May 31st, 2011 at 3:17 PM ^

And I can't believe it (wait ... I've heard something like this somewhere before ... maybe I can believe it quite easily).

Dohrmann sounds like a crusader for "truth and justice" more than a reporter simply investigating "facts". That's a dangerous thing. That same approach to "reporting" is what we have in Michael Rosenberg and look where that got us. He's talking about rules that have "certainly" been violated, probable penalties, etc. His voice makes him sound almost giddy with anticipation. On the Dan Patrick Show, he referred to all sorts of additional details that did not appear in the SI story because of "lawyers" and what could be "proved".

I don't think I like this guy, and I'm starting to question whether his judgement and/or veracity is a cause for concern.


May 31st, 2011 at 3:33 PM ^

A reporter conducts himself in a manner which hides or obscures his true feelings on a news subject. In his case, there's no doubt. No less than Jon Chait pilloried Rosenberg (rightly so) because he fashioned himself as an investigative reporter when his feelings on his subject (Rodriguez) were quite well known. Just because the booger is now on OSU's foot doesn't make it all right.

Look, I love that Tressel has been exposed. I have pointed that out in many, many posts here. But, what Dohrmann is doing by leading the torch and pitchfork toting masses is not right.


May 31st, 2011 at 3:43 PM ^

he's an investigative journalist. Editors and lead reporters are (supposed to be) unbiased, but investigative journalists pursue their stories with extreme prejudice. He did say he's never interviewed Tressel before and had no history with him previously. Even though I've already said it, he also won the Pulitzer Prize and is the last Sports Journalist to do so. He's the best sports journalist in the country. The things he's waiting to report on he is holding until he's done finding proof (he alluded to that on the Dan Patrick show today) so he'll tie up the loose ends in another article.


May 31st, 2011 at 3:56 PM ^

And I know that he considers himself a "journalist". But re-read what all of us wrote about Rosenberg (who also considers himself a "journalist") - hell, re-read what Chait wrote about Rosenberg - and tell me what I'm missing.

- Dohrmann quotes unnamed sources frequently

- Unnamed sources are often provide the only reference to wrong doing

- Most of his named sources are questionable and provide details of the most egregious wrong-doing

- He cites few, if any, corroborating sources other than those of questionable motive

- He called his target (OSU/Tressel) three days before publication to get "reaction"

- He never interviewed the subject of his article.

I could go on.

Again, understand that I am separating what I believe to be the facts (Tressel is two-faced) from the manner in which the story was written.


May 31st, 2011 at 4:14 PM ^

The problem with Rosenberg was that he had dual positions, both investigative reporter and columnist, and as columnist had already expressed highly negative responses to RichRod. That was Chait's main complaint: that a columnist/editorial writer should not have been empowered by his editor to also serve as investigative journalist. It was as much about the shoddiness of the Freep at the editorial level as the shoddiness of Rosenberg's reporting.

Dohrman, however, is an investigative journalist. He's never served in an editorial capacity in re Tressel. His story is now filed/published. He's well within the standards of journalism to promote and defend his story and detail the broader conclusions that he draws from his investigation.


May 31st, 2011 at 4:42 PM ^

I mean that.

However, what happens now if it turns out he was wrong on the details and/or the underlying charge (i.e. Rosenberg)? Dohrmann is making strident claims in these radio interviews that go far beyond what has been in print. It's fine to discuss "broader conclusions", but he's carrying on as though it were just a legal formality that he can't print it. Someone, surely, (likely his editor or attorneys) must think there is insufficient reason to leave these added extras out of the publication?


May 31st, 2011 at 5:19 PM ^

I only heard the latter bit of the interview, but those are valid concerns. They're mitigated, for me, by his past records and experience investigating NCAA scandal, and from what I heard of the interview, where he was distinguishing between programs that try to achieve compliance and those that don't, which seems a sensible dividing line.


May 31st, 2011 at 5:29 PM ^

didn't care to understand the rulebook, and the nuance between countable athletic related activity, or non-countable - and mandatory, or voluntary. Thus he vastly over-exaggerated the story (and that of his named sources inside the program - two incoming freshman).

This story may be a pursuit of a point of view - something has smelled in Columbus for years, and since the NCAA hasn't bitten, the worst kept secret in Columbus deserves to see the light of day via investigative journalism.

Rosenberg would have come off so much better, if he had focused on the QA Staff at voluntary activities, rather than 15 hour Sundays (which mostly were not countable). His allegations were so far from reality, that he looks exactly like the biased witch hunter he has been branded to be.

Moral of the story - if you are going to accuse somebody of something, then you need to understand the rules behind what you are accusing them of, or you will come off looking like an ass.



