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How to handle "pay-for-play" all-star teams?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cadet, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    I'm starting to get half-baked press releases for "pay-for-play" summer prep tours and all-star teams. You know, the kind where the kids are "selected to play in prestigious tournaments" and "play in front of top-level college coaches" if they fork over a couple thousand dollars. These tours and tournaments are run by for-profit sports marketing agencies.

    The parents and kids are led to believe this is a prestigious honor and want it written up as such. Personally, the whole concept of these things and the families they're baiting make me sick. Apparently it's not good enough to go to State U.'s summer camp anymore.

    But I digress. How does your paper handle these? Do they get a two-sentence brief? Is there any explanation of the "pay-for-play" nature of these teams/tours?
  2. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    A two-sentence brief.

    If they want any more, they can BUY AN AD.

    It's a profit-making enterprise (more accurately, a scam).
  3. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Oh, I agree it's a scam. Thus the half-baked press releases.

    One mom wants me to promote her daughter's fundraising efforts so she can go to a camp in Hawaii. Uh, no.

    Part of me wants to explain that these things are "pay-for-play" so there is some perspective to the "honor".
  4. Screwball

    Screwball Active Member

    Hey Cadet,

    Isn't this an enterprise story waiting to happen? What exactly do they promise the parents in return for their money? What's in writing? Do the kids and parents from previous years feel their money was well spent? Why? What do college coaches and recruiters have to say about these events? If you're striking out everyone, is a college coach really going to pass on you because you didn't participate in one of these events?

    Go get 'em ...
  5. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    We run staff report graphs, don't even give them headlines rather some type of reverse head. Anyhow, if your paper runs local scores, then this should get it. But as far as turning into a story? I think not.

    How many AAU stories ever get bylined? This is the same concept. Pay to play on a travel team.
  6. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I think screwball just nailed it!
  7. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

  8. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Oh, absolutely, bullshit on the cupcake feature stories to pump up the fundraising campaign for Little Jimmy to go play basketball or baseball or whatever in Hawaii, Australia or Europe.

    I want to go to Hawaii, Australia and Europe too. Plenty of people want to go to Hawaii, Australia and Europe. If Little Jimmy wants to go so bad, let Jimmy's Daddy and Jimmy's Mommy write a check.

    And if the readers feel the urge to contribute to some admirable cause, call a food bank.

    Screwball nails it above:

    Give 'em the two-sentence brief, and if they pester you for any more of a story, give it to 'em -- do a complete investigative story, find out how much money they're charging, find out the criteria for invitation (almost always, the only criteria is having parents who will pay the entry fee), talk to college coaches to confirm that almost none of them base their recruiting on any way whatsoever on watching kids on these teams, talk to some disgruntled former players and their parents and, essentially, get the quotes in which they say that they just threw away their money.

    Your paper will never get pestered by these idiots again.
  9. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    And my personal favorite part of the release:
    "Dear Slappy,
    "It was good to talk to you last week..."
    No you didn't. Buy a fucking ad.
  10. Meat Loaf

    Meat Loaf Guest

    Great idea.

    There's really not a lot of this in my neck of the country due to the lackluster talent. I don't think I can even name one.
  11. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Talent isn't really a requirement. Money is.
  12. We've talked about these in our office and we wonder when the NCAA is going to shut these down. Essentially, the guys running these are acting as agents. Doesn't that violate NCAA rules?
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