About the Team Web Site Story
Hello, everyone. This is Eric Prisbell. I wanted to share some brief thoughts about the story I wrote with Steve Yanda on Web site proprietors getting involved in the recruitment of college basketball prospects. This was a story I had wanted to do in 2006, but I got sidetracked on stories about Renardo Sidney, then a ninth-grader, and the emerging nonprofit foundation scheme. I first became interested in the subject several years ago at ABCD Camp in New Jersey, where I witnessed a “reporter” from an SEC team Web site relaying messages back and forth from college coach to prospect. So Steve and I decided to do this story, and the Joe Davis/small-time middleman story, on the side while we pursued other weightier stories this summer and fall.
First, I want to thank everyone who has e-mailed and everyone who cooperated with us on the story. The reaction to the Web site story has been overwhelmingly positive. And I appreciate the fact that so many enthusiasts of college sports share my feeling that this is an issue worthy of examination. I can’t tell you how many e-mails and calls I received from people involved in college sports who believe that some fans cross the line and that it reflects poorly on the majority of reporters from team Web sites who do an outstanding job. And there are many who do a great job.
Leaving the reporting aside for a second, I have long found the message board portion of fan sites quite amusing. A Maryland message board has individuals -- often just hissing mad --- posting hearsay and rampant speculation under creative names, anything like Terpsettes, GaGaForGary, UncleWesForPrez, PapaDontPreachTerp, BooBooTerp, whatever the moniker of the day could be. While one college coach described these message boards as a cesspool, I take a different approach. I have always gotten a kick out of them, and the sincere passion and intense debate among fans are reasons why I love covering college sports so much. But what is less amusing, and actually quite distasteful, is when fans falsely post under names of administrators, etc., and make vulgar or derogatory comments, as has occurred at a few sites.
I appreciate the comments on various sites across the country regarding this story, particularly the one-page response on the Kentucky fan site TrueBlueKentucky.com. The response by Marc Maggard is fair, and I also believe that the actions by some at Kentucky probably deserve further examination. And, of course, anyone wishing to offer feedback on this story, I encourage you to e-mail me at email@example.com. I will respond to every e-mail, and I welcome and appreciate all of them. Thanks a lot. And thank you for reading.
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