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About the Joe Davis Recruiting Story

Hello, everyone. This is Eric Prisbell. I had not chimed in yet on the Joe Davis recruiting story, but because I was asked about it Thursday on a West Coast radio station in Portland, Ore., and on a local radio station this morning, I wanted to say a few words.

I really have enjoyed the debate that has ensued on various blogs and message boards. I think it’s healthy. And I enjoy and welcome the criticism and am thankful for any praise. I have written many stories like this before and will write many more in the future. There is probably no topic I more enjoy talking about and exploring, and I think that will remain the case until AAU folds or newspapers stop printing (no jokes with that one please).

Not every story has to expose major violations. I’ve done that before. But I think I can speak for my colleague Steve Yanda when I say we really enjoy providing a window through which readers can see what we see in July: a complex and ever-changing recruiting landscape that is littered with hard-to-define characters and creative schemes. What makes it even more fascinating is that there is little or no oversight, and the NCAA almost has to throw its hands in the air about the whole thing. And after attending these camps for some 13 years now, I personally felt it may have reached a new low this summer. Which isn’t such a bad thing if you enjoy writing stories about these topics. The indefatigable Yanda and I thoroughly enjoyed covering the summer circuit this year, and in the coming weeks and months we look forward to giving readers more of a sense of what we encountered.

I have received a few e-mails saying I must be bothered by any criticism. Quite the contrary. For those who know me, there is nothing I enjoy more in this profession. I read it all, and also appreciate it, as well. Again, the debate is healthy. And feel free to e-mail me anytime at prisbelle@washpost.com.

By Eric Prisbell  |  August 21, 2009; 9:36 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Eric,

You obviously like negative reporting, and will continue. That's a legitimate branch of journalism. Look at Maureen Dowd of the NYT, who is among the very best. You can indeed make a career out of it.

What concerns me is innuendo without facts. In your latest story, you hinted about impropriety, but gave no facts about what was in bounds and out of bounds. Letting a recruit's adult supervisor help run a practice is a case in point. Is it within rules? Or not? And what if the Terps paid him? Is that the implication? Did they or not? And if they did, is that out of bounds? We draw the inferences, we see the implications, but what are the facts?

And I won't get started on Under Armour and any hints of shady dealings with the basketball program--right in the heat of recruiting season. But no facts were ever offered in the article or follow-up discussions. Gary runs one of America's cleanest programs, but you would never guess that reading your articles.

Some negative story lines for you: why is GW's program dropping off? Why doesn't Georgetown win more with their 4 and 5 star recruits? Is it the slow-down offense that is hurting them? But of course, as soon as you do your story, they will have a great year!

Posted by: EdDC | August 21, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Eric, in the future it would be wise to include links when referencing old stories or articles. People that stumble across your posting for the first time would have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

Posted by: MeatSweats | August 21, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"Not every story has to expose major violations. I’ve done that before. "

Which major violations did you uncover exactly?

I cannot think of one. That is unless you mean Lance Stephenson visiting UA headquarters - which wasn't any violation.

Posted by: kozora | August 21, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Eric, I actually liked the piece you did on recruiting last year. It was a lot more interesting than your average sports section story and as somebody who doesn't really follow recruiting that closely, I though it was eye-opening. However, you left some unanswered questions. You went 9/10th of the way in implicating UConn on violations w/ Rudy Gay yet you seemed to back off. Also, as Korza asks, specifically what violations did you expose? Other than that, keep it up. It's seems rare for a sports section to generate intense debate so good job.

Posted by: cjterps98 | August 21, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I think all of us respect Eric as a columnist/blogger. My problem with TerpInsider is too often it is misguided.

Steinberg (DCSportsBog), has repeatedly said that clicks (blog visits) are tracked and used as a unit of measurement within the WaPo newsroom.

Add to this Eric stating "I have received a few e-mails saying I must be bothered by any criticism. Quite the contrary. For those who know me, there is nothing I enjoy more in this profession," and it seems some storylines are simply being printed/posted to obtain a reaction out of the readers.

This is fine in most instances but when you work for a major metropolitan newspaper/website that is cited by numerous other news sources, it can become irresponsible at times. It's not simply a Eric/Yanda problem or a WaPo problem, it's a problem across all journalistic mediums. Too often stories are reported with no basis, concrete facts, justifications or explanation. A few examples were presented by Ed above. Look at how some news sources ran with the blatantly false Rizzo article by Edes (Yahoo Sports).

The point is, I like Eric's writing and I like being updated on the Terps, but I dislike, what I view as, a newsroom environment rewarding website visits regardless of a storylines validity or relevance.

If the job is to get as many hits on TerpsInsider as possible then criticizing Gary and the program is sure to illicit a response and they are doing their jobs. It's a shame its come to that.

Posted by: fushezzi | August 21, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Joe Davis is a SAD and BAD joke!! What in the world does he and others like him bring to the table in support of young men
(where are the high school coaches and families?!?!). It will indeed be a sad day if Joe Davis ever sets foot on the U. of MD campus! Thanks for your continued good work.

Posted by: rrlyon131 | August 21, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Eric - Are there any indications at all that Joe Davis got anything out of Parker's signing?

