Greensboro News & Record writer Rob Daniels is not a big fan of recruiting coverage.
"In this culture of hastened decisions and information at the speed of broadband Internet connections, the public hungers for recruiting dope the way Pavarotti craves linguini at the buffet table," Daniels writes.
Daniels uses the Lodrick and Rodrick Stewart commitment story from earlier this month as an example. The rising juniors from Seattle, misunderstanding their situation, told the Charlotte Observer that they had been offered a scholarship by Carolina and accepted. The Observer ran the story, which quickly spread across the nation via wire services.
The next morning, I spoke with the Stewarts to clarify the situation (The Stewart Twins -- NOT Committed to UNC) and they informed me that they in fact weren't yet committed to Carolina, and we ran the refuting report.
Daniels argues that the story is an example of irresponsible journalism because of a rush to break the latest recruiting scoop.
Perhaps, but I'd argue that it's a case of the print media's inexperience at covering recruiting. Newspaper reporters used to turn to the famed recruiting analysts for the latest news and gossip on the recruiting trail, but with the skyrocketing interest in recruiting among fans and readers (thanks, in part, to web sites such as this one), those reporters now feel the need to increase their recruiting coverage.
Hence, a reporter attends a high school event, does a quick interview and reports what he's told. If he had more experience in recruiting coverage, he'd know that there was more to the story than just the words of 16-year-olds. (But before becoming too critical of the Observer writer, it's important to remember that while he quoted the Stewarts saying they committed, he also cited sources in the story that said the Stewarts were in fact not committed yet -- so, in fact, he did a fine job as a reporter in presenting information, but it was misinterpreated by others.)
Anyway, back to Daniels, who finishes his article with his other main point.
". . . only three of those prospects can sign on Doherty's dotted line because the Heels already have two commitments from the rising senior class," Daniels writes. "And after that, who knows? We hate to break it to you, but there's no news to break."
No news to break? The fact that two of the nation's top rising juniors, who are identical twins, both want to go to North Carolina isn't news?
In reality, Daniels is upset because the job of a beat writer is no longer just reporting on the college basketball season. Recruiting has entered the arena and he must cover it - thus making his job more time consuming.
We don't blame Daniels. After all, no one wants extra work and responsibility at their job, but his upset has been misdirected. It's not the fault of the Internet medium for reporting recruiting news -- newsworthy information that readers want to read.