Blog Entry

The end of Western Civilization

Posted on: May 28, 2009 2:29 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2009 4:25 pm
It has begun, the great unraveling of a literate society.

Michigan and Ohio State have decided to stop printing media guides. In related news, ADs Bill Martin and Gene Smith aren't going to take a pay cut. Rich Rodriguez and Jim Tressel will continue to be millionaires. That, and the schools have refused to cut one -- just one scholarship -- to save money. I missed the memo when the publications that publicize your programs the most were considered frivolous.

If these cuts are really about saving money, then quit grandstanding. Media guides are a line item, a very small one in any athletic budget. I just came from the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla. where coaches, ADs and their families were squeezing in meetings between trips to the beach.

Oh yeah, I forgot. It's the media guides that are draining the budget, not the $300-a-night hotel rooms so conference officials can sip Mai Tais and talk about scheduling.

It's easy to save money on printing costs. We're the media. Who cares? Put everyting on the Internet. Fine. We're a power outage away from losing the history of a sport. There's a reason the Vatican puts its library treasures in hermetically sealed vaults. They value the church's history. Major-college sports is trying to lose theirs.

Maybe I'm a dinosaur. This must be how the monks felt when moveable type came along. They cursed Gutenberg's name. Video killed the radio star and all that. Truth is, I'm not alone and we will be heard.

The Big Ten has its television money whether there are guides or not. But if I were the sports information director who used to edit and publish guides, I'd be worried. You're next. Really, this is a big part of their job. They spend months organizing these guides. What else is there for them to do except keep us (the media) from speaking to their athletes and coaches.

That's what it has come in major college sports. They've hampered our ability to do our jobs, unless we would happen to pay the appropriate rights fees. 

Make us pay for our seats in the press box. Don't feed us while we're there working for eight hours. Turn off the air conditioning, anything! But let us have our work tools at our fingertips.
Category: NCAAF

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2009 9:10 pm

The end of Western Civilization

Ohio st and michigan did something really stupid and hopefully they will end up changing their policy on this . If it costs too much to give out free media guides to the media then dont give them out free its very simple they sell these things to the fans why not sell it to the media as well ten dollars here is your media guide . Dennis CBS will give ten dollars so you can get your media guide right . Its an expense ! I just cant believe ohio st and michigan are this stupid and then they make a stupid statement saying they hope other schools follow suit. I cover one of the 4 major sports on a part time basis and in the arena I go to the pre game meal for the media IS NOT FREE it is seven dollars . I understand food costs money.

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2009 2:49 pm

The end of Western Civilization

Now that I have taken the adverse side of the issue, it is time to take the converse side.

Books and pamphlets are a lot easier to read and to search. Flipping through, scanning, leafing are old fashioned skills that require actual paper. No electronic media can reproduce that effect. There is an efficiency within those actions, too.

Please do not describe to me all about search engines, etc., and key words and all of that. We all know about them. Like the Microsoft spell and grammar chec, they have some use, but they are flawed (sun or son? too or to or two?) and they do not necessarily include the correct rules (e.g., Chicago Manual of Style).

A bound book of several hundred pages is just plain easier to handle than several hundred loose leaf sheets in a binder. 119 Div I-A media guides at 5 pages per is several hundred.

The touch and feel of paper, glossy or otherwise, the smell of ink, etc., are old fashioned delights for the senses. I am old enough to have used a slide rule. I fully appreciate the elegance of paper.

Since: May 30, 2009
Posted on: May 30, 2009 8:50 pm

Big Ten Network

Big Ten member schools have an entire network devoted to them that's available in maybe 85 percent of U.S. households, if publicizing athletic programs is a concern.

Reporters/Columnists could take a collective stance and refuse to cover or write anything in regards to Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin athletics in the future, regardless of the news story (Rich Rodriguez drunk drives and kills someone and no coverage outside of the AP story). If printed media guides mean so much, refuse to cover the programs (and tell your editor this is your reasoning).

Media outlets should have no say in how collegiate athletic programs run their departments. None.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: May 30, 2009 5:02 pm

DD, must be a helluva wakeup call...

I'd bet sums of money that it's a sad day for DD.  There is no way one could expect 7 pages of idiots.  (On the other hand that's 7 pages of people reading your stuff.)  Could you imagine trying to write anything when you know your general readership is as retarded as these pages have shown?  It's like monkeys throwing poo.  I'd be depressed knowing that I can't even make a basic, logical, and totally founded statement understandable to "educated" fans.

