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Big Blue Daily Mail -- Catch Up Edition

Well, as my workload reaches its peak, I admit to floundering a bit, and ask for patience.  I expect that in two weeks, I'll be out from under this crushing mess and back to a more normal schedule of actual daily news posts.  For now, though, you will have to bear with me.

The Washington Post had this very interesting piece the other day about the difficulties created when bloggers and other on-line purveyors of team information and fan sites, who by their nature are usually fans of a particular team, become credentialed media.  The article focuses on recruiting issues, and they are fairly serious.

The NCAA forbids "boosters," which it very loosely defines, from speaking to recruits.  The problem is the definition of a booster can include almost anybody who likes that particular team, and a fan site operator would certainly meet that definition.  The article seems to conclude that most, but not all, and sites qualify as "credentialed media," although for old-media types like the Washington Post to be passing judgment on what is and is not legitimate in new media strikes me as a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

Here are the concerns the article raises:

  • Fans being credentialed as media members and using the subsequent access to recruit athletes through the back door.  Although the thrust of the article is aimed at new media and non-traditional journalists, it is pretty clear that some traditional journalists may be engaging in the same activity.
  • These credentialed "semi-media" acting as "runners."  Runners are people who de facto represent a coaching staff during periods where direct contact is forbidden, or must be initiated by the recruit (essentially what William Wesley has been accused of being for Calipari).

This is a very difficult subject.  Many new media members do engage in actual journalism and adhere to a code of ethics that wold forbid them from any recruiting or "running" activities.  Given that, it's hard to understand why they would not be granted media credentials.  As an aside, A Sea of Blue's policy is that we are a bloggers, not journalists.  Even though we adhere to a code of ethics, we do not wish to be "credentialed media" (at least, not now) and are happy being purveyors of opinion and insight.

But the ones who are doing these nefarious things give the entire new media a bad name, and that is something the old media is more than happy to exploit with articles like this.  I am not criticizing the Post for running it -- it is a good story about a subject that needs to be in the national sports discussion.  But it serves the dual purpose of advancing the old media's agenda, and the likelihood of a conflict of interest here is extremely high.

But whatever the motivation, it it worth noting that a Kentucky site, True Blue Kentucky, was mentioned there, and it was mentioned in a way that was intended to leave the impression that they belonged to the group that was engaging in de facto recruiting.  The owner of that site, Marc Maggard, sent out a blast email defending Dave Kersey, the person named in the article, and in my opinion, defended his actions fairly and effectively.  You can read this blog by Maggard, which says the same thing as his email.

But with all that aside, the question still remains -- how are NCAA member institutions, in particular, to handle situations where their fans engage in recruiting under the rubric of credentialed media, or situations where that may be happening but can't be confirmed?  If there is a violation, the school that stood to benefit must report it to the NCAA and take corrective action.  At the same time, if the NCAA is seen to be attempting to stifle legitimate reporting, it could run afoul of both antitrust legislation and even potentially the First Amendment.  My take is that the NCAA is concerned, but has no idea exactly what to do or how to do it.  For Sandy Bell, this seems like a nightmare she must have every single night.

But there is one thing for sure -- if there are clear violations, it will be the schools and the programs who suffer.  Was the Washington Post trying to gin up a couple of NCAA investigations with it's article?  I don't know, but it would not surprise me. 

NCAA investigations are news, aren't they?


Speaking of news, here we go:

Top Stories

UK Basketball News

UK Football News

Other UK Sports News

  • UK Sprinter keeps pace with world’s fastest
    Sorrillo didn’t reach the finals; he finished sixth in his semifinal heat and finished 13th at the Championships. But three times over the span of two days, he raced directly against the fastest man in the history of civilization.

    Kind of cool.

NCAA Sports News

Other News of Interest

  • Rondooooooooooooooooooo! - CelticsBlog
    Interesting piece by the SB Nation Celtics blog. I liked this:

    All in all I cannot complain with the results thus far. He's already outplayed almost all of the 20 players picked ahead of him in '06. He was good enough often enough to help us win a title in his second year. He has made progressive leaps from "prospect" to "solid starter" to "near All Star." He's got all the tools to make that last leap into the elite category but even if he doesn't he's already proven that he can be very very good at a critical position on a great team.

  • On D-Line, Jarmon Is Catching Up Quickly
    Jarmon is impressing the Redskins. When one door closes, another one opens. Can you imagine if he is doing this well with an NFL team what he could have done at UK this year? AAARGGHH!

  • Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy dies after cancer battle
    No politics here, just noting the passing of a legend. Our prayers go out to the Kennedy family for the loss of their loved one.

The Daily Schadenfruede