May 31st, 2011 at 4:20 PM ^

and phone numbers of squeaky clean, well educated sources? He admits his sources are shady and even provides the full backgrounds for them. Others who he provided psudonyms for said they feared reprisals. The reason the sources are shady is because  that's who Tressel allowed to permeat every facet of the football program. The same "don't listen to him, he's a thug" rebuttal was used by Tressel to throw Clarett under the bus. Tressel is squeaky clean and Pryor is a thug but Tressel is the major wrongdoer here. Almost every whistle blower story I've ever seen has unnamed and anonymous sources and reporters are threatened with jail time if they don't expose their sources. I'm wondering what paralell universe you live in where stories like this happen in a way that satisfies you. Who was the Watergate whistle blower?


May 31st, 2011 at 4:35 PM ^

And I'd appreciate it if you didn't carry on like a pompous ass. I simply raised a point and provided facts; nothing more, nothing less.

Watergate (watch the movie, read the book) was corroborated by many named and unnamed sources backing up key details (specific details) of Deep Throat's tale of corruption in the Nixon Administration. It would be very nice to have the same offered in Dohrmann's case.

What would "satisfy" me is to have the SI story, as filed last night, left as is. That would have been enough, even if I am troubled by the quality of the "journalism". Instead, Dohrmann is Captain of the Pitchfork Team and that bothers me greatly. It should bother you, too. It is precisely among the things that we all railed against Rosenberg for. He is going on sports-talk radio alluding to rumors, innuendo, and facts not in evidence. I didn't like it then, I don't like it now.

D.C. Dave

May 31st, 2011 at 5:07 PM ^

If you are only going by individual writers who have won the Pulitzer, then Dohrmann is the last sports writer to win one for a specific story. But Pulitzers are awarded to staffs if there are numerous bylines in the entry. In 2005, when New Orleans flooded after Katrina, the publisher of The Times-Picayune ordered the entire staff to evacuate, and they all did, to Baton Rouge.

But the sports editor, who had lost his own house, refused to leave. Instead he commandeered a newspaper delivery truck, assembled a small team of reporters and stayed in the city amid the chaos, broke stories on wrongdoing by cops, got guns put to their heads by the NOPD, went into the water, basically ran what was left of the paper. They won two Pulitzer Prizes and the sports editor was given two crystal Pulitzers by Columbia University in New York. The sports editor also was invited to speak at Northwestern in 2006 and accept the Medill Medal of Courage. The ragtag team included two more sports writers, including the Saints beat writer. It's a pretty famous story in journalistic circles, certainly known among sports writers.

Sports writers don't often get a lot of consideration for Pulitzers. And I realize Katrina wasn't a sports story, so I'm not correcting your point. But it's a tale worth knowing.

Mr Miggle

May 31st, 2011 at 4:32 PM ^

Rosenberg was subject to criticism because he was an opinion columnist turned investigative reporter for one story. One whose target he had made his feelings toward well known. There is no evidence of prior bias with this reporter or any opinions about OSU or Tressel. He's certainly allowed to form opinions while working on his stories and uncovering information. It's true that his feelings personal feelings shouldn't become part of the story. He has editors (and lawyers) to help with that.


May 31st, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

Rosenberg was an opinion columnist who had previously staked out an anti-RR stance, and then dabbled in investigative reporting to which - shocker - uncovered a "scandal" that backed his opinion.

Dohrmann is an investigative reporter.  That is what he does.  He won a Pulitzer (really hard to do coming from the sports world) busting Clem Haskins and Minny basketball and his primary role at SI is investigative reporting.


Investigative reporting is not pretty.  You better have your sh*t and sources together to back it up.  But anyone who spends time doing it, they are going to be passionate about it, as they typically have to spend months, if not years, doing the work.  Just because he has a torch doesn't, simply b/c of that, mean what he is doing "is not right."


May 31st, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

"I don't see how the COI doesn't hand down the lack of institutional control and how the AD and President don't have to pay the bill for that."

"It's more like Tuscaloosa, or Talahasee,  than Madison Wisconsin, or Ann Arbor."

"Among coaches there was this sense that Tressel wasn't all that he said he was."

"He probably talked more about supporting the troops than the President does"

"Were going to respoect as hard as we can respect?"- "I don't even know what that means!"

"I don't think anybody views him as an NFL guy. (he's) a guy who rides on the athleticism of his athletes."

"I could see him getting a lower level job like at Youngstown state again but I don't see him getting another Bit 10 job or a Big 12 job."

-George Dohrmann


May 31st, 2011 at 3:23 PM ^

They both had a good laugh about the meticulous cultivation of Tressel's public image.  They agreed that quote along the lines of, "we will respect harder than any other team", makes no sense whatsoever.

winged helmet

May 31st, 2011 at 3:25 PM ^

When asked if he was liked in the B1G, I enjoyed Dohrmann's response, saying that other coaches told him to look into the YSU stuff, and his "holier than thou" image.

Spontaneous Co…

May 31st, 2011 at 3:32 PM ^

Anyone who feels compelled to write a bunch of books on how to do something the right way should automatically be investigated.  It seems like a disproportionate number of those individuals preach one thing and do another.