Traitor! A Look Into College Sports Scandals and How to Cover Them

I wish that there would be some kind of scandal in the athletic department at Elon.

I may get a few nasty comments for saying that (or maybe not, who knows), but after attending my first session of the convention on handling scandals in collegiate athletic departments, I want to go in-depth on something like that.

The panelists were Karen Crouse (a sportswriter for the New York Times), Rachel Bowers (editor-in-chief of the Red and Black, student newspaper of the University of Georgia) and Stephen Norton (editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel). Bowers and Norton have been right in the middle of recent athletic department controversies.

For Norton, he has been following one of the more major scandals in recent college football history, as coach Butch Davis was fired and several players were suspended last year from the UNC football program due to improper benefits and other mishaps and mishandlings. He talked about how the university was using the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as a shield from allowing the Tar Heel to access phone records and other information while it wasn’t actually an “educational” issue and the difficulties surrounding that.

Bowers discussed the AJ Green jersey-selling scandal and made one interesting comment that really stuck out to me. She said that covering UGA athletics is “like working in your favorite restaurant, you grow to hate it.” It made me think about how I’ve been covering Elon athletics and now they don’t seem as glamorous as they used to be. But let’s be honest, there’s not a lot of glamour in Southern Conference athletics. We have two schools without a football team, for goodness sake. I went to a high school without a football team and thought that every college would have one.

Crouse provided a veteran reporter’s view on covering college sports scandals and emphasized one thing: you need to have thick skin to be a college journalists. You’re writing about people who not only play for your school, but live around you and have class with you. You’re probably going to face a lot of scrutiny if you bring something like this up.

But that just made me want to do it anyways. Bring on the scandal!

– Zachary Horner

 

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