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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Posting might be light today. I have to stuff a lot of dead cats in a lot of boxes and then mail them to Kings GM Dave "I Hate Brian from mgoblog" Taylor. But I shall tear myself away from my mission from God to address this article from The Lincoln Journal-Star. It's another in the burgeoning "recruiting is ruining college football" genre.

Michigan sites again pop up in the article, brought forth by Nebraska QB commitment Josh Freeman:

Said Husker commit Josh Freeman: "They would say stuff about their school, like, ‘Hey, you should really be going to Michigan. It'd be great. It'd be a perfect fit for you.' They say this when they don't know really anything about me."
Strange when Freeman never seemed like a serious Michigan target. Freeman clarifies who he's talking about later:
While both Michigan and Oregon Scout writers tried to sell their universities to him, Freeman said "Rivals was more worried about my opinion than their own."
Seems increasingly likely that Bruce Feldman's article was indeed in error and the lovelorn letter to Myron Rolle the Wolverine was accused of sending came from another source, either another school or the Michigan Scout site.

There's more. Rivals honcho Bobby Burton says that Michigan tells everyone they're the next Woodson:
"I'll never forget when I covered recruiting, I called three kids in a single night who had all been told by a Michigan coach that they were going to be the next Charles Woodson. ...

"When I put it on the Internet, I got a call an hour later from a Michigan coach saying, ‘You're hurting us.' I said, ‘I was just reporting …' It used to be where college coaches could tell white lies like that to recruits until the cows came home."
They lied to Shawn Crable!

These things are getting tiresome. Clearly there's a conflict of interest in each and every one of these things: newspapers and the Internet sites are in direct competition and going in opposite directions. Scout was just purchased by Fox Sports. Rivals, according to the article, has over 140,000 subscribers. I can't imagine paying for a newspaper. So you get these nasty articles as a result that accuse the Scout/Rivals writers of not being "journalists," a daring gambit in the post-Rathergate era when, fair or not, public opinion of the profession "journalist" is probably closer to "pervert" than "brain surgeon."

Is the rise of the Internet recruiting sites really a huge deal? I mean, this is a little hysterical:
Husker freshman Barry Turner said there was one horrific week when he received between 75 and 100 calls.
HORROR. What did Turner do to survive?
"I had to turn off my phone," he said.
Quick thinking there. The N does stand for Nowledge. There are some people in the recruiting business that are inappropriately advocating schools. Will this change? Yes. This is the wild west period of this industry--little regulation, massive expansion, occasional gut-shot cowboys. Rivals has already worked to rein in their writers, and now that Scout has been purchased by a major media conglomerate they will follow suit sooner rather than later. And "real" sportswriters will continue to sneer at them, baselessly. I trust the guys at Rivals and respect their opinion--I have something of a (one-way) personal relationship with them. That's why I pay them money to do what they do. I don't have that relationship with any members of the MSM. Scorn 'em all you want, but there's something there that bodes unwell for the single-sentence-paragraph blowhards of the world.

Update:For the record, a GBW subscriber comments: Don Hoekwater flatly denied Freeman's claims on GBW. He noted that he only spoke to him once and that he never said anything along the lines of what Freeman claimed.