources at UK believed that UK would flip Kief by Signing Day.

That information was immediately taken off the premium board, and issued to the general public on Twitter and other outlets, creating a frenzy between what I consider "Rivals Dudes" and "KSR Dudes."

I have no dog in this fight, but it is my policy not to take insider information from pay sites. I believe it is not ethical to do so. Not everyone agrees, and the debate is hardly a slam dunk either way. I believe in trying to live by the Golden Rule; if I had a premium site, I wouldn't want people taking insider dope from there and passing it out to the public. That doesn't include commitment announcements or anything else intended to be public information.

With that said, let me make two points here. One is that if the UK staff is really concerned about this information getting out, they should run a tighter ship and leak less.

Two is that, as I told you yesterday and as reported by Roll Bama Roll, the Tide is flush with receivers right now. Derek Keif is definitely excess and most Tide observers expect that he'll have to redshirt. It isn't really a stretch to conclude, as I did, that it is possible, and even pretty likely, that he'll rethink that position before faxing in his LOI to Nick Saban & Co. in February.

Here's the thing, though: If someone connects the dots, as I tried to do, and passes out their connection as "insider information," who is the wiser? I'm not talking about KSR or Rivals here, I'm talking about the "leaker." It is quite rational for the staff to entertain ideas about flipping Keif, but that's implicit in the recruiting situation he finds himself in. This isn't some dark magic art that requires years of training and a grimoire written in Latin, or the Book of the Dead.

But I think Brad has a point when he writes that this feud, while fun and entertaining for all paying attention and possibly for the participants as well, has the potential for damaging UK's recruiting. Years ago, some would complain on sites that writing an article critical of UK could cause recruits to go elsewhere. That was mostly scoffed at, but in the social media world, the sports writers and bloggers are much closer, and often have direct access to the eyeballs of the young men that Kentucky is recruiting. The potential for harm is greatly magnified in the social media space, and now becomes a legitimate, rather than mock-worthy, concern.

So I encourage everyone involved to remember, as Brad reminds us, that we are all brothers and sisters in Blue and White, and while intrafamily squabbles are inevitable, they can go too far.

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