Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee brought up football again, which is always fun. This time he referenced SI’s piece on Jim Tressel and the Sporting News’ piece on Urban Meyer. He dismissed both as “bad journalism.”
“‘Sporting News,’ ‘Sports Illustrated,’ a lot of them I don’t read. It’s bad journalism. And, so, why buy them?”
“You know, (OSU) is such a high-profile job, everyone’s going to nip at him,” Gee said. “Not having fully read the story, but having read portions of it, it is what it is. I would hope that at our institution we teach a higher quality of journalism.”
Attacking the pieces as “bad journalism” is mistaken. Gee implies Dohrmann and Hayes used poor professional ethics which, by all accounts, has not been the case. Anonymous sourcing is not ideal, but a necessary evil in investigative sports journalism. Competitive sports is not a field welcoming of revelations and whistle blowers. The allegations have not been “proven wrong.” Neither Sports Illustrated nor the Sporting News have retracted anything.
Ohio State was not absolved by the NCAA but left off because the NCAA has no subpoena power. Dohrmann’s source who went off the record for SI refused to go on the record for the NCAA. Terrelle Pryor left Ohio State and, thus, avoided any obligation to cooperate with the NCAA investigation. Urban Meyer acknowledged and defended giving great players preferential treatment.
What Gee could question is either piece’s ultimate value. Both articles, though significant, were oversold for impact. Both could be seen as collections of evidence to support a premise, rather than premises stemming from the collected evidence.
Gee also said this about Meyer, which, considering his track record with Jim Tressel, is quite amusing.
“One doesn’t hire a coach without talking with all the right people,” he said. “One doesn’t hire a coach without understanding exactly what his values are.”