As I was driving home from Syracuse yesterday, I caught just a little of a sports talk show in Northeastern Ohio. Two sports media guys were interviewing wide receiver Justin Blackmon from Oklahoma State. For the most part, I do not listen to sports talk shows or follow recruiting websites, like Rivals or Sport.com. But, I was bored from listening to the music Michael W. Smith and decided that I needed some sports talk.
The radio guys began by asking questions about his visits to different pro camps. They also asked him about the Browns. From the beginning of the interview, I knew that he was not going to give them specific information. Everything he said was general and vanilla.. They were constantly trying get him to evaluate the Browns and to rank the Browns on his list of favorite teams. The interview went south in a hurry. Blackmon probably should have never granted the interview. If he was going to be so evasive, he shoulld have not done the show. Plus, the interview should have been cut short. For me, I thought it was funny, because most sports media personalities have such a high opinions of themselves and the importance of their job.
That fiasco started me thinking at high school football recruits and the media. At 63I am have the "Woody" and "Bo" mentality. Although I get tired of Bobby Knight because he thinks that is bigger than basketball, I like his frankness. To some extent, the same with Charles Barkley. Radio and internet sports media think that they are entitled to all information and pretty much entitled to ask any question.
Today I read where basketball player JD Weatherspoon is leaving the Ohio State basketball program. He quoted Coach Matta. All of what was said was not really necessary. Conversations between coach and player do not have to be made public. Of course, sports media writers love the information.
Years ago Allen Wallace of Super Prep would tell recruits, "if you do not give me the information that I need, I will not rank you high nationally." Recruiting reporters are much the same today. They believe that they are entitled to get any information from a prospect. They need the "insider information." They want to know how you feel about certain college programs and how your visits went. Tell them generally what you feel, but nothing controversial. You, simply, do not have to share everything with them, even when they guarantee it will not be printed.
My advice to the college football prospect. Be careful and be selective. Do not say anything negative about any college program, whether for print or "off the record." One - it paints a bad image for the recruit. Two - Negative "stuff" sometimes makes for big news for the recruiting reporter. Finally, many of the people who write recruiting articles are "boys" of a certain college program. For example, if you say something negative or positive about Indiana "off the record," a writer will share that with Indiana. Of course, if a recruit wants Indiana to know something, tell that writer. Most college programs have "boys."
My point - Football recruits and parents as well should really use good judgment in what news that they "put out there" to the public. Negative news sometimes stirs more interest among the football recruiting readers, but positive comments from high school football always speaks well for a young man's character. Hopefully, high character still has its reward in the world of college football recruiting.