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Policies on athlete signings?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HejiraHenry, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Here at our 35K daily, we have long since abandoned the grip-n-grin signing photos, but the issue of how handle PR releases on signings continues to be a vexation.

    Anybody got a good policy statement or document on the subject?

    It seems to me it's a multi-tiered question. Division I signings, especially to "real" major colleges, are at the top of the pyramid. We get a handful of these a year, and I feel like it's still a pretty big deal – even worth a little feature when possible.

    At the bottom are the hundred-plus kids we get signing at one of the three community colleges in our area. We have sorta mindlessly run briefs on all of these as provided to us, until we realized we were being "gamed" by the SIDs. They might sign 12 soccer kids, then dribble the signings out over 2-3 weeks. I've finally called BS on that, because it raises all kinds of issues about equity and we run the risk of missing one of their dozen e-mails.

    Seems to me all that's needed there is for the school to provide a final list of signings to run once, perhaps with a brief to say they signed 12 kids, three of whom played for the state semifinalist or some such.

    Any thoughts?
  2. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Your big list idea would seem to be the best.

    Ask the SIDs if they can send a final list of everyone so you don't miss one of their emails.
  3. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    As much as I hate the grip-and-grins, we still run them.

    Our policy, as informal as it is, goes something like this:

    Full write-ups only on Division I signings. If it's a multiple deal where others are signing with lower schools, we'll throw in a paragraph or two about them but that's it. Otherwise, Division II or below is standalone photo only.

    And Division III "signing" photos get swatted into the rafters. Division III schools cannot award athletic scholarships; therefore, we do not allow ANY signing materials (not even academic scholarship paperwork) in these photos. It keeps the local D-III school off our backs and prevents potential NCAA problems for the signee.
  4. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    I'm not even sure why jucos merit attention.
  5. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Congratulations for submitting an online application to Greendale. I don't think there is a valid reason for writing a bylined story on some kid signing with a juco.
  6. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    If your area has a JUCO program then it might be a big deal there.
  7. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Or so the 100 fans think.
  8. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    It's a funny situation in our market, and not funny ha-ha.

    One of the area jucos has an SID who used to be a local sportscaster. They provide little signing videos to the local TV stations and these stations – in a market that serves two SEC schools – will sometimes lead their sportscasts with this stuff, just because it's handed to them.

    The other school, in self defense, bulked up its PR operation. So we get a deluge of that mess. Sort of like the frog in the pot of water, we didn't notice as the pile of e-mails got higher and higher. Now I'm trying to bring some order to the chaos.
  9. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Some schools in our area will package the one DI football star with the 6-7 other kids on the team going to Lenoir-Rhyne or Millsaps. Then they bitch when the 5-10, 180-pound linebacker didn't get the same attention as the 4-star running back.

    They also honestly believe we will send a photographer for the three juco softball signings they might have. Or when a soccer player signs with Wofford or something.

    One paper I used to work at also had to quietly ban high school players from using their children as props. One guy had two kids and wanted the picture of his signing with a kid on each knee. Uh, no ... sends a bit of the wrong message.
  10. Lollygaggers

    Lollygaggers Member

    Most cases they don't, but baseball can be an exception. Some JUCO baseball teams could maybe even compete at the lower D-I level because a lot of talent goes there to keep their draft eligibility. So I treat JUCO signings in baseball like I would a D-II, run a head shot with a few grafs in paper, throw some signing photos online. As for the question at hand with a local college, yeah, run a big list all at the same time, unless they're kids from your area also going there, then maybe run a brief.
  11. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    That's exactly how we do it. I'm glad to see a thread about this. This is an issue I constantly have to deal with.
  12. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Hate the grip-and-grins and we don't run them either.

    My thought is to keep a running file of "signings" and several times a year put out an issue focused on them. Run a profile on the biggest name or most interesting signing, then run a sidebar detailing the others...it makes a nice package and gives it the attention it deserves in my opinion.
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