I love the NCAA Tournament.
This isn’t groundbreaking news, or anything that I’ve newly discovered. I’ve loved the Tournament since as long as I can remember. Since I was in middle school, I’ve been participating in bracket pools at school and work, among other places.
What is new, is the way Twitter has enhanced my enjoyment of the Tournament in 2010. Rather than simply watch the games, I can watch them on TV or online while following my favorite sports writers and on-screen personalities on Twitter. Of course, there’s always the tweets from regular people as well.
Regardless of who you follow, Twitter allows for a much greater interactive experience during the NCAA Tournament. This applies to any sporting event, though. For any team or event you follow, there is likely to be a “hash tag” that you can search for if you want to discuss the events as they happen.
For example, if you’re watching Wisconsin play Cornell, just search for #badgers, #cornell, #bigred or even #wisconsin. Now, the latter could give you non-sports tweets related to the state of Wisconsin, but any of the those four is likely to give you plenty of commentary on said game.
If you want more knowledgeable commentary during games, follow Seth Davis of SI (@sethdavishoops), Dick Vitale of ESPN (@DickieV) or Gary Parrish of CBS (@GaryParrishCBS). Don’t like those three? Just about every big name journalist or on-air personality today has a Twitter account. And most of them tweet frequently during big sporting events.
If that’s not enough for you, try Herald Sports during Badger football, basketball and hockey games (@bheraldsports) or follow me (@jordanschelling) or my fellow BH sports editor Adam Holt (@adamjsholt) for live updates during sporting events.
Say what you want about Twitter, but I couldn’t imagine covering/watching sports without it.
During the NCAA Tournament, primarily during this second weekend when there are fewer games to switch back-and-forth between, CBS has been showing head coaches’ locker room speeches just before the beginning of the second half.
This is something that is uncommon in general basketball coverage. Yet, this additional access to the teams and coaches is not something I’m immediately excited to receive. Rather, I’m more drawn to wonder if this takes things too far?
I already was unsure I agreed with the 30-minute open period in locker rooms after games at the Tournament. Adding nearly live coverage of teams’ halftime discussions gets to the point of seeming to go too far.
Do we really need to hear and see what Kansas State head coach Frank Martin said to his team when they were trailing 27-20 at the half to Butler? Or would we be OK just watching the game and having a reporter ask Martin or one the players about it afterward and how it related to their second-half play?
Personally, I’m fine with the second. Maybe it’s just because I have the ability to ask such questions if I see fit. And maybe it’s because I see so much value in the ability of such reporters to interpret the play and the postgame comments from the coaches and players to present it to readers.
Either way, I’m still not so sure we need to have a camera in the locker rooms during halftime of NCAA Tournament games. And I certainly cannot imagine the coaches enjoy it either.
But in the our world today, with technologies like Twitter providing greater access to coaches and athletes than ever before, I cannot say I’m all that surprised by it. And I certainly do not expect it to stop.
A week ago, ESPN and the Golf Channel got semi-exclusive interviews with Tiger Woods regarding his return to professional golf at the 2010 Masters. It was the first time Woods spoke with the media since his infamous SUV crash on Thanksgiving night.
Now, it seems like an obvious decision for both networks to take the interview, despite the 5-minute time limit, among other restrictions. Yet, one network did not find it so obvious.
CBS, the primary network that covers the Masters, disagreed with the restrictions on the interview and ultimately chose not to take the interview with Woods. As a result, ESPN stole a lot of attention away from CBS during the NCAA Tournament, much as it did to NBC during the Winter Olympics when Woods made his public apology live on their network.
While CBS may have disagreed with the restrictions, turning down the interview as a whole was a mistake. ESPN is already likely to get as good, if not better, ratings than CBS because it airs the first two rounds of the Masters. But by giving them what was essentially an exclusive interview when you consider how few people watch the Golf Channel, CBS gave up even more.
Now, the big shots at CBS will have to hope Woods’ return to golf extends to the weekend. If not, they will be, to put it bluntly, fucked. Sure, people will still tune in to the final two rounds if Woods isn’t playing, but they’re banking their ratings on him being there. The least they could have done is supplement those ratings with an interview last week.
Sure, they may not have had time to show it as early as ESPN due to their live coverage of NCAA basketball, but not showing it at all? Come on. CBS’ inability to manage multiple games at times during the Tournament is bad enough, but declining a one-on-one interview with Tiger? That’s a decision I’m sure CBS would like a mulligan on.
I’m not a fan of spring football. If for no other reason than the fact that no other sport has so much focus on it when the season remains six months away. That said, a recent story out of the Florida Gators’ spring camp caught my attention.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, or simply don’t spend most of your time watching, listening and reading things about sports, let me tell you what happened. After Wednesday’s practice, Urban Meyer, head football coach at Florida, confronted Jeremy Fowler, a reporter from the Orlando Sentinel.
According to Meyer, the reporter was out of line for improperly quoting one of his players, wide receiver Deonte Thompson. The problem there is, that Fowler correctly quoted Thompson in comparing quarterbacks Tim Tebow and John Brantley as follows:
“You never know with Tim. You can bolt, you think he’s running but he’ll come up and pass it to you. You just have to be ready at all times. With Brantley, everything’s with rhythm, time. You know what I mean, a real quarterback.”
Fowler even went one step further, suggesting Thompson may have meant “traditional,” rather than “real.” If Thompson had said traditional, this whole situation would never have occurred. Instead, the words “real quarterback,” in reference to Tim Tebow, sparked a huge controversy.
That controversy still would not have been nearly as significant if Meyer had kept his cool about it. After practice Wednesday, the following sequence was captured on video:
“If that was my son, we’d be going at it right now,” Meyer said. “Do it one more time and the Orlando Sentinel’s not welcome here ever again. Is that clear? It’s yes or no.”
“Urban, come on. Don’t make any threats,” Fowler said. “I’ll play by the rules, but all I was doing is quoting the guy. I don’t think I was the only one.”
Meyer’s last comment, though not quite on the level of “I’m a man, I’m 40,” was YouTube gold.
“You’re a bad guy, a bad guy,” he said.
Some have suggested the tirade could actually help Meyer in terms of recruiting because it shows he stands up for his players. While that may be the case, he sure didn’t do himself any favors when it comes to treatment by the media.
Here’s the video of the incident. What do you think?
By Jordan Schelling The Badger Herald
By Jordan Schelling The Badger Herald