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Coach inflated stats — story?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BertoltBrecht, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. BertoltBrecht

    BertoltBrecht Member

    Going through last year's numbers, I noticed one of the local prep football coaches gave us inflated numbers for a kid. The kid earned an all-state award for last season — and his inflated numbers certainly deserve one. His normal numbers maybe not. If I find out the inflated numbers were the ones he sent to the award association, is that a story?
  2. Yeahhhhhhman. That's a bigger story than any of the prep games you covered this year.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

  4. Whyyy, Spnited?

    You write it in a way that absolves the kid of responsibility...and you feel tremendously bad for the blameless kid...but you certainly write it. If you don't, why do you work for a NEWSpaper?

    (Sorry, no itals available - not yelling at you.)

    The only way I think you could justify not writing it: if you didn't cover this team at all - if you had 20 high schools in your coverage area and merely wrote a little blurb about this kid being all-state. But if you COVERED the team, you have to cover this.
  5. Re: Coach inflated stats — story?

    (PS: it is situations like this which make me feel extra-ridiculous for writing with such seriousness about 16-year-olds playing basketball. But since we do our best to uphold our communities' pretensions about the seriousness of their doings - and since, indeed, many of our jobs depend on that pretense - we have to write about the legitimately serious things, however uncomfortable, that occur in their orbits.)
  6. BertoltBrecht

    BertoltBrecht Member

    This is a small area, around 10 high schools and we wrote an extended brief on the accomplishment — he was the only area player to make it.
  7. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Re: Coach inflated stats — story?

    No, it's not a story. No, no, no, no, no.

    Prep stats are inherently flawed, because you've got unskilled scorers compiling them -- usually parents, or high school classmates doubling as "team managers." Half of 'em don't know how to keep score in a baseball game, and always give the home team a base hit regardless of how bad the error was.

    And I can't tell you how many hundreds of soccer calls I've taken over the years where the goalkeeper made 30+ saves. ::)

    It's not a story. And this is not "legitimately serious." It's an overworked high school coach who passed off the stat-keeping to an assistant or a volunteer, and who probably wouldn't know how to do them right even if he did have the time ... or a clear game tape to confirm it afterward.

    It's worthless.
  8. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    That's a lot of a headache to bother with.
    and coaches inflate numbers all the time.
    Even if you were to do this and make an issue, you'd have to be able to prove beyond a doubt that your numbers, not the coaches, are correct. Do you have game film to prove this? Sure the coach does, but why would he produce it?
    Who votes on this? Other coaches? Sportwriters? An actual association separate from coaches and writers? If it;s coaches, most of them would know if the numbers are legit anyway, as a few of those coaches wil know the kid, and know if he's really that good.

    DO you really want the isolation the coach gives you if you do this? What good could come of it? A kid gets an award taken away? Unlikely. Another awarded? also unlikely? coach fired? seriously doubt that. most likely all it does is make the coach less likely to work with you.
    instead, and again you better have proof to back this up, write a general story on how coaches inflate numbers and it isnt helping the game or the kids. otherwise there's no story.
  9. BertoltBrecht

    BertoltBrecht Member

    Well, I guess there's the rub. This guy is trying to get this kid recruited in his eyes. He's asked for me to write a lot of stories to "get his name out there."
    Earlier in last season, he wanted me to make up a story — he wrote it on a piece of paper and handed it to me. He said he wanted me to pump up his kids. My one regret is not taking the piece of paper so I could see what ridiculous story he had written in five minutes that was designed to pump up his team.
    That being said, I'm 95 percent sure he just flubbed the numbers to get that kid some attention.
  10. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    i disagree. i think there are some coaches who blatantly lie (big) to give there kids inflated numbers. if dickhead coach is doing as much, he needs to stop.

    all-state players generally are chosen because of their numbers. if the coach purposely lied, some other deserving kid got fucked.

    i know you're approaching this topic as though its a honest (ignorant) mistake, but i don't think that fact is a slam dunk.
  11. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Lots of things to address here.
    First, would a college that is recruiting a kid ever say to a coach "We have a problem here. You say Tommy Tailback gained 1,000 yards. The Podunk Times has him for 975?"
    Colleges look at game films and how kids do in different summer camps and combines more than stats and newspaper articles. I'd expect that line of bullshit from a parent, not a coach. A kid could gain 2,000 yards in a season, but if he's 5-5, 145 he's not going to get a scholarship to USC.
    It's not at all unusual for coaches to inflate stats and as one person here said, many times it's a student manager who doesn't know what he or she is doing.
    If coaches do the stats off the game tapes, it may be more accurate than what we do because no matter how good we may be, unless we have the priviledge of watching the game tapes, we still only get one chance to get it right.
    Also, I've said this before and some of you may disagree, but in my 18 years of covering high school football, I've learned that keeping stats is not as exact a science as many people might think. If all of us were at the same game, watching from a similar vantage point and keeping stats, I can guarantee you no two of us would come up with the same exact numbers.If I'm a yard or two off from the team stat guy or a guy from another paper, I don't worry about it too much as long as I'm in the ballpark.
  12. BertoltBrecht

    BertoltBrecht Member

    Well, here it goes. Consider this, the player is a kicker. His longest during the season according to our stats: 40 yards. According to guy's stats he's got three field goals of 50-plus, including a 56-yarder.
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