College Athletes and “The Media”

December07/ 2015

This is an intriguing article about the trend of limiting “media access” to college athletes.  As always…. “college athletes” is a euphemism for “Black athletes in Football and Basketball”.Sports Media

College SIDs officers are increasingly limiting / totally denying access to their athletes by “legitimate” reporters for print, electronic, and on-line media.   There is no standard reason given as to “why”…. but the trend is more the norm than the exception.

NOTE:  I have no clue what Triangle-area schools’ policies are on this…..

I certainly have “issues with the media” and….. I am neither “legitimate” nor interested in interviewing “college athletes” but I am interested in this trend.

If “legitimate media” are not the vehicle via which the athlete and the public communicate…. then “social media” becomes the vehicle of choice.

“College athletes” pecking away on Twitter and Facebook has about as predictable an eventual outcome as leaving a 3 y/o alone with a open can of paint…. two puppies…. and a hand grenade with a very loose pin.

Someone is gonna have a real mess to clean up for sure.



The Trend to Limit Media Access To College Athletes

During my early days as the new national college football writer for the Chicago Tribune, I went to Florida State to do a story on Deion Sanders in 1988. He was the big star for the Seminoles, already showing the memorable antics that complemented his incredible talent.

I was invited to have lunch with Sanders at the team’s training table. Nobody from the sports information department sat in on our interview. It was just me and “Neon” Deion.

I recall a memorable moment. While making small talk, and being more than a bit naïve, I asked, “How’s school going?”

Keep in mind, Sanders was a senior bound for the NFL and he already had a big-money contract to play baseball for the Yankees. School wasn’t exactly high on his agenda.

A few of his teammates overheard the question and began ribbing him. “Yes, Deion, tell us about your classes…”

“Oh, school’s great, just great,” said Sanders while losing the battle to keep a straight face.

Florida subsequently passed a law known as the “Deion Sanders rule” that would prohibit football players at state universities from playing in postseason games if they did not successfully complete the previous semester. Call it Sanders’ contribution to higher education.

Anyway, the point of the story is to show the media access to the top stars that existed in college football back then. Flash forward to 2015: With highly rare exceptions, a similar lunch isn’t taking place in today’s media environment.

Access, or a lack thereof, continues to be a major problem for college football reporters. And that goes for the reporters from the biggest outlets in the business.



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