Hooker, Line, and Sinker

I’ve been reading a lot of criticism regarding the beltway press and their coverage of the upcoming presidential election.

It’s made me think quite a bit about the ways that sports media might be coming up short in our coverage.

After floating this thought to my Twitter followers, I got a lot of good feedback.

People suggested that we need greater diversity, a greater willingness to dig for root causes, more impartiality, less sensationalism.

My personal pet peeve is that sports reporters, and I am not immune to this, tend to stick to established narratives.

I’ll give you an example from this week: After Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes beat Bowling Green 77-10 in the season opener, Meyer gushed about the performance of defensive back Malik Hooker. It was amazing, Meyer said, that Hooker had gone from a player who once floated the idea of leaving the program to the guy who intercepted two passes in his first collegiate start.

When Hooker himself sat down with the media, he confirmed that he had discussed transferring with his Mom, but she talked him down.

The narrative of this type of comeback is well worn by now, so we accepted it uncritically.

Was Hooker sincerely considering bolting? No, he eventually clarified.

He pointed out that he isn’t the type of man to quit, he’d never cleaned out his locker, never even discussed the idea with anybody but his Mom.

Meyer later conceded that 95-99 percent of young players blow off steam like this.

But, oh, the narrative.

The idea of a guy with one foot out the door turning things around is much more compelling than the story of a player who was simply a bit frustrated.

We talk about how the athletes we cover battle complacency. I’m going to try harder to do that myself. At the same time, I will admit, it’s sometimes hard not to fall for these types of stories Hooker, line, and sinker.


Ohio State Details Costs of DC Trip

After the Ohio State football team won the College Football Playoff Championship, one of the rewards they received was a trip to the White House, where they were congratulated by President Barack Obama.

However, just because it was a reward does not mean the trip itself was free.

Airfare to fly the travel party to Washington, D.C. was $194,895 and two bus trips cost an additional $13,700.

Ohio State estimates they spent another $22,820 on food, although a final invoice had yet to be submitted for those expenses.

The Buckeyes excursion took place April 20.

Terrelle Pryor Is “Homeless”

Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor has a new team, having signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, and he’s settled in by visiting the local veterans and children’s hospitals.

That hasn’t earned him any goodwill with at least one of the locals, though…

So for all the recent talk about how great the Duke/North Carolina basketball rivalry is (and last night’s game was fantastic), today score one for Ohio State/Michigan.

Hat tip to friend and colleague Tim Hall.

Signing Day Eve

Signing Day is tomorrow! So today, we’re sharing the biographies of the four 2015 recruits who are already enrolled at Ohio State.

And stay tuned, because tomorrow, we’ll share a similar biography for each player right after they’ve sent in their Letter of Intent.

We’re ready to introduce you to all the newest Buckeyes!

Nick Conner is one of the four players already enrolled at OSU. Not exactly a surprising development. He’s a local kid with a poster of former Buckeye Mike Vrabel hanging in his room. In fact, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear he accepted a scholarship the day the Buckeyes offered. His senior season was marred by injuries to his ribs and knee, but he still had some impressive games, including a 6-touchdown performance against Westerville South. He’s expected to be a linebacker in college, though, and as a junior, he led Dublin Scioto with 119 tackles, including 19 TFLs. He also had 3 interceptions. Conner is an honor roll student. He was invited, but did not participate due to the knee injury, in the Semper-Fi All-American Game. Oh, and Urban Meyer should like this about Conner, he’s also a baseball player.


The Columbus Dispatch, more from The Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland.com

Jashon Cornell met Justin Hilliard on a recruiting trip Iowa about three years ago. They became fast friends and committed to Ohio State on the same day. And not long after he committed, Cornell was on Ohio State’s campus. He’s one of four 2015 recruits already enrolled. He repeatedly told reporters it was Larry Johnson, and his ability to get players to the NFL, that most attracted him to OSU. The enthusiasm apparently went both ways as the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Cornell was the very first recruit Johnson called when he came to Columbus. It also helped that Cornell’s aunt lives thirty minutes from the Ohio State campus. Cornell played basketball in high school in addition to football.


Cleveland.com, Eleven Warriors, St. Paul Pioneer Press

Grant Schmidt is the first player out of South Dakota to come to Ohio State, and was the first offensive lineman to join the 2015 recruiting class. He’s also one of the first to arrive in Columbus, as he’s one of the four players already enrolled at OSU. That’s why Schmidt jokes that he was tear gassed walking back to his dorm as police pepper sprayed fans celebrating the Buckeyes national championship. He confidently added that he wasn’t the one causing trouble. Confidence actually comes naturally to Schmidt. He was told that once he received an Ohio State offer, he shouldn’t take the risk of attending a Buckeye camp. However, Schmidt wanted to compete against 4-and-5 star athletes, something he’s now ready to do at the next level.


Eleven Warriors, KSFY News, The Argus Leader

Jamel Dean is one of Ohio State’s early enrollees, already on campus. He paved the way to that early enrollment by taking high school classes in middle school and, later, summer school. Not surprising considering he wants to major in mechanical engineering.  In a way, reporting early to OSU was just Dean’s way of repaying the Buckeyes. After all, they expressed an early enthusiasm in him. In fact, Ohio State was Dean’s first offer. What did Ohio State see in Dean? He’s a track athlete, who was especially good in the 100-meter-dash. Meanwhile, his work on the football field was impressive enough to earn him an invite to the Semper Fidelis Bowl. Unfortunately, he could not participate due to a knee injury.


Florida Today, SB Nation