I'm truly astounded by the amount of poelpe with absolutely no qualifications or experience as sports journalists that seem to know everything there is about, well, everything...  But for goodness sakes, this is out of hand.  If you eliminated every post on this subject written by a person that has never been in a major college sports press room, you'd have no posts.  Eliminate the people that heve never had to meet a deadline of 30 minutes after gametime with complete accuracy.  No posts left.  Eliminate the ones who have no understanding of how large electronic networks function at full capacity.  No posts.  But if you give them one persons opinion that has all of those qualifications and experiences, they'll be sure to give you 7 pages worth of why he doesn't know what he's talikng about.

Take away all the points about why media guides are a useful tool even.  It still seems most people don't get the general idea that it is like bending over a dollar to pick up a dime or buying 2 of something because it's on sale or paying a balance transfer fee thats more than the interest you'd be spending or any other ridiculous financial decision.

There are, as DD briefly points out, several other measures that could be implemented that could save, or even make, more money.  The MAJOR POINT that seems to be misunderstood is the fact that this decision was made because it effects OTHER people than the ones that make the decisions. 

I guarantee, without any doubts, that these same 7 pages of ridiculousness would fill 7 pages bitching if Exxon made major annoucements that they decided to cut costs by eliminating paper receipts at the pump while still recording trillion dollar profits.  

(I guess I better prepare myself for at least a couple pages of "explanations" about why I'm a tool...) 

Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: May 30, 2009 9:39 am

The end of Western Civilization

Uh, yeah.  Or you could log on one time, save the guide as a PDF file and print it out.  Did you really write an entire column whining because you are too stupid or lazy to do that?

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: May 29, 2009 11:54 pm

The end of Western Civilization

209 x 120=Dodd doesn't know how to use a calculator

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: May 29, 2009 5:07 pm

The end of Western Civilization

Agreed to a certain extent. Some find it a slap in the face that a media guide isn't given to us - what's next? No drinks at the game.

On the flip side, it's easier to pick up a guide and absorb it while laying in bed, on a airplane or wherever. It is more convenient in certain realms.

In the end, it's cheaper to do it online. It's live, easier to update and always living. No argument there. Change is tough and it's an overall statement of life - the age of the printed document, the start of Western Civilization, is coming to a close.

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: May 29, 2009 4:57 pm

The end of Western Civilization


I've been in the Big House press box, and it is a lot easier to quickly search for players stats online than it is to flip through those media guides anyway. I think this is a great way for UofM and OSU to save money.

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: May 29, 2009 2:50 pm

The end of Western Civilization

  I'm sorry, it just sounds like media sour grapes to me.  The writers are irritated because the cost of having a printed guide is being passed on to them.  You don't need a printed guide for your job, it arguably just makes it easier.  Unless you are still working in the stone age, you are writing on a laptop which could easily store every media guide available.  The schools aren't paying your salary.  It's not their responsibility to make your job easier.  If you as a writer decide not to cover them, fans will find a writer that does.

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: May 29, 2009 2:22 pm

The end of Western Civilization - Bottom Line

Obviously none of you have worked in the media. You take a media guide with you on planes, in the hotel, wherever. If you are traveling to multiple games in a week across the country, you get to the destination, grab a media guide at the school and use it. Printing off 119 guides for football, 300+ for basketball and more is absurd.

Basically, it costs schools perhaps $15,000-$25,000 (at most) to print a media guide? Seriously. Just do it. They are the ones wanting the media coverage, the air time and the stats, figures and hype on a website. Make it easier, not harder.

Having worked on both sides of it, the yahoo's who are from local newspaper in Podunk, USA show up, get a media pass for one game, grab four media guides for their friends and go home kills it. Or the grizzly ol' scribe who comes in and demands "I need five media guides (though only one person works in their sports dept.) and one for my grandson".

And sure, CBS can afford to have some intern print online media guides, hole-punch and throw them in a binder, but how about the local newspaper in your town? The local TV station? You get the point.

The media guide used to be the grand production of the sports department, whether at the collegiate level or the pros. Who's on the cover? The big Heisman push. If they wanted to, all they had to do was sell a couple of ad spaces on the inside cover to foot the costs.

Finally, this just summizes the situation across the country. The CEO at your company doesn't take a cut while taking his $30/plate lunch, but now the free coffee or the company picnic is cut because "it cost too much" for the people actually doing the work. Coaches don't take a cut, but guarantee that the sports information department now has been cut by an employee and probably has three student interns covering four full-time jobs.  

Sure, bash Dodd, because that's what's fun to do. But in reality, it is a joke - whether at College U or at Company XYZ - to cut the rink-dink costs to essential items in the budget rather than cut something that really should be cut.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or