The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Evil ... Thy name is Orville Redenbacher!!, May 17, 2011.

  1. Two stories - and soon to be plenty more - that will continue to make the bowl system and major college football look bad.
    The Wiz of Odds requested and obtained 56 of the 70 bowl teams' expense reports.
    Starting Wednesday, the site will start detailing the reports.
    Here is an overview of the reports which details two different sides of what colleges report to the NCAA and what they feed the public. Iowa and UConn are used as examples.
    http://www.thewizofodds.com/the_wiz_of_odds/2011/05/bowl-games-silly-extravagance-or-worthwhile-tradition.html#tp

    The second story is what the Wiz went through to obtain the reports. Central Florida and UT were difficult to deal with. With good reason in UCF's case.

    http://www.thewizofodds.com/the_wiz_of_odds/2011/05/bowl-expense-reports-the-story-behind-the-story.html

     
  2. poindexter

    poindexter Active Member

    Good work, bloggers.
     
  3. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Active Member

    I can't wait to see ADs justifying losing money on bowl trip once he releases the individual expense reports.
     
  4. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Moderator Staff Member

    Prestige, marketing, recruiting, front porch of the university, etc.
     
  5. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    Awesome stuff.
     
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Active Member

    I think the question that needs to be asked is:

    Why couldn't the New York Times do this? (Nothing against Thamel, who breaks story after story. Just being hypothetical to make a larger point).

    Why couldn't USA Today do this?

    Why couldn't ANY OF US do this?

    In 2011, you don't need "access" to perform real journalism. You need a wireless connection, a phone line, patience, tenacity, and a working understanding of how to obtain documents.

    Most of us, and I have been there, are happy to take the path of least resistance. We are just happy to be on a "Division I beat." It is often a dream fulfilled. Meanwhile, we all just got housed.
     
  7. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Kudos.

    After a cursory reading, can't say enough nice things about this.
     
  8. Brooklyn Bridge

    Brooklyn Bridge Active Member

    The Hartford Courant did a couple of stories outlining the cost of UConn's bowl trip. Received a shrug and so what from the general public.
     
  9. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Active Member

    I'm glad they did it, but it's tough to get one fan base fired up about indiscretions or systemic waste - because there's no context to anchor it into.

    I think to make a splash you almost have to go national or at least conference-wide like this.
     
  10. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    Isn't Wiz of Odds a former LA Daily News guy?
     
  11. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    I've been reporting on bowl finances for the team I cover for more than a decade. It's one of hundreds of stories done each year and generally a non-story.

    The specifics of the trips, including itemized expenses and who is part of the traveling party, are readily available.
     
  12. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Active Member

    The biggest resource needed for a project like this is time, something scarce to many modern reporters. It takes a lot of hours to go ask for expense reports from all 70 schools (many of whom are private and will laugh in your face when you ask), then to fight schools for them when they say no and a huge amount of time to read through them all, understand them and then parse them like this. Only writing about the school you cover might be less impactful, but it's the most realistic option for local reporters.

    If you've got a boss that will allow you to take time off from your beat and not gripe at you if you get beat on a breaking story because you're working on this, or if you're on a staff where you've got a little redundancy and can trust someone else to watch your beat for a while, then this is absolutely the type of story you should pursue. But in this era of smaller staffs and less redundancy, a story of this scope is difficult to take on except in at your largest outlets. And that's before you consider a factor of a boss breathing down your neck about the story before you have time to analyze it completely or find something as damning as the UCF mess.

    Well-run blogs generally have the leeway of not being required to break the day-to-day news that readers eat up from newspapers or television stations. This particular blog has four posts in April and only two so far in May. Go check how many stories Thamel or the USA Today people have in that timespan, and you'll find the answer to why stories like this are less common.
     

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