Monday, March 5, 2012

Mixed Reaction to Metro Article

This article in the Metro is making the rounds in the BC blogosphere today.  While the article brings up some good points, particularly with respect to the football program, BC fans should be careful not to confuse any criticism of the athletic department with well thought out, articulate criticism that provides helpful analysis for where BC should go from here.  My concerns about the direction of the football program are well-documented, but that being said, here are some of my issues with the Metro article.

  1. Understand that the person who wrote this article does not care about BC athletics.  There are two basic things that journalists who write for publications like the Metro try to do; find a few interesting stories that people will want to read/care about and fill up the rest of the space.  I'm pretty sure that the Metro approached this story thinking that it would be an interesting piece that would bring a different perspective to BC sports.  Someone then said "okay, we're going to pencil this in for the March 4th edition, that's your deadline."  So what we end up with is a journalist writing a features piece, that isn't time-sensitive with a hard deadline that he can't fully meet.  Reading the end of the article, it sounds like Burke waited until Wednesday to request a sit-down with GDF to get his "side of the story."  That's simply not good reporting.  No serious journalist expects to be able to call an ACC athletic director and have a sit-down with him arranged for within the next day or two.  Additionally, no one in their right mind would advise GDF to take a phone interview for this article so that this journalist could cherry-pick a few quotes that seem to point to his conclusion that GDF is a poor manager, controlling, and out of touch.  
  2. A major part of this article is BC's response to Lively's letter, which I predicted at the time would hurt more than it would help.  Burke essentially took BC's response and portrayed it as an over-reaction, typical of a controlling atmosphere.  I don't think Lively's letter is evidence that the athletic department is dysfunctional, in part because many of the allegations do not seem credible.  Again, I think BC handled the response poorly.  Still, that's no indictment on the Athletic Department as a whole.  Then we have this "group" calling the BC situation "toxic;" a group which essentially consists of an unnamed former athletic department official, Lively, Greg Barber, and Bill Stephanos.  So basically if you throw out the anonymous source, you're left with a group of three people.  Not exactly indicative of a silent majority...
  3. Finally, my biggest argument with this article is that it presents the downturn in the football and basketball programs as being caused by the same reason, when they are in fact quite different.  I don't know many serious BC fans that think we would be better off with Al Skinner as head coach.  BC made the decision to move on from Skinner.  This decision has been widely praised by serious fans. This, along with the fact that we are living with the effects of Skinner's non-recruiting, have meant the last two seasons have been sub-par.  The last seasons under Skinner were disappointing for entirely different reasons.  The article suggests that BC Basketball has been in a steady decline since 2007 and that the reasons for it have remained constant.  It's dishonest insofar as it does not disclose some crucial reasons for the recent lack of success on the hardwood - namely rebuilding under a new head coach.
I expect that this post will probably upset a lot of our regular readers.  As I've said time and time again, I completely agree that it's time for Spaz to go, and I am concerned with the fact that he was not fired after last year.  But just because we're upset at the athletic department does not mean that we should be celebrating ill-informed efforts of the press to weigh in on the situation.

My argument with the Boston press is the same as it has always been; they understand very little about Boston College athletics and it shows when they try to weigh in on BC sports.  If BC fans feel that a change is needed at the top of the athletic department, they are better served with articles that are well-written and thoroughly-researched.

1 comment:

  1. Good article. what are your thoughts on the current situation with the AD? Do you think it is time for GDF to move away from the heights?


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