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Is the Fizz Burning its Own School?

It brought up an interesting philosophical question: How do we cover Syracuse athletics here at The Fizz? First, the emailer is correct. Kinda.

After Tuesday’s Fizz post [see 8.25.09] about the potential delicate line Doug Marrone had walked with the announcement/ confirmation of Jake Smith’s recruitment, not everyone was thrilled we delved into it.

The below email is SIC’d.

“You guys need to get spanked. Why would you say such a stupid thing? First of all we don’t know if Marrone specifically said the new kicker’s name. Marrone can suggest it without saying Jake Smith’s name and not be in violation. So why imply he did violate a rule? Even if he did why bring attention to it? Would you like to see the NCAA sniffing around SU? BS like this made SU BBall go on probation in the early 1990s. A reporter wanted to make a name for himself and exposed a minor infraction that set our BBall team back 10 years. In this case, it is something small and won’t matter. But what if it were a bigger deal? You shouldn’t tattle on your own school.”

It brought up an interesting philosophical question: How do we cover Syracuse athletics here at The Fizz?

First, the emailer is correct. Kinda. Marrone can officially confirm Jake Smith’s recruitment, but only after a media member first offers the name.

Good: “Yes, we can confirm the recruitment of Jake Smith.”

Bad: “We are recruiting Jake Smith.”

Seems small, but it’s notable. Lane Kiffin got into hot water just months ago because of Example B (and that he’s an arrogant, self-important, rules-don’t-apply-to-me immature clown).

We merely brought up the fact, the Jake Smith “recruitment” had elements of Example A and that an inexperienced Marrone might step into such potholes as he gets his tenure off the ground.

We never suggested this was a major infraction nor imply Marrone’s possible slip was anything more than inexperience with NCAA compliance.

But the second part of the equation is much more important: Should we “tattle on our own school.”

Every staff member of The Fizz either graduated from Syracuse or is currently enrolled.

No one wants to see the Orange succeed more than we do. We’re still paying student loans (or tuition). We have the diplomas hanging on our walls. We have Otto hanging from our keychains. We have to embarrassedly tell people, “Yes, I’m a Syracuse football fan” as though we were at an AA meeting.

Can you say that about most of the mainstream media that covers the ‘Cuse on a daily basis? Some are legitimate Orange fans. Some are just entrenched in the beat without ties to the school or region; it might as well be Washington State, Central Michigan or UMass.

The Fizz’s job is not to protect Syracuse. It’s to give meaningful, insightful, hopefully thought-provoking (and often times sophomorically humorous) content to our readers.

There’s plenty of “protection” from the local media, who depend on smiling relationships with the school’s athletic department and the coaches for their livelihood.

Bud Poloquin’s fawning sonnets to Groobers by the end of his Titanical stewardship of the program was laughable. Donnie Webb’s insistence that Robinson and his wife were really, really good people was inconsequential (and silly). No one keeps a head coaching job because he works the blood drive.

Simply put: We love Syracuse. We root for Syracuse. We have devoted an extraordinary amount of time to a Syracuse blog for mere personal enjoyment. But we don’t protect Syracuse. And it would be a slap in the face to Orange Nation if we did.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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