Author Topic: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports  (Read 1485 times)

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Offline Evil ... Thy name is Orville Redenbacher!!

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The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« on: May 17, 2011, 09:26:54 AM »
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

Quote
Based on the average expense for 56 teams multiplied by 70, The Wiz of Odds is providing a profile for a bowl team:
On average, a team spent $1.31 million on a bowl trip. Of that amount, $321,422 went to cover costs for absorbed tickets.
The 70 teams combined to run up expenses of $92.09 million.
Totaled, teams spent $22.49 million on absorbed tickets, nearly 25 percent of their overall expenses.
The average number of people in an official travel party was 568. That encompasses the team, coaching staff, band, cheerleaders, faculty, and athletics department personnel.

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

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Nonetheless, I secured the report two weeks ago through a third party. After examination, I can see why Central Florida didn't want it in the public domain. The Conference USA school spent nearly $1.7 million sending its team, band, cheerleaders, faculty and athletic department officials to Memphis for five days.
That's more than three times the C-USA allowance of $539,000. Beale Street never looked so good.
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Offline poindexter

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2011, 09:39:55 AM »
Good work, bloggers.


Offline Inky_Wretch

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2011, 10:28:43 AM »
I can't wait to see ADs justifying losing money on bowl trip once he releases the individual expense reports.
Chop your own wood, it will warm you twice.

Offline TrooperBari

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2011, 10:32:07 AM »
I can't wait to see ADs justifying losing money on bowl trip once he releases the individual expense reports.

Prestige, marketing, recruiting, front porch of the university, etc.
If any man is able to convince me and show me that I do not think or act right, I will gladly change; for I seek the truth by which no man was ever injured. But he is injured who abides in his error and ignorance. -- Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

Offline Bubbler

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2011, 10:33:53 AM »
Awesome stuff.
The cerebral musicality of jazz mixed with the visceral groove of funk.

You came here with a mouse in a bottle and now you're the mouse.

You're wrong my Bubby. I don't know ass. My degree is in journalism with a minor in hard knocks, not assology.

Offline Dick Whitman

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2011, 10:36:24 AM »
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.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 10:40:54 AM by Dick Whitman »

Offline Ben_Hecht

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2011, 10:39:18 AM »
Kudos.

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

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2011, 11:15:58 AM »
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.

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.

Offline Dick Whitman

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2011, 11:45:25 AM »
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.

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.

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.

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2011, 03:04:42 PM »
Isn't Wiz of Odds a former LA Daily News guy?

Offline armageddon

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2011, 03:21:20 PM »
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.

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.


Offline Smash Williams

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2011, 03:39:59 PM »
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.

Offline Michael_ Gee

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2011, 03:46:06 PM »
The impact of this story is a cumulative one. It's ALL the reports showing the pattern of big losses that's important. And that's something the regular college beat reporter can't really do. Covering one's own team's bowl trip like Armageddon and getting the financial facts out is a valuable story that ought to be done. But as he noted, it doesn't have as much impact, because it's just one school.

Offline armageddon

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2011, 05:46:27 PM »
The impact of this story is a cumulative one. It's ALL the reports showing the pattern of big losses that's important. And that's something the regular college beat reporter can't really do. Covering one's own team's bowl trip like Armageddon and getting the financial facts out is a valuable story that ought to be done. But as he noted, it doesn't have as much impact, because it's just one school.


All that, and the fact that the team I cover has the nerve to keep expenses in check for its bowl trips. Who do they think they are being all fiscally responsible?   ;)

Offline Dick Whitman

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Re: The Wiz of Odds goes after bowl expense reports
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2011, 06:09:03 PM »
Good points, Smash. In other words, an indictment more of bare bones newsrooms than single reporters already worked to the bone.