The Professional Fanatic - Issue 5
Rumors and here-say and lies, oh my!
What an exciting time of the year for the sports reporter!
It's recruiting coverage in its most carnal form.
With little to maintain the interest of the avid American sports fan (largely made up of football and basketball fans), this time of year can be painful, drawn out and on edge.
Oh yeah, because it is this time of year that makes or breaks recruiting classes.
This is the time of year Coach Brooks, Coach Smith, and their staff's are scouring the country for talent, bringing kids on campus, attending camps, hosting camps, making impressions.
Whether the recruiting class ends in February or April, it's May, June and July when talent is identified and relationships begin to develop.
With little else to do, fans clamor at the chance to learn who the next Wildcat will be, or which recruit will spurn the Cardinals for the University of Montana Grizzlies just to take occupy three or four days fodder at the expense of the University of Louisville.
But for the professional reporter who covers the world of recruiting, it does not take long to find out how dangerous of a business it can be.
It's a business where there are inherent dangers. Those inherent dangers are 17 year old phenoms who express their right as an American to change their mind to make the right decision for them.
Unfortunately, this change of mind can ruin the reputation of a sports recruiting guru.
No matter how solid the information, from the most solid of sources, a breaking story can create a sequence of events that turns a solid commitment into goo.
And if that goo turns solid once again, but the solid is for another team? Yikes.
Of course the reporter has the option to make sure that all bases are covered, all points lead to one, but this check process could cost valuable time that leads to the story being broke by someone else.
To not break the story goes against the grain of the reporters business.
Reputation is built and manicured by being the first to break the news. He, who has the best sources, has the best business.
Playing it safe is just not an option.
So indeed, sometimes the reporter goes on exactly what he fears the most, rumors, here-say, and lies, for the sheer belief that information is fact. In most cases, it is almost impossible to discern between what is real, and what is not.
Just take note, for the next time you see even the most famous of famous reporters make a mistake in their recruiting prognostication, understand the nature of the business.
It's a tough game, this recruiting thing.