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Monday, August 16, 2010

Grab the pitchforks!

When reporters attack ... Well, not really.

Friend and colleague Chip Towers has an amusing post over at the AJC's recruting blog. Seems Georgia has to report a secondary violation because of a scurrilous act by Towers: A photo was published showing offensive line coach Stacy Searels supposedly posing with a prospective recruit (because they were both looking in the camera.)

Read Chip's post. Good stuff in there.

First off, this is no big deal. It's a secondary violation, the kind Lane Kiffin committed twice in his sleep.

Secondly, Chip did nothing wrong. As he pointed out, he's a reporter, not a member of the NCAA or paid by Georgia, and his job is to observe and report.

Thirdly, I know exactly how Chip feels, since I also have been the cause of a school having to turn in a secondary violation.

A few years ago, while covering South Carolina, the basketball team was hosting a center who was transferring from UNLV. During a game, I spotted the kid sitting behind the bench, and not having much free time I went over at halftime and interviewed him. Then I published a few quotes on my blog and in the paper.

The kid never went to South Carolina. But the school's compliance office determined (rightly, by the ridiculous NCAA rules) that a secondary violation had occurred: A school promoting the visit of a recruit.

Even though the school had no power over me, a member of the press. OK.

The backwardness of the NCAA rules is that the recruiting and fan sites regularly "promote" the visits of players, writing about who's visiting and when, and following up with interviews with the players in question over what a great time they had.

(Notice, by the way, that a kid never says he had a bad time, there's no way he's going there, etc.)

But the recruiting and fan sites get around technically promoting the visit by not interviewing the recruit while he's actually on campus.

I was gently told this by South Carolina after the incident in question, and now I know. But still, going back to Chip's statement, I'm a reporter and I'm going to pursue a story, NCAA bylaws or no. Maybe, if I see a kid on a visit, I could go just ask the kid for his cell phone and try to teach him later, but if he's right there, why not talk to him then. (Especially if you know you may not reach him later.)

And in Chip's case, his readers were interested, of course he was going to pursue the information.

And while you're doing all this, you're acting completely independent of the school you're covering, so it shouldn't be culpable for you doing your job.

And all this is considered on the same level, a secondary violation, as most of the stuff Lane Kiffin did. OK.


Anonymous said...

Why is it that a reporter will NEVER find the actions of another reporter at fault? Reporters do no wrong?

Gravidy said...

I'm as big of a Georgia fan as the next guy, but blaming Chip Towers for this is insane. I scanned through the comments on that post just to confirm my suspicions that several people would blame him and advocate that he be banned from campus. Please.

Chip Towers does not answer to the NCAA. They have no authority over him. He is not subject to the NCAA or its rules, so (by definition) he cannot break them.

Is it a stupid rule? Certainly. If you want to be angry at someone, blame the NCAA. Or blame UGA for allowing the violation to occur. But don't blame Chip Towers or the AJC. He was just doing his job.

For the record, I'm no "apologist" for Towers or the AJC, so please don't go there...

AthensHomerDawg said...

...ok not going there. I do not want "5" more of this level of violations though. We all know this rule now and it should never happen again. Banned from campus=way over the top.

BCDawg97 said...

You want some real fun. Go checkout the sheep over at the Dawgvent($) all up in arms over Chip and the AJC. And Anon, Radi, Steve and Dash are certainly not defending Chip.

Like the commentary Seth.

AthensHomerDawg said...

BCDawg...AJC is kinda considered a Tech homer. They do eat their young.
just sayin'

BCDawg97 said...


We'll just have to agree to disagree on whether the AJC is a homer paper for Tech or UGA. Considering a lot of the Techies scream how much it is a homer paper for UGA. It is like the argument about what school has the worst fans. It's all perspective.