Tony Barnhart wrings his hands over the possibility that college football coaches might have to behave less boorishly in the offseason.
College football coaches are boring enough during the season. But it used to be that we could get them to take off the blinders and loosen up for a few weeks in May and June. Is college football going to become like the NFL (No Fun League) because the coaches just get tired of every word being dissected and, in some cases, being blown way out of proportion? I hate that phrase because “proportion” is in the eye of the beholder but it seems to apply here.
First of all, most college football coaches are boring year ’round. That’s one reason why guys like Spurrier and Leach get so much media attention to begin with. Second, it’s not in the job description for them to entertain the media. Third, as much as coaches like Spurrier and Meyer claim they’re going to change how they act, I’ll believe it when I see it. Old habits tend to die hard.
And fourth, where Barnhart seeks to cast blame really pisses me off. He finds it’s time to dust off the sportswriter’s favorite scapegoat, the unbathed basement dweller.
… I guess I have to remember that in the blogosphere little nuggets grow into big boulders if enough people chatter about them. But those of us in the business learned a long time ago that the stuff said at booster meetings has to be taken with a grain of salt. What coaches say in front of reporters is one thing. What they say in front of the booster clubs is another. In my opinion, you just can’t take it that seriously.
Apparently people do.
Am I missing something here?
Quite a few things, since you ask. But let’s just start with the basic premise. For the most part, these “little nuggets” make it out into the square of public discourse because the media, of which Mr. Barnhart is a prominent member, reports them.
For example, I haven’t sat in a single Vol booster meeting. Everything I’ve posted about Lane Kiffin has come from media reports. Lots and lots of media reports. If this stuff is as irrelevant as Barnhart insists it is, then why the barrage of info from he and his peers?
And let’s not forget the gradual blurring we’ve seen over the past year or so of bloggers becoming Internet journalists (like EDSBS’ Orson Swindle morphing into TSN’s Spencer Hall) and traditional journalists, like so many of Barnhart’s peers at the AJ-C, becoming bloggers. Be careful where you point; that guy at the next desk in the newsroom (maybe it’s a virtual newsroom these days) may be the target as much as me.
This crap was tiresome when Stewart Mandel was trotting it out a couple of years ago. It’s not wearing well with age.
These coaches are grown men. They’re paid a lot of money for what they do. If some of them decide that they don’t like their comments held up in a mirror for anyone with a computer to see, that’s their damned business. Deal with it.
And don’t wag your finger at bloggers for expanding on what the media provides them. I appreciate the efforts made to gather the information, but once the data is out there, it’s out there, free to be poked and prodded. If you don’t want us writing about what you and your cohorts dig up, keep it to yourselves.
If you can.