This past week, John Adams of the KNS wrote on GoVolsXtra.com that he “passed on the opportunity to pay $50 and watch Tennessee’s football scrimmage Saturday. The timing just wasn’t right.” The timing that Adams was referring to is the current economy — Adams wrote that “in more affluent times – back in the late 1980s, for example” he would have taken the offer because his expenses would have been covered by his employer.
Fair enough, perhaps. But Adams continued, saying that he is “leery of anything that isn’t in the budget, even if it’s something as compelling as a spring football scrimmage for only $50, which might help feed the family of one of UT’s 37 assistant athletic directors. I do appreciate the unprecedented gesture, especially since the previous scrimmages this spring had been closed to the media.”
Tom Mattingly, who writes the blog The Vol Historian, added a parting shot after introducing the topic of Vol fans and their passion in his blog post of April 11. He wrote, “Were the media covering the Vols really offered the chance to pay $50 to attend Saturday’s scrimmage?… Further question: How many did so? Better question: Did they get donor credit, individually or collectively?”
Austin Ward, chronicling the second spring scrimmage held on Saturday April 10, characterized quotes from players as “bits and pieces that slipped through the cracks.”
UPDATE: David Climer of the Tennessean has joined the pack of heelers. Mr. Climer opines about the $50 fee by writing “When you’re running a nine-figure athletics department, I guess you’ve got to find new revenue streams anywhere you can… Derek Dooley studied at the Nick Saban School Of Tyrannical Coaches. He wants to control everything, including media access. Practices and scrimmages are closed to the media.”
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The press corps have had a bit of a burr up their butt…
…ever since Coach Dooley explained his policy on visiting practices (see portion 1:50-4:25 from the Q&A Part 2 of 3 held on March 17, 2010), which also includes a closed-door policy to the press for practices and scrimmages, at least until the reported $50 fee was offered to the media.
As I wrote on March 17, “Dooley is in charge, and he is trying to control the environment within which he will attempt to mold this and future squads into winners. The policy makes sense, even if it might tick off a player or a member of the media. But after watching the press conference, and reading about how this issue has been misunderstood by some players, former and present, anybody offended by this policy need to look no further than the mirror to see where the problem really is.”
The print/online media have to swallow the closed-door policy, but they continually to this day spit part of it back to us in their snipes buried in their columns a la the examples above. They are acting like the spoiled kid who can’t accept his chores, constantly bitching about it under his breath, just audible enough for his mom and dad to hear, but only when his back is turned and walking away.
The press corps needs to either band together and publish an open letter to Coach Dooley (i.e., “fight like a man”), or just completely shut up. The back-handed snippets are just belly-aching sour grapes that show a tremendous immaturity and lack of self confidence in their position within the Volunteer universe.
It’s getting really old.
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Coach Dooley is poking fun at his detractors with his offer…
…to have two members of the Knoxville media coach each squad that will be playing in Saturday’s Orange and White Game. Derek announced that on Thursday at Haslam Field, John Adams of the Knoxville News Sentinel and Jimmy Hyams of WNML radio will meet their respective squads and help conduct the team’s final spring practice. Then, Adams and Hyams will serve as celebrity head coaches for Saturday’s game in Neyland Stadium.
This is genius.
But my favorite part is Dooley’s quote on the subject.
“There are many who believe John and Jimmy possess two of the top football minds in East Tennessee. I’m looking forward to watching how they can turn their knowledge into a winning result in Neyland Stadium.”
Message: as good-natured fun this seems to be, don’t mess with Derek.
Here’s hoping that an opposing coach or player has something to say about Coach Dooley’s policies as well.