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When a Story's Not a Story

It's been a whirlwind recently in my personal life, which has led to me not really doing all the reading I should do if I'm going to, you know, run a blog about Michigan football.  So I'm catching up on headlines when I ran across this gem:

Report:  OSU leads Big Ten in Reported Recruiting Violations



Hell.  Yes. 

When you can't beat somebody on the field, you resort to taking pleasure in inane recruiting violations.  See - it's clear!  OSU's been cheating this entire time!  Boldly, I plunged forward into the article, expecting devilish tales of Tressel making it rain on recruits while pit-bulls fought in the corner all under the purple glow of a black light and a lava lamp.  Upon reading it, I got more excited.  Look at the spin on this baby:

(Ohio State director of compliance Doug) Archie said ... the committee and the athletic department, "consider (it) a very healthy number. We have a very robust compliance office and our coaches are encouraged to report any violations." ...

OSU's 13 recruiting violations were the most in the Big Ten. The league's schools reported 21 in all.

Archie said he felt that was due in part to OSU's aggressiveness in asking its coaches to report everything, and also the size of the Buckeyes' department (36 sports, compared to less than 20 at some league schools).

Ohhhhh, I get it.  You're just extra careful in policing yourselves and that's why your school accounts for 62% of all the Big Ten's recruiting violations for an entire year ('07-'08).  My excitement grew.  Oh how I was going to make those message board idiots pay.  I was headed straight to bucknuts to gloat on my new found moral superiority. 

Alas!  I remembered my liberal arts education; my history degree.  I remembered that newspapers, although very close to the source, were not actually considered primary sources and to get to the real news, it was best to check out the actual report.  Here's what I found:

  • The baseball team was inadvertently given an extra $17 in per-diem.  They had to pay that $17 dollars back to a charity of choice.
  • Some courts that the men's tennis team used were re-located due to a women's tennis camp.  The new location put the coach in viewing distance of another court (seperated by a barrier) where a prospective athlete was playing (unaffiliated with OSU).  The coach was reminded of the rule.
  • Head women's golf coach called a prospective student athlete who was still a junior in high school.  The high school's coach had told the OSU coach that the student would be graduating, which was a miscommunication.  OSU is now not allowed to call that student for a period of two weeks.
  • A booster provided a ride for a few football player's family to a Penn State game in which their sons were playing.  The bus rental was less than what a typical bus rental would have been but for their relationship to said football players.  The report alludes to one of the player's fathers being employed by the service that drove them.  The two other families had to pay $100 (the difference in what the typical bus rental would have been) to a charity of choice.
  • Men's swimming team competed in an alumni swim meet.  The meet was held outside of "practice and competition" dates.
  • Men's basketball team hosted a prospective athlete, and they didn't return to their room until after 2AM, which I guess is a violation.
  • Men's football assistant coach traveled to the D4 state football championship game for Ohio.  He was interviewed for local television.  This is a violation.
  • Jim Tressel (ah-ha!) traveled to Wisconsin to meet with a high school coach of a potential recruit.  During the visit, the player in question had contact with the coach, which is a violation.

    Holy hell, these are violations?  How the heck would anybody be able to keep these things straight, much less police them?  I can say with absolute certainty that I probably break 10 to 15 of these puppies in my everyday life, and I'm not affiliated with any university!  Whoops, I stayed up until 3AM last night playing "modern warfare" (I'm that cool).  Violation.  I went to a meeting with a guy in Indianapolis, and another guy walked into the room.  Violation. I played in a men's basketball rec league, and it wasn't basketball seasonViolation.

    Now what am I going to go to bucknuts with?  Thanks for nothing, Freep.  Seriously though, when it's easy to read the report and realize that, uh, these are nothing, then why run the article that way?  Stupid newspapers.