Clueless

Everyone has the story now, at least some version of it. Alabama has offered West Virginia Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez the job of Crimson Tide head football coach. All of those reporting this news have sources -- perhaps the same source. I don't have a source.

It's not that I don't know just about everyone in the Alabama athletics department. I do. I consider Athletics Director Mal Moore a good friend, but I wouldn't expect him to share one morsel of this story with me until it reaches conclusion.

Moore is a one-man search committee, which makes it infinitely easier to prevent leaks than it would be with a committee of more than one.

Moore may have shared information with others. In fact, he probably has kept University President Dr. Robert Witt up to date on the search for a man who is going to be paid a couple of million dollars a year as an employee of The University of Alabama. The chancellor could be in the loop and maybe some members of the Board of Trustees. (Paul Bryant, Jr. is probably joshing me when he asks me what I've heard.)

Documents may have been prepared by what The University calls the "Office of Counsel," and which I refer to as the "Crack Legal Team." You can bet your booty no one in that office is going to be my source. And if someone from that office told me something, I'd be reluctant to consider it correct.

Mal's secretary and perhaps one or two in his inner circle of associate and assistant athletics directors may know something. One of those with sources reported that the message was hand-delivered to Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia. That courier may have an idea about something going on.

I don't think Mal Moore is the source of any newspaper reporter. Those writers probably got their information elsewhere, which doesn't mean it's wrong. But it doesn't come with any guarantee, either.

I don't think any radio talk show host or television news reader would develop a source, but it is possible someone would call one of them so the two could share what they know.

I don't have a little birdie. I don't know where they empty the office trash so that I could paw through it. I don't have a cousin-in-law working in the Quick Mart where Moore buys Fritos and bares his soul on the coaching search at the check-out counter.

Trying to find sources can be difficult. I remember in one of the recent revelations of academic malfeasance at Auburn, one of the beat writers covering Auburn athletics said the New York Times had to rush to print with its story before the Auburn beat writers discovered the same sources and broke the story.

I am not without sources because I don't try. I ask everyone to tell me what he or she knows. Everyone. And without fail they have the audacity to look me right in the eye and say, "I don't know anything." Damn them, I say.

I thought I had a good source in Morgantown, West Virginia. He said, "I'm working on it." That won't cut it, Bubba. The story is out here. Sources here are quicker than they are in West Virginia, it appears.

I guess I could write, "Sources who insisted on remaining anonymous said today..." and then just fill in what I believe.

I wouldn't be the first reporter to be steered wrong by "a source."


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