Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kyle Ringo pees his pants over Cody denying him an interview

Beginning with the "It's the Big XII!" talk he gave with reporters, which got leaked to the internet (ahem), and continuing with the "10 wins, no excuses" meme that grew from the media's coverage of the '08 Senior banquet, Dan Hawkins has continually been stunned by the