I need some assistance on this one; perhaps somebody in the business of polling and/or political reporting can help out here.
What we have today is the Free Press, reporting sans byline, about a "poll" indicating a lack of support for Head Coach Rich Rodriguez. The story gets this snappy headline: "Poll asks Michigan voters to rate their feelings on Rich Rod."
Here's the lede:
Only 20% of Michigan voters who describe themselves as U-M fans have a favorable opinion of coach Rich Rodriguez, according to a recent survey by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling. Also: 26% have an unfavorable opinion and 54% have no opinion one way or another.
Um, okay. So I Google "Public Policy Polling." I go to their website. As far as I can tell, it is two guys in an office in North Carolina, with an assistant. And they do telephone polls. And they are a lot of social/political kinds of things. And an odd number of them are (State of) Michigan-specific polls.
I e-mail them: "Who commissioned this poll? Are the complete results available anywhere?"
One of the guys responds: "No one commissioned the poll." And he gives me a link to the complete results. I submit the link, and the results, for, uh, your perusal, here:
So can anyone who is in that business explain? How does "Public Policy Polling" get paid? What is their angle? Any explanation for the odd mixture of party politics and college football? What is the deal? (Don't bother with the Free Press story; there's no explanatory information there at all.)
[EDIT. - Member "jedilow" points out below that Brian had made the same observation in a blog post, earlier. No one quite understands what was behind this poll, but it was not, apparently, a case of the Detroit Free Press 'creating' a poll for their sports pages. Indeed, Brian and a2.com were on it before the Free Press brought up the rear...]
Someone sent me this link this a.m. I'd posted it in another thread, and thought the broader community would find it useful. A great resource, I think. Check out Sept 11 (and be careful you don't drool on your keyboard). Big ups to LSU for pulling this together.
Let's give Brian Cook credit. (Don't we always?)
Before it happened, he predicted it. That the Free Press story on APR numbers would single out Michigan football, and would fail to report the background detail needed to understand the numbers.
Brian's prediction is here:
So as to avoid a link to the hated Freep, here's the headline from Freep.com: "Michigan State's, Michigan's APR scores mostly up -- except for U-M football."
And there's this, technically correct, wholly uninformative (cf: the link above) paragraph from staff sportswriter Kevin Bull:
"The Michigan football team scored a 936, which is in the 30%-40% rank in the sport. This four-year period measured the last three years under coach Lloyd Carr and the first year under Rich Rodriguez. The score is down from 947 last year and 951 in the 2008 report."
Thanks, Free Press, and have a nice day!
There are many descriptors for Drew Sharp; "provacateur" (on a weekly basis); "slanderer" (for his libleous misquoting of Rush Limbaugh that he repeated and then laughed off in national interivews); "incomeptent" (for his low-level and crummy Free Press writing).
But today brings a new adjective into the mix; "Disgust."
Today's Free Press features this quote from Sharpton, er Sharp: "He [Demar Dorsey] is just another pawn, another easily disposable piece in a meat-grinding business where athletes are judged more by what they bring Saturday afternoons in sold-out stadiums rather than Monday mornings in half-filled classrooms."
So let's consider this business of "pawns." On the one hand we have Michigan; following the law (the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act), and declining to discuss anything with respect to the admissions process for Demar Dorsey. Despite the fact that writers (and I use that term VERY loosely in Sharp's case) like Sharp will continue to write the story and make presumptions, assumptions and speculation despite not having any facts about the details of the admissions process.
And then, we have "the pawns." I can think of three pawns, and the institution that has most abused them. The three pawns are Je'Ron Stokes, Brandin Hawthorne and Demar Dorsey.
The institution that has abused all three of them is the Detroit Free Press.
The way that Stokes and Hawthorne were abused was the outrageous misquoting of them on the front page of the Sunday Free Press on August 30, 2009. Taking quotes form them that implied a terrible breach of NCAA rules. A "breach" that, after the NCAA and Michigan investigated, turned out to have been a fabrication of the Free Press. (Other irregularites, as we all know, were found. I am focusing here only on the abuse of interviews with Stokes and Hawthorne on media day in 2009.)
The way that Demar Dorsey was abused was the elevation of his old juvenile arrest record to a headline story, and the transformation of his college application process to a quasi-criminal investigation.
There was a reason for the treatment of these teenagers as pawns, by the Free Press. The Free Press is involved in a concerted campaign against Rich Rodriguez. The Free Press is motivated in part by the personal animus of one of its reporters, Michael Rosenberg, against the new coaching staff with which he enjoys a less-cozy relationship than what he had in the Lloyd Carr era. The Free Press also features the knee-jerk defensiveness of its publisher, Paul Anger, who is always eager to try to make any story into a crusade for rightness. In the Michigan case, the Free Press sought to set itself up as the protector of collegiate student-athletes, by investigating NCAA rules that Anger wrote
"This apparent excess [what Rosenberg and Snyder reported] goes against the concept of student-athlete as embraced by the NCAA, which years ago set up rules trying to ensure that players have a semblance of a normal college experience, that they have time for class, that they are not at greater risk of injury in excessive drills and that overzealous coaches can't gain a competitive advantage."
What. A. Crock. There's no better evidence, of the Free Press' hypocrisy and malevolence, than what happened with Stokes and Hawthorne, who as freshmen found themselves in anguish, in the office of their head football coach, wondering what kind of damage they had done to him and to their team and their school. And of course, nothing said by Stokes or Hawthorne turned into a substantive allegation by the NCAA.
So when Drew Sharp talks about the treatment of student-athletes as "pawns," it makes me nauseous. He should know about using young men as "pawns." His paper has developed a certain expertise in it.
Drew Sharp. Disgusting.
Not sure if this link has been posted in relation to UM/UCONN game, but either way, given the pending probation and chaos that will ensue in L.A., I will be rooting for the Golden Gophers even more to (somehow) beat USC. Such a huge upset (and at the hands of a "bad" Big 10 team) would send USC into a tailspin... and lead Gopher fans to believe they are actually good (until their 2-6 Big 10 record shows otherwise).
September can't come soon enough
Has anyone else read Frank the Tank's recent blog posts regarding expansion. I know Brian recently changed his stance on the blog, stating he has been on the money throughout the whole process. A recap for those who haven't seen it lately:
Big Ten to invite ND, Texas, A&M, and a Missouri offer is contingent upon ND or Texas joining. ND and Texas would then have special exemptions to play each year, and also have 6 OOC games, while playing 7 in conference. Yes, this means a 13 game schedule.
This information was taken from a Northwestern message board where a poster supposedly met with a worker for the Big Ten. This led to Jim Delaney getting pissed that this info was being leaked and demanding heads roll for leaking the info.
I would think this makes sence, other than the exemptions because all teams in the Big Ten are supposed to be equal. I would love this, and think this would be the best case in the multiple expansion scenarios. It makes more sense than the Big 12 south/Colorado to the Pac 10.
Here is the link