God doesn't like us

Back in the 60s and 70s, the old saying went: It's not news until Walter Cronkite reports it. Cronkite himself never took to that title, because he saw himself as just a part of the big picture. Well, there's some that might think that they ARE the big picture and woe betide those that actually get the jump on them. A recent article ESPN the magazine might be a response to that and the recruiting services took center stage.

Because of Lawrence Phillips, it's easy to say that the entire Nebraska program is malicious, ignorant and forever will they be a program bent on success, utilizing thugs and a win at all costs attitude.

All Florida State players are corrupt, pay off officers and it's apparent that the entire program has a "GOD" complex.

Michigan pays everyone, Alabama pays everyone and Tennessee doesn't have a single athlete on campus that isn't getting improper aid from tutors.

Based on allegations that each of the programs above have faced over the years, the stereotypes have been flung about as to each institution's apparent lack of discipline.

They are labeled by opposing fans, of course, citing the fact that one player or even a few obviously represent the moral and ethical stance of each of these institutions.

It's stupid, yes. It's narrow-minded thinking, but expected of sports fans, whose hypocrisy comes with the territory.

Well, hypocrisy finds itself a welcome home to not just an institution within sports, but the supposed institution of ALL sports; ESPN.

The recent article with Scout.com's number one ranked player in the country Myron Rolle, was ultimately very unflattering to those of us that work for the recruiting services.

The article would seem to allege various things, anywhere from coercion, attempting to influence opinion and/or basically being a conduit from a supposed recruiting reporter to the coaches of the team they cover.

Oh, and let's not forget that while ESPN is finding a way to lambaste all of the recruiting services, they are launching one of their own.


Coincidence? Yeah, right.

I'm not going to get into all that was implied as it coincides with the average fan's normal tunnel vision. And when you throw in the fact that ESPN is now launching some sort of recruiting service of its own, well, if you take them seriously, that's your problem, not theirs.

The problem with ESPN is the same problem with any entity that has grown so large that it seems to have forgotten where it came from.

You know how it is. How many of you say it of managers or supervisors in your business that this person that used to understand how things in the "real" world worked, because they worked there themselves, have apparently, with promotion have lost touch with the ins and outs of what makes everything go?

ESPN lost touch a long time ago, the worldwide leader in sports also the worldwide leader in promoting what they do, finding ways to defame what you do, even if it's the exact same thing.

It's not a scoop unless it's an ESPN scoop. It's not a story until it is reported on by one of the uber-anchors on Sportscenter. It's their world and we are all just trying to get along, scraping up what we can off the scraps from Disney's table.

Then, there are the recruiting services.

I'm not sure what ESPN people are so mad at that it would inspire this story with an obviously glaring impeachment of us within this network or those over at Rivals. And they even took time to take shots at Tom Lemming, the same person with whom they were working hand-in-hand, not even two years ago.


No, it's not some idealistic writer, going on about how illiterate we all are, along with being the main corrupting influence on the high school athlete of today. In my estimation, it's because they are trying to play catch up and I am sure they have some motto stapled up on some board at their headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, that they don't play catch up to anyone.

They hung onto the coat tails of Tom Lemming, assuming that perhaps these recruiting networks were a fad. While they were interesting and very specific in their clientele, this wasn't something that could unseat the mighty Lemming, especially a Lemming with the clout of the biggest four letters in sports behind him.

They did catch up, though, and passed Lemming. The combines, up-to-the-minute reports, accurate information on nearly every recruit and best of all, every single team had a voice.

In the late-80s and early 90s, fans had to buy bi-annual or annual magazines or call the 1-900 numbers of analysts like Lemming, Emfinger and so on; wondering if they would say a thing about their team and with which recruits they had a shot. Now, it's someone that does exactly the same thing that they did, without the 900 number and it's all specifically pertaining to THEIR team.

I know firsthand what it's like to be one guy battling a corporation, so when those like Lemming are trying to fight, even with the backing of ESPN, you know they are going to lose.

They did and early on and even recently, they have acknowledged such, having to utilize many of those analysts from many of those services that are now considered so vile.

ESPN having to rely on someone else?

That's almost sacrilegious.

They aren't anymore, SCOUTS.INC coming out and I am sure that ESPN will promote this as the answer to all the indecency of the world, probably promoting that their service will be more accurate, more up-to-date and will probably help you lose five inches off of your waist in only four days.

Let's not stop there.

Let's throw an article out in the main ESPN mouthpiece to the print-reading world, ESPN the Magazine.

What better way to promote your product than to chide everyone else's and say that it's THEM that's the problem, that THEY are all that's bad about college football and even get some gutless ACC coach, who doesn't have the moxie to identify himself, to come out and echo everything you are promoting.

Oh, I'm sorry, not promoting……………reporting.

You don't think there was a purpose for this article? You think that this was some spontaneously written piece, meant only to inform and enlighten, along with revealing the hideousness that the recruiting services have become?

Did Myron Rolle call ESPN himself and say that he was mad as hell and wasn't going to take it anymore?

To all of the above, I'd say not likely and Rolle himself has said since that article went public that he was surprised, a little mad, not anticipating that ESPN was going to take that kind of direction.

It would appear that ESPN, who seems to be saying that we are using these kids isn't bad at using them as well.

Back to what we were talking about, though, when ESPN's product comes out, it will either be just like ours or it won't be any good at all. Why? Because, there is no other way to compete.

You think that ESPN is going to be able to call kids we can't? You think that ESPN is going to be any more thorough? You think ESPN can offer you better analysis on the who, what, when, where and why?

If the answer to those questions is yes, ask yourself then, where in the heck have they been?

They dropped the ball. That's all you need to say. When Jim Heckman founded the original Rivals, ESPN probably figured it was a passing fancy and that there wouldn't be enough support, especially on this new-fangled thing called the internet.

It would never take off.

It took off all right, enough so that Rivals could be reborn and Heckman would spawn his refined product; TheInsiders, later to be known as Scout.com.

Now, Scout.com is the largest independent sports network on the internet, boasting partnerships with Yahoo.com, CBSSportsline, Sports Illustrated and dare I say it; the anti-ESPN; FoxSports.com.

All great organizations that had the insight ESPN is now only starting to grasp.

If two politicians are going at it in a race for a seat on Congress or even the P residency itself, if their records are similar, what do you more than often not see?

Negative campaigning

If you can't beat them with your record, you do whatever you can to tarnish theirs and I think that's a little, maybe a lot of what this article is saying to me.

It's not reporting news, because aren't they the ones that are saying that we make too much news of these recruits as it is? It's not some idealistic sermonizing, because if there's one entity that has no right to chide anyone else about over exposing a topic or athlete, it's definitely ESPN.

So, what is it? It's ESPN being ESPN, because they are ESPN.

What's good for you is fine as long as it's not better than them.

Right now, the recruiting services are and by a ways.

It's one niche' in sports that ESPN hasn't infiltrated and conquered, so it's probably on their latest "to do" list. And this could be an indication of how they start.

Yes, there's a lot wrong about some people within recruiting services and how they do things, but this isn't about what's wrong with us, rather what's wrong with ESPN.

What's wrong is that they apparently didn't see all of this coming. What's wrong is that they don't have one section of one market within sports in America covered from head-to-toe. What's wrong is that THEY were wrong and instead of just owning up and trying to compete the right way, this, I believe is their only way of attempting to compete.

Say what you want for us, but if there's hypocrisy, I think we've seen it at its best.

But, at least they know where to put a comma.

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