Sunday, September 30, 2007

Government Appeals Indecency Ruling to Supreme Court

Last week, it was announced that the U.S. Department of Justice plans to appeal a June 2007 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit concluding that the F.C.C.'s reasoning for the "fleeting expletives" indecency standard were arbitrary and gave the commission the opportunity to come up with better justifications. The effect of this policy on sports broadcasts was examined in an earlier blog.

The appeal comes at the time when arguments on a challenge to the fines imposed on CBS after the infamous Super Bowl halftime show were just heard in another federal appeals court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The high court must accept the appeal before the case could be heard. If not, the case will likely be relitigated on the merits by the Second Circuit.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gundy, Part II

Excellent story from Sports Illustrated's Stuart Mandel on the Mike Gundy situation. The comments were actually part of a larger story, so I'll include the relevant comments here--

"You'll have to excuse me if I don't buy that most of the people empathizing with Gundy are doing so out of genuine concern for the treatment of college athletes. If fans are really so sensitive to personal "attacks" on players, then how come I can go on any message board of any disgruntled fan base right now and find criticisms of certain players that are 100 times more scathing than anything Jenni Carlson wrote about Bobby Reid? Some of the most vicious posts are often directed at recruits -- high school kids! -- who spurn someone's school. These people are doing the same exact thing Gundy says he's so peeved about (and even worse, anonymously), and they're doing it in a public forum. How is that any less hurtful or embarrassing to the player and/or his family?

"And what about those stories we always hear about some kicker who misses the game-winning kick or a tight end who drops a wide-open touchdown and gets flooded with nasty phone calls and e-mails. That doesn't sound to me like a case of people acknowledging that the guy's "just a kid." As to Gundy's insinuation that a writer shouldn't dare question a player's attitude -- coaches themselves do so publicly all the time as motivation. Was there any outrage when Urban Meyer called his tailbacks "trash" in the spring of 2006? Of course not -- Gators fans ate it up. However, if a local columnist had suggested the same thing ... oh man, would there have been hell to pay.

"I understand the media paranoia out there, I do. College football is the only major sport where the media plays an active role in determining the outcome. However, there's a major distinction between "irresponsible writing" and "having an opinion." Ninety-five percent of the time, what fans consider to be "bias" or "unprofessionalism" is simply a writer expressing an opinion that happens to be unfavorable toward that fan's team. Jenni Carlson is a columnist. Her job is to state her opinion. And while this particular column had its share of flaws (mainly that she didn't attribute her descriptions of Reid's "problems" to a definitive source), the tone was so tame compared to others I've read in the past (Florida writers calling ex-Florida State QB Chris Rix a "bonehead" in print, for example) that I'm guessing most readers would never even have batted an eye if not for Gundy's rant. But because so many fans have so much pent up resentment toward their local columnists (because, as is their job, they've undoubtedly expressed unfavorable opinions toward their favorite team at some time), they probably found some sort of justice in watching Gundy call her out like that. Should he have "kept his mouth shut?" No, not if he genuinely feels the player was wronged. But I can think of any number of more professional ways he could have voiced his displeasure."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Calm down! There are ladies, I mean, cameras present

By now, you've probably seen the rant of Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy, who went off in a Saturday post-game news conference. Gundy exploded at Daily Oklahoman reporter Jenni Carlson, who had written a story Gundy apprently didn't care about. Good thing Gundy's Cowboys won the game or he really might have gotten mad. (Carlson responded to Gundy and particularly his charges that most of her article was fiction). None of this is really new; coaches blow up at sports media types all the time (I remember a post-game press conference where former Indiana coach Bob Knight berated a local TV sports anchor simply for being female).

But in the good ol' days much of this would have been kept secret. The coach and reporter would have made up and maybe even gone out for a drink after the game. With today's omnipresent media technology these images now flash around the world in seconds. That's all it takes for someone like Gundy to destroy a reputation or even a career.

Coaches love to use the new media, especially the Internet, because they can control the message (see how much of OSU's web page is devoted to Gundy's blowup). Most "official" school websites are nothing more than propaganda outlets and recruiting tools. But when coaches can't control the message they often get into trouble, no matter how hard they try to sweep it under the rug.

It used to be that if coaches won enough people didn't care what they said or how they acted. But Knight and Woody Hayes showed us that people do care and coaches need to control themselves. A warning to all coaches and players out there--someone is watching.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Job opening: Sport Management

The University of Tennessee (Knoxville) is looking for an associate/assistant professor for its Sports Management Program. Details of the opening are available below--

Responsibilities include--
Teach in two NASSM areas, preferably Human Resource Management and/or Finance
Conduct quality research leading to publication
Seek internal and external funding
Professional, university and community service

Earned doctorate or terminal degree in sport management or related field
Evidence of scholarly achievement or potential
University/college teaching experience
Ability to direct theses/dissertations

Students in the Sport Management program at the University of Tennessee are offered the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for a career in the sports industry. Undergraduate students earn a major in Sport Management with a minor in Business. A concentration in Sport Management is available at the Master’s level. A dual MS/MBA degree is also offered in conjunction with the College of Business Administration. Pending final approval during the 2007-08 academic year, a new doctoral specialization in Sport Management will be offered.