Posted by: ICBomber | August 21, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone find it interesting that Eric has to continually defend his work? Perhaps because it's really not good. His "investigative" work is filled with inferences, and lacking in facts and notable references. Prisbell defended his pieces on Maryland by claiming he's truly an investigative reporter, yet the only products I've read is the Lance Stevenson article that didn't materialize to anything (Stevenson was actually invited by a different associate of UA who had no ties to Maryland) and a piece of a nobody kid that isn't doing anything other than asking for expenses. then we have Eric back to blogging on Terps insider when he claimed that he wasn't assigned to do Maryland reporting. It's laughable that this was the product of the promised months of researching on recruiting. this article didn't tell the reader anything and was hardly interesting from any standpoint. I grew up with the Post in the 80's and 90's, we've had some great writers through the years, those that were so well respected that they moved on to even bigger things. I cannot believe this generation is subjected to the writings of Yanda, wise and Prisbell.

Posted by: minhle1 | August 21, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

BTW, what debate is taking place. I'm pretty sure anyone interested in recruiting or the local programs are thinking, what the heck was that? It's not like Prisbell raised the level of discourse with some interesting uncovering of the world of recruiting. the onyl debate I've read was whether Eric has it out for Maryland, or whether he actually spent 5 months researching that junk of an article. the consensus is that he cannot put anything together compelling enought to warrant the reader's attention, and resorts to flammatory pieces to incite this target audience.

Posted by: minhle1 | August 21, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe this generation is subjected to the writings of Yanda, wise and Prisbell.

Posted by: minhle1 | August 21, 2009 1:21 PM

Wise?? You can't be serious.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 21, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I understand the criticism of Prisbell/yanda regarding the recruiting articles...but as far as an overall body of work, there's no way you can make a legitimate case that Eric has an anti-MD agenda. If anything, I think he secretly pulls for the team to win.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 21, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I never said Wise is a bad writer, but he definitely writes stuff to get attention. His coverage of the Caps playoff revealed he had no clue and that he was fishing with bait. I don't think Wise has anything on Knott, Loverro or past writers...and Prisbell is not even in the same ballpark as Stevens. And other than the sports writers, I think the Times is a hack paper.

Seriously, Prisbell claimed that he isn't a Md reporter and was instead an investigative reporter. What?

Posted by: minhle1 | August 21, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, Prisbell claimed that he isn't a Md reporter and was instead an investigative reporter. What?

Posted by: minhle1 | August 21, 2009 4:11 PM

I think what he means is he is no longer the Terps beat reporter, the title he held since 04. Now Yanda is the Terps beat reporter and Prisbell assists with Terps coverage but also does a lot of national stuff.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 21, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I understand the criticism of Prisbell/yanda regarding the recruiting articles...but as far as an overall body of work, there's no way you can make a legitimate case that Eric has an anti-MD agenda. If anything, I think he secretly pulls for the team to win.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 21, 2009 2:43 PM

Barno,

I think you are right, Eric does not have an anti-Terp bias. What many of us are concerned about are the links between potential improprieties and the Terps when no evidence is reported. Reputations are important. Gary has built his honestly over the years. If Gary's reputation needs to be taken down a few notches by the Post, so be it. But that has to be deserved. It cannot be hinted at, without evidence or facts. The shoe company pseudo-scandal is a case in point. No evidence was offered of shady deals. None. Just hints. But if someone hints that your reputation is in question, then people (and potential recruits) will thinK it is in question. All of this is different than bias.

Posted by: EdDC | August 21, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Agree on Prisbell not having a bias against Maryland. That said, he has shown fairly poor skills in basic logic which have been pointed out repeatedly by others on this board. Ok, some of the poorest skills. In talking to other ACC grads in the area, he has repeatedly shown a lack of common sense and no analytical ability. Additionally, he only presents partial data that only supports his statements - like a dumb exec trying to get support for a bad idea.

Posted by: HughGRection | August 24, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"Not every story has to expose major violations. I’ve done that before."

Must have been tough to find violations against Fresno State during the Tark era. Besides the negative innuendo that you love to write about without accusations that never go any where,what other violations have you exposed?

Posted by: Chief2 | August 24, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

"There's no way you can make a legitimate case that Eric has an anti-MD agenda. If anything, I think he secretly pulls for the team to win."

That would be a big secret, alright!

I do have a serious question: Is it common in other cities for the college beat reporter to have an adversarial relationship with the programs he covers? Not talking about the columnists, but the beat reporters who deliver day to day news, breakdown upcoming games, etc.

I don't like that my hometown paper has allowed UMD's beat reporter(s) to go in a direction that seems to diminish access and the overall quality of UMD coverage. Look at the bland, flavorless coverage of Maryland's amazing turnaround after last year's expose on MD recruiting. One of the great Cinderalla stories of mens hoops, and every article read like an AP piece.

Eric, if you're an investigative journalist so be it. Blow the lid off AAU or whatever it is you keep promising to do. My beef is just keep it away from MD beat reporting, and maybe spread it around a bit. I hear there's this Calipari guy who might have cut a few corners.


Posted by: chrisoarr | August 25, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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