Want a little perspective over the flap you read about
recently pertaining to OU Athletics and sports supplements?
If the Sooner strength and conditioning staff decided
to kick things up a cultural level or two and replace
sport drinks with green tea, the OU compliance staff
would have to file precisely the same NCAA self-report
notice that the Associated Press "unearthed" earlier
in the week.
That's right; green tea is on the list of supplements
that universities cannot provide to student-athletes.
To do so is to commit an NCAA violation, one that the
NCAA would almost certainly classify as secondary,
but one that must be reported just the same.
You probably think I am making light of the supplement
rule itself. Hardly. We all know the danger of supplement
and substance abuse and if green tea is on that list,
as silly as it may seem to you and me, there is probably
a good reason.
No, what I am making light of is the "little boy
that cried out `fire' in the crowded theater" mentality
that exists among some, not all, members of the media.
These same reporters know that each year the NCAA
receives thousands (yes, thousands) of self-reported
secondary violations and that nearly all of them are
so mundane that they never reach the public's eye.
They also know that they can take the letters O
and U, combine them with the word "substance" and write
a story or a headline that will spike your blood pressure
and, in turn, their ratings.
If the audience doesn't take the time to notice
that the substance being reported is green tea-like,
a reporter might just earn a badge for, in my best
Walter Cronkite impersonation, solid reporting.
Even with a small collection of accurate facts,
reporting cannot rate as solid unless it includes perspective
I could write the fact that I have a hang nail with
such dramatic flair that you'd swear I need surgery.
It's called sensationalizing.
We all have intricacies in our jobs that rate as
routine to us, but might come as a surprise, albeit
a false one, to outsiders. If you don't work in a college
athletics department you can be victimized by someone
that takes our routine and outlines it in neon.
For those of us that do work in this environment,
secondary violations rarely reach that level. It's
frustrating when someone else takes them there and
then we have to talk our fans back in off the ledge
and work to recover precious ground in the areas of
reputation and recruiting.
When this or any athletics department really, truly
steps in "it" from a rules standpoint, the media and
public at-large have every right to scrutinize procedures,
people, etc. But when media take the basic and attempt
to transform it into the major, it simply isn't fair
You deserve to know the story, just make sure you're
getting all of it, even relative to what happens at
other schools, and insist on the kind of reporting
that belongs in or on your favorite hard news source
and not in the grocery store checkout line.
While you're doing that, I'll warm a pot of tea.
And, no, Courtney Paris, you can't have any.
Mossman Prophecies Archive
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Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.