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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

All about the Carr stuff and a fairly defensive post at that; I'm sorry this is not about evil, evil Ohio State and how they must be destroyed, but I have to respond to direct accusations about my credibility.

First, a clarification: I'm no longer completely sure on the timing of the Carr announcement. Other well-sourced people believe it will not come until sometime later, perhaps around the end of November. I heard otherwise, but not so strongly that I can dismiss a later date. What's probably going on is that there is no set plan and that different dates are coming to light because A was true at some point and B was true at some point and C may be true now, but attempting to determine which is which is impossible.

But the decision has been made, that I stand by.


So this is weird. How much value does this information have when it's been a foregone conclusion for three months? In my opinion, not that much. This is not the opinion of other people, some of whom are not pleased. I feel compelled to defend myself here from accusations leveled in email and on message boards.

A brief primer for context: last year Morgan Trent broke a bone in his hand during the Wisconsin game. Multiple tipsters relayed this information directly from Trent's parents, and I posted that he was likely to miss the Minnesota game and return for MSU. This internet "rumor" reached Rivals' boards and was addressed in "Inside The Fort," where they basically said "that's ridiculous, don't believe internet rumors because we've got the real scoop here." As this was the first piece of actual news I had ever relayed, I got spooked and posted a retraction, assuming that they were right. But when the tipsters returned and said that, no, Trent is going to miss the Minnesota game, I laid my cards on the table, specifically mentioning the source of the other rumors as ITF and posting every indicator I had that Trent was out. Later that day, a Rivals staffer called and demanded I remove the specific information from ITF, as it was "premium." I grudgingly complied.

Trent did not play against Minnesota and returned for MSU with a big damn cast on his hand. Rivals offered no correction or apology.

So I'm a little bemused and a lot angry that after a bunch of posters attempted to relay yesterday's post on Carr, they had the audacity to slap this up($):

Everyone wants to be the first to break the “news” of impending major change, especially those not constrained by traditional journalistic standards and accountability. That’s fine - but we are not going to promote or sponsor them, and this site will never be used as a launching pad to other forums.

We’ve operated within the aforementioned standards at every turn, and gone beyond to give our informed opinions at times. We also allow considerable discussion, speculation, etc., among our posters.

We will continue to disallow links to other sites, be they, lloydcarr’, etc. Lloyd Carr will retire at some point. We’ve consistently indicated it’s not a long ways down the road, and others here have been at liberty to go farther than that. We could have put forth innumerable unnamed source reports on this issue over the past several months, but realize that doing so would be irresponsible while the season is ongoing.

That’s where we need to leave it. Thanks for your understanding and restraint with regard to posting links. As always, if you have any questions, you can email any of the monitors.
This is technically "premium" content, but since the only information in it is "we are stunning hypocrites" I think it's fine to post in the open air, and since it directly impugns this site it deserves a response.

First: MGoBlog is not "constrained by conventional journalistic standards and accountability." This is right. Large sites run by many people under the aegis of a major corporation that has media credentials do have different standards than this independent site. Since Rivals is in tight with various assistant coaches, they have to toe the party line on this stuff lest their access get revoked. And if they get something wrong they just say "whoops, sorry" and move on without major consequence.

At MGoBlog, things are different. It is a blog. I am a guy. I float on the internet. So for it to be credible at all it has to be right all the time. And I have to do this largely without ever meeting or talking to the people who provide information. So there are some requirements. Everything I post has to be multiply sourced if the tipster hasn't established a track record. I try to lay out the situation in as much detail as I can, giving a timeline of events and stating what I think and why. (Unfortunately, in this situation all sources have requested no details be relayed.) I am very serious about getting things right. I have to be. It is my sole source of credibility.

Also, I can't lose what I don't have and am thus able to say things they aren't. They style it "responsibility," but it's really pure CYA.

Two: Rivals would like to have its cake and eat it too. There exist insiders on their boards that post inside information all the time; their posts are not deleted no matter how "irresponsible" they might be. Rivals simultaneously wants to paint this site with a scarlet letter while reassuring their subscribers that all the too-hot-to-print internet rumors can be found right here for just ten bucks a month. Hypocrites.

For the record, none of the "sources" here is one of the Rivals insiders. Again, they have more leeway than I do: the entire pre-MSU panic originated with them. Three major Rivals insiders posted that both Hart and Henne would not play; this site was the only one reporting they would go before the game. But they're still insiders.

Three: Rivals is welcome to search my archives for any time in which something I've reported as news has been wrong. Trent out, Forcier transfers, Manningham pulled over in Monroe County, Mundy transfers (and Andy Moeller might go to Stanford*), Beilein is hired, Grady tears ACL (and Brown almost transfers*), Hart out for Illinois, Hart and Henne in for MSU... all not wrong. This: not wrong either.

*(A pre-emptive and paranoid defense: please note that both of these things that did not come to fruition were phrased as possibilities; I had no solid Moeller source and said as such and the Brown stuff -- he was not practicing and was likely to transfer -- was true; he changed his mind.)


Meanwhile, a bunch of people have picked up the story, including the Ann Arbor News:
One Web site devoted to Michigan sports cited anonymous sources in a post that said the coach would retire after the Ohio State game, adding that athletic department personnel were already being told of the decision.
Surely if it's worth referencing, it's worth referencing where you got it from, no? How about some attribution?


Fin. Maybe more about this later, but now: Ohio State. Which must be destroyed.