Review of applicants will begin October 8, 2007, and will continue until the position is filled. Interested persons should submit a letter of interest addressing their credentials as they relate to the position along with a copy of their vita, and the names and contact information (mailing address, phone number, e-mail address) of three reference persons. Send the information to:

Damon P. S. Andrew, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
The University of Tennessee
Dept. of Exercise, Sport, and Leisure Studies
1914 Andy Holt Avenue, HPER 349
Knoxville, TN 37996-2700
865-974-8891 (Office)
865-974-8981 (Fax)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Prepare now for Olympics coverage

Smog makes breathing in Beijing a difficult task. Streets are clogged with cars. Factories belch smoke into the skyline. It’s not the grand setting one would expect for an Olympics venue some believe will be the most significant event of our lifetime.

But this sooty atmosphere should not affect the athletes competing in the 2008 Olympics less than a year from now thanks to some sci-fi gimmicks and a little bureaucratic bullying. At least, that’s what the U.S. director of media services says. Apparently, the Chinese have pellets that will make the sky turn blue. And residents will be persuaded not to drive for a few weeks.

“The air quality is the worst I’ve seen it,” said Bob Condron, the U.S. director of media services. “But on August 8, you will see a clear blue sky. And traffic will be fine – even if they have to take cars off the road.”

China will be ready for the thousands of athletes and journalists who will converge on Beijing next year. Will you? Even if you do not have the budget to send reporters to China, you can put together a strong Olympics package that includes coverage of athletes from your area. Condron cited a few ways the USOC will work to help editors and reporters cover events from home. The USOC has created a website that includes sections that focus on news, games in action (such as information on world records and upsets in the making), media guides, and media credentialing.

The USOC will also offer USA Daily, a newsletter that will preview the next day’s events; USA Wrap-Up, which will include results of every U.S. athlete, including those who do not finish; and updated media guides. Newspapers can also schedule coverage of their local athletes. First, though, editors should speak with these Olympians before they depart for China. “Get a relationship with your athlete,” Condron said. “Let them know you want to speak with them. Talk to their mom and dad. Get phone numbers of their agents. And get in touch with the national governing body for that sport and with the USOC staff.”

Many athletes will write blogs, something the USOC will publish. But, Condon says, make sure you let the athlete know when the diary or blog is expected. Make sure you chart the difference in time. Beijing is 13 hours ahead of newspapers in the Midwest. You can also work with USOC media specialists to get more hometown coverage by calling 719-866-4677 or going to their website.

“Let us know what your plans are,” said Darryl Seibel, the chief communications officer for the USOC. “The earlier we know, the better we can help you.”

Monday, September 17, 2007

If a tree falls in the woods ...

... or more precisely, if they hold a championship game and no one watches, did it really happen?

The WNBA is probably asking itself that today after it scheduled the deciding game of the league championship series for a Sunday. All that was going on? 15 NFL games, Tiger Woods dominating a golf tournament, Yankees-Red Sox and the Patriots playing the Chargers in "Spygate." No official ratings have yet been released, but it's hard to imagine anyone outside the players' immediate families was watching.

By most accounts, the WNBA has seen some growth this year, including attendance. There's even talk of expansion, but the league desperately needs good TV numbers to survive, and it's not getting them on ESPN or ABC. This latest scheduling incident obviously didn't help.

Who won the game Sunday? Don't ask me ... I was watching the NFL.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blogging the NCAA Way

The NCAA has taken a lot of flak in recent years as being heavy-handed, autocratic and sometimes just plain dumb. In an effort to combat that image the NCAA has now turned to blogging in hopes of creating a more positive image among the sports media public.
The blog is at and is run by a former intern who now works full time for the NCAA as new media coordinator. Josh Centor, who started the blog in November, says it has become fairly popular with fans. He also adds, "The blog will offer our many thoughts and opinions, which for the record, may or may not be in agreement with official NCAA policy. Given that as a group, we interns aren’t too far removed from college and intercollegiate athletics, our hope is to add the voice of students and student-athletes to the debate on issues affecting the NCAA."
Centor seems like an energetic, well-meaning guy and the blog has a nice look to it. But I'm a little leery as to how much leash the NCAA will give him if he starts biting the hand that feeds him. Most of the stuff seems pretty vanilla (today's poll question: are there too many weekday college football games?) and certainly harmless. It would be more interesting to see how the NCAA reacts when, or if, Centor starts taking hard shots at his own boss.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This has nothing to do with sports media (other than the story appeared in the Dallas Morning News), but as a Texas native and UT fan I had to pass along this story. Those of you who teach at schools where football rivalries are important will understand ... and cringe.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

CFP: New online journal

The JIAA is the Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, a new online journal sponsored by the College Sports Research Institute. JIIA’s purpose is to advance thought and examine issues related to ethical, social, economic, and political issues surrounding college sport in the United States. If you're interested in submitting, the call information is as follows:

JIIA is issuing a “call for manuscripts” for original position papers, empirical studies, theoretical papers, and critical analyses of college-sport issues.

Manuscript files (Microsoft Word format only) should be submitted electronically to the Editor, Dr. Kevin L. Burke at and attached to an e-mail message stating the manuscript has not been simultaneously submitted for publication and/or published elsewhere. Manuscripts must conform to the current “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.” Manuscripts must include an abstract of approximately 150-200 words and complete references. Each manuscript must be typewritten, double-spaced throughout, use “Times New Roman” font (size 12), and utilize one inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides. Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce copyrighted information and materials. Submitting a manuscript indicates the author(s) agree to transfer of copyright to The College Sport Research Institute. Manuscripts submitted that correctly follow the submission guidelines will blind reviewed. Additional information about the Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics or the College Sport Research Institute can be found at