What made it into today’s column:
On the USCTrojans.com website where the original story of senior defensive back Josh Shaw’s heroic exploits were once documented, the link produces this message now: “We’re sorry, this page does not exist.”
Fact is, what exists is a messy aftermath that’s hardly forgotten.
In this week’s column, we go straight to USC professors Dan Durbin and Jeff Fellenzer and USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone about how the story that was too good to be true started and how it may serve as another lesson for journalism students.
Other things of note best suited to included here:
== We asked a few Fox Sports college football guys about the ramifications of the Shaw saga undermining the USC’s opener against Fresno State at the Coliseum.
=Stewart Mandel, the Fox Sports college football “insider,” said that as a writer he has always appreciated USC’s openness with reporters “with the rare exception of Lane Kiffin’s situation last year. Here they were trying to get out in front of a story and actually put it out there why he was injured. So many would have just said he injured himself in practice. Or maybe not disclose the details. Here they are, telling us, and it backfires in a major media market like L.A. where it only gets magnified. I can’t see how it’s not going to be a distraction. It’s not just sports media at the practices now, but entertainment show reporters and what not. That’ll continue to be a soap opera that hovers the program.”
=Charles Davis, the analyst for Fox’s game coverage (Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11)with play-by-play man Gus Johnson. “Here’s a senior leader, spoke at the graduation last year, and all of the sudden the story is ‘what? what?’ … Sark knows it’s going not away until this gets resolved.”
=Joel Klatt, a studio analyst on the Fox pregame show, added: “Whoever you believe, the lessons USC has to learn from all this they’re not trying to cover anything up. The coverup is always worse than the crime. Them at the forefront trying to protect their program and support their kid, that’s the utmost importance. I was at Colorado during on the most tumultuous times any program has been through with Gary Barnett in the spring of ’04. He was suspended. There were allegations all around us. The best place to be through all that as a player was in the locker room and on the field. They can’t wait to get to the Coliseum and make it go away. College football players are some of the most resilient players on the face of the planet and I know that through personal experience.”
=Dave Wannestedt, the one-time USC defensive line coach some 30 years ago and now part of the Fox pregame show: “I’ll say one thing – the quickest way to be defeated is to be distracted.”
As for other angles on this:
== The ESPN guy who moonlights on “Wipeout!” calls USC a “clown college.” Consider the source.
== A reporter’s mea culpa on how it played out on his watch.
== Piecing the Shaw timeline through other media sources.
== Is USC in “crisis management” situation again?
== Does this story just summarize the way the media is in 2014?
More to consider:
== Paul Tracy, the four-time Long Beach Grand Prix winner who ended up doing 10 Indy Racing League events on NBCSN this season in his first year as a non-regular driver, credits the fact that the network has seen a 35 percent increase in viewership this year over last because of much higher visibility.
“Since the initial contract with Versus (in 2006), this network has done a much better job promoting and commercializing the sport with the NBC affiliation,” said Tracy, who’ll be on the broadcast of Saturday night’s IRL finale from Fontana, the MAVTV 500, on NBCSN at 6 p.m. “I think people are more familiar with the more common name than it was. It’s easier to want to want it. It doesn’t seem so obscure. People know where to find the channel better. And the TV production is really good and we’re able to see a lot more of the personalities.”
NBCSN has had an average of 390,000 viewers through the first 11 races in 2014, compared to 288,000 in 2013.
Saturday’s pre-race coverage from Fontana will include Tracy sitting down with Team Penske owner Roger Penske for a discussion about the success of his team’s Will Power and Helio Castroneves, are are first and second in the standings as part of the Penske team.
The 47-year-old Tracy, who drove for Team Penske earlier in his career that started in the mid 1980s, said he “wasn’t super keen at first” getting into TV analysis work because of the thought that once you do it, you’re racing career is done.
“I wasn’t ready to let go of that sliver of hope of getting back into the car, but I had to realize that no one was beating down my door to get me back on a team. I’d never done TV before but I have a good knowledge of how the races can unfold, the psyche of the driver and all that. I watch all kinds of races — Indy, NASCAR — and I can spot things most people dont’ see. It was nerve-wracking at first, but I’m getting much more comfortable with it.”
== Do we need to talk any more about an all-female sports chat show that’ll make it onto CBS Sports Net by the end of September? Does the show’s title “We Need to Talk” send up a red flag?
== Did you realize that Fox Sports 1 is already 1 year old? Neither did we.
== The other broadcast teams of note for Week 1 of the college football season:
= UCLA at Virginia (ESPN, 9 a.m. Saturday, with Bob Wischusen and Matt Millen)
= Florida State vs. Oklahoma State in Dallas (Channel 7, 5 p.m. Saturday, with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit)
= Arkansas at Auburn (SEC Network, 1 p.m., Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer)
== Rick Neuheisel’s latest songification of “Stairway to Playoffs” for the Dan Patrick show:
== ESPN2 has decided that, one year into the revival of Keith Olbermann in “Olbermann,” the show will move to a 2 p.m. (PDT) spot and tightening up to a half hour starting Sept. 8. Olbermann broke the “news” on his show earlier this week, as well as the note he’ll return to do some “SportsCenter” gigs sometime in the future.
== How I helped narrate the Dodger Stadium part of the weekend spent by KLAC-AM (570) sports producer and reporter Tim Cates.
== Dick Enberg returns to Arthur Ashe Stadium to do one final match from the U.S. Open, part of a deal CBS made with him and the San Diego Padres so he could leave his play-by-play duties this weekend when they play the Dodgers and join the network as it wraps up its 47th and final year on the event.
“Emotionally, for a lot of people, there are some deep feelings,” Enberg, CBS’ lead Open voice from 2000-2011, told New York Newsday. The 79-year-old will call a match to be determined on Sunday with analysts John McEnroe and Mary Carillo. “I’m honored,” he added. “When I’ve shared it with my friends, they had the same reaction: That’s really great. It will be nice to hear you one more time on tennis.” Enberg also will be part of CBS’ final weekend coverage on Sept. 6-8, contributing an essay reliving memorable US Open moments.
== ESPN reports last week’s Little League World Series was the most-watched ever on the ESPN networks (that’s ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 combined), with an average audience of 1.72 million viewers, up 71 percent from 2013. The networks carried 54 games, including the regionals leading into the games at Williamsport, Pa.