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Post Lapse in coverage not just an Atlanta problem

Wednesday July 20, 2011

We’ve had some fun over the past week noting the complete lack of reporting leading up to last week’s announcement of sanctions against Georgia Tech football and men’s basketball. For Georgia fans sick of reading overblown stories about a lineman transfer or the departure of a recruiting assistant, it was hard not to comment on the contrast.

To be fair, this is not about the AJC. Not at all. They’re not the only ones on the Tech beat. Atlanta has 75 different Kings, Kangs, Doctors, and Misters of college football hanging around, and none of them were on this. Atlanta’s sports talk stations couldn’t be bothered. And with TV sports all but outsourced now, you can forget about them breaking any kind of investigative story.

The Senator was right last week to frame this as a bigger issue than laziness at the local paper. Investigative journalism is tough, especially when you have no reason to think anything is out of the ordinary. No one at Tech resigned, there were no self-imposed sanctions announced, and the program went on as if they had done nothing wrong because that was (and remains) their posture on the allegations. About the only way to fall into a story under those circumstances is through a leak. Leaks and loose lips are hardly rare around athletic programs, but this process seems to have been as under the radar as you can get.

In contrast, LSU’s sanctions yesterday came after a well-documented, if not especially scintillating, investigation. In that case, there had been self-imposed sanctions. The staff member involved in the allegations resigned abruptly with his role in the allegations a matter of record at the time of his resignation. Those of us who really weren’t paying attention to LSU might not have been aware of an investigation and pending sanctions aside from the separate Willie Lyles saga, but the reporting had been done.

There’s an interesting case going on up in North Carolina right now. I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of Michael McAdoo’s reinstatement case, but in the context of this post the relevant angle is this:

Unlike honor court cases, state Superior Court proceedings are public, and that required McAdoo to produce the paper at the heart of the academic violations, as well as records of the honor court and NCAA proceedings. Message board commenters on Pack Pride, a sports website devoted to rival N.C. State, seized on the paper, finding several examples of plagiarism.

That’s right: some of the more damning evidence of plagiarism wasn’t found by the school’s own processes or even the local Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill media. It was rival message board denizens with a little too much time on their hands and access to the same public documents anyone else could have read. As the folks at DBR wondered,

It’s also worth asking why PackPride.com embarrassed the entire local media. This was not brain surgery, and you can’t say that it’s because of cutbacks. It’s as simple as googling and using a site like scanmyessay.com. The N&O ultimately did use it, but only after basically being embarrassed into it.

The Andrew Sullivan piece referenced by Blutarsky concluded that, “as it is, most newspaper coverage isn’t much better than a basic wire service.” At least the Atlanta media had the excuse of apparent normalcy at Tech. That wasn’t so in North Carolina where the McAdoo case was very much in the public eye and the documents in question already in the public domain. As Blutarsky observed, developments like this aren’t really worthy of celebration. More than anything, it’s the sad degredation of a resource whose value used to be much greater.

One Response to 'Lapse in coverage not just an Atlanta problem'

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  • Thomas Brown

    July 21st, 2011
    2:39 am


    “More than anything, it’s the sad degradation of a resource whose value used to be much greater.”

    As a subscriber of the AJ-C for over 50 years reading the paper every single day, I have an informed opinion that I have been told by this 1-horse town of 6 million newspaper that since I live in Atlanta that I might as well be a fan of Georgia tek, since they are the home town team.

    They do not want to hear my opinion that they reduced my rates when The Atlanta Times tried to gain foothold and raised them back after putting them out of business.

    The “sportswriters” of the AJ-C are all, every one of them, the absolute worst at picking on everything Bulldog. I could give you as many examples as you want. They go so far as 1 year reporting that Georgia tek had come in whatever it was in the NCAA golf championship. Georgia had come in ahead of Georgia tek and there was no mention of it. None.

    You yourself above sir. What is your name please ? I so love your blog, and the way you write.

    You too point out that they follow us having a guy quit the team and yes there have been too many of those in the last year haven’t there ?

    But, from 11 November 2009 until 14 July 2011 the AJ-C in the same home town as the Georgia institute of technology, cannot be bothered to have 1 word about what ends up being 4 Year PROBATION in FOOTBALL for Georgia tek, yet again – back-to-back.

    I am sorry but there is no way I believe that the entire AJ-C “sportswriters'” staff had no inkling about – for example, the mid April Savannah meeting.

    You know

    And, I know

    that the AJ-C


    this story.

    Mark Bradley, for example, had a post after the scandal was released by The NCAA to the public where he blogged about it.

    Within 24 hours (although he sometimes goes weeks between articles), he had put up a new blog talking about how bad college football is.


    The AJ-C coddles Georgia tek.


    Governors of this state have explained this in great detail how the AJ-C has a bias for Georgia tek and a bias against The University of Georgia which by the way, makes up 9 times the number of AJ-C subscribers than Georgia tek does.

    They frame the news on Georgia tek, such as Jeff Schultz making up his framework that Georgia tek was clocked unnecessarily by The NCAA.

    They will fluff over this next 4 years of NCAA PROBATION, the 3rd such in Georgia tek history, and 2nd back-to-back in football.

    Sanctimonious statements by Sean Bedford are not presented fair and balanced that what Sean Bedford is a football player who never got 1 single Division 1-A scholarship, now plays football in Spain, is best known for his chop blocks, and states that The NCAA can pry the Championship ring from his fingers and that if The NCAA thinks that his ring is worth $312 he will gladly forward it to the NCAA to keep his Tainted Ring of which his and Paul Johnson’s memories are now SHATTERED obviously. The point is that that this not what The NCAA said Sean Bedford. The NCAA said that Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett were advised by Paul Johnson what to say after Dan Radakovich told Paul Johnson when he specifically was told not to. Georgia tek is holier than thou and can say and do whatever they want to because the Georgia institute of technology is ranked by US News and World Report as the # 35 best national university.

    We’re # 35 they brag when no one brags about being # 35 at anything.

    The facts are that our own UGA Bulldogs’ football program has suffered the last 5 years adding up to 21 Losses, an average of over 4 Losses a season over these last 5 years. Instead of admitting that as a fan base, we attempt instead to paint this picture of how great we have been over 10 years of 3-9 vs teams finishing in the AP Poll Top 10 and 10 more losses over 10 years to teams who did not even finish in the AP Poll Top 25.

    It is a sad degradation of our own football program these last 5 years us at # 23 over the last entire 5 years in won/lost. Not # 11 all-time. This 2011 season promises, despite the 10 cupcakes and in a Down SEC East, more of the same.

    As for the AJ-C sir, the AJ-C too is, always has been and always will be – more of the same as well. This is not out-of-character for the AJ-C “sportswriters” instead it is exactly what they have done, do and continue to do.

    AJ-C “sportswriters” despite being in Atlanta and having this story – such as mid-April this year Savannah meetings – cover-up for Georgia tek and take special glee in reporting every gritty detail of anything negative about The University of Georgia.

    I don’t care about the newspapers in North Carolina, and there are plenty of them there and in Louisiana, where I also do not care about their newspapers there either.

    What I care about is the 1 newspaper here, the specifically the “sportswriters” of the AJ-C and their clear and concise