A letter from the publisher

In the furor over the story that Gator Country reported today about Utah Coach Urban Meyer, I would like to ask you to take a couple of moments to consider what we have written today.

1. We hear a lot of stories, some which we laugh off, others that we think have some merit but not enough to talk about, and then some that we check into and crosscheck with other sources.

2. We heard on Saturday from a reliable source that we've known a long time --- a source who is often considered the final say in matters that concern the Gators --- that all indicators were that it would be Meyer. We talked to the same person on Monday and the story didn't waver, and that tied in with other information that we were receiving from others who have been digging into this.

3. Tuesday morning we heard from another source, this one independent of the others, and this one with a close relationship to people on both the Utah and Gator staffs. This source told us that agreement had been reached and so we made the decision to report just that.

Here is what we reported: Gator Country has learned through sources it considers to be extremely credible and accurate that FLORIDA HAS APPARENTLY REACHED AN AGREEMENT with Utah's Urban Meyer to succeed Zook as its football coach.

We reported that our SOURCES tell us this and that there is an APPARENT agreement. We know who the people are who gave us this information. These are not irresponsible people who just make things up out of the clear blue, but instead they are people whom we know and trust. When we hear the same story from sources that we trust who are not in contact with each other, and what they are telling us is in confirmation of things we have been hearing from still others, then we go with it but we make it a point that we report that this is what our sources are telling us.

It is not our job to report every rumor that comes down the pike, but when we keep hearing the same thing and it gets confirmed by people whom we trust, we report it and we will continue to report.

On a personal note, I wanted to make it clear that we're not engaging in rumor mongering. You'd be surprised at the amount of information we screen out and refuse to publish. If we put out there all that we hear all the time, we'd be here forever churning out a perpetual rumor mill... In this case, we waited until a number of sources said the same thing then we said this is what our sources are hearing and we ran with it. A year ago we asked you, our subscribers, whether you wanted us to sit on information like this until it was officially announced and the vast majority of you demanded that we give you what we hear that's credible and that's what we're doing.

We've been pretty cautious about reporting things like this ever since we got burned several years ago when we announced that Coach Stoops would be coming to Florida and that it was a "done deal" at the time. Ironically, in that situation, the sources were as good as it got - they were assistants on Coach Spurrier's staff and on top of that recruits informed us that they had been told by the staff that Coach Stoops would be their new coach. That's a fact, but as we all know, deals can and do go south from time to time as evident in this case.

Of course, it's impossible for anyone to be right 100% of the time, no matter how impeccable their sources may be, so we could very well be wrong again and have egg on our collective faces, but that's the reality of reporting the news. Heck, the mainstream media gets it wrong at times - remember the day the Gainesville Sun loudly proclaimed on their front page that Spurrier was leaving Florida to coach the Tampa Bay Bucs?

If you've been with us since our inception in 1996, you'll find that we've been right much more often than not and that our track record has been very good in bringing you scoops that were validated down the road. I'll be the first to admit that we're more aggressive than most in breaking news out, but it's only because we're fulfilling our duty to our subscribers. If we're ever wrong, I'll be the first to admit that as well and move on.

At any rate, I just wanted to let you know where we stand. We're getting an incredible amount of heat from all sides on this but we're sticking by our story unless our sources retract their information and when/if they do, you'll be the first to know.

Thanks for supporting us, and you know what they say - don't kill the messenger!

Raymond Hines III

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