Posted by: furmanbisher | June 6, 2009

Cheapskates of the Big Ten

This will affect only a minute portion of our population, but it drives a nail through the hearts of that portion. Two major universities, which major in college athletics, have announced that they will no longer publish sports media guides. Michigan and Ohio State, two bitter rivals on the field, are turning their backs in tandem on those press members who have so long depended on their publications for information. Not to mention that those who broadcast their games depend on their publications for tasty information tidbits.

Between them, they say, the two schools will save over $250,000. ONLY two hundred fifty thousand? Out of the multi-million dollars these two heavyweights put into athletics? They would abandon what has long been a practice among colleges that like to be considered first-class, top drawer?  They’re dropping their drawers on the public! Yes, the media guides have become an expensive account, but only because the colleges have brought it upon themselves. A mere press guide, as we veterans have known them, would cost a pittance, but these days they don’t, because of all the extraneous bulk content their own ego-centric nature has incurred. One recent year I weighed college guides, and Texas “won” the prize. The Longhorns guide weighed just over five pounds! And most of those five pounds were wasted on matters not pertaining to the media. Instead, they went towards glorifying athletes who might impress other athletes who might be recruited. Whereas once upon a time, we were able to tuck a very useful press guide into our jean pocket, it has become, indeed, a recruiting tool, weighing only slightly less than an anvil.

It might be pointed out that the season following production of that 5-pounder, an all-encompassing rule was passed limiting guides to 208 pages, which was still a lot more than most of the media cared for. Both these two Big Ten schools say they hope that other colleges will follow their example. I would hope that other colleges would not be that penny-foolish and pound-unwise, and would instead just do it right. Cheapskates!


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