Saturday, June 12

The AP: Hypocritical Arbiters or Just USC Fans?

With the release of the NCAA's investigation the USC Trojans are poised to lose their 2004 BCS National Title, but not their AP title. AP Sports editor Terry Taylor, stated that the title will stand, "The poll is intended to measure on-field performance. If teams are allowed to play, they're allowed to be ranked and USC certainly played in 2004." This decision comes just a month after the AP decided awards weren't about on-field performance. Who reigns as AP award winners remains largely insignificant to most, who aren't USC fans, but has the AP declared itself the arbiter of rules without telling anyone? There in lies the true significance of their latest decision.

"The poll is intended to measure on-field performance. If teams are allowed to play, they're allowed to be ranked and USC certainly played in 2004."

Let's talk on-field performance: 87 Tackles, 5 Sacks, 4 Interceptions, and 2 Forced Fumbles.

That was Brian Cushing's on-filed production during his rookie year with the Houston Texans. Three months after receiving his Rookie of the Year award from the AP it was announced that he would be suspended the first four games of next season. The AP decided a re-vote was in order. Ms. Taylor justified it by saying, "I think there's a heightened awareness out there. I think there's less tolerance, you know, for PEDs, for steroids, for anything that could, in some way, be considered a performance enhancer."

USC cheated, perhaps not chemically, but they cheated. Is the AP not as sanctimonious or do they not believe that run of the mill paying student-athletes is as damning as PEDs? This decision places a new value system on "degrees" of cheating with Ms. Taylor as the un-appointed judge and jury. Degrees of cheating is not a new concept, but until now no media institution had deemed itself worthy to rate these infractions. The AP chose to acknowledge the NFL's rules but ignore the NCAA's all on the basis of what? Timeliness? Part of the impetus for a re-vote was Cushing's admission that he had tested positive. So because USC repeatedly failed to cooperate, they're rewarded instead of punished by the AP. I wish bill collectors had the same policy.

During a time when the amount of media outlets with access continues to dwindle, the AP stood out as one without a stake in broadcast rights. Now, however, the AP has apparently decided it's no longer good enough to report facts and break stories, they are now in a position to decide which rules should be followed. As a consumer we can only hope that they don't abandon reporting on stories such as student athletes getting paid, because they've clearly decided it's not nearly as troubling as PED use. Congratulations Ms. Taylor, your name is once again being discussed. It certainly seems like that may be even more important to her than being consistent or the AP's credibility.

No comments: