This is a sad tale of how media access to college players and coaches is slowly being choked off.
Billy Watkins of the Clarion-Ledger vented about his frustrations in a column about covering college football in Mississippi. In an email to me, Watkins wrote:
“I’m doing a big profile of a player at Navy. He is a senior from Mississippi. They have bent over backward getting me anything and everything I need for the story. They lined me up a 45-minute phone interview with him. They also set up an interview with the Navy head coach.
“It took me five months last year to get into the office of Ole Miss’ coach. And we’re the largest paper in the state. I’m sorry, but the subject kind of works me up.”
I know a lot of you have little sympathy for the media these days, but I gotta tell you as someone who blogs about the sport with no contact at all to the program, the beat writers make a valuable contribution to what I can glean about things. I also think the piece makes a good point about players learning the skill of dealing with the media.
Sure, there’s always a risk of something dumb being said. But that’s just as real, if not more so, on social media. Bottom line, a lot of this sounds like typical control issues. Which, as I started here, is kinda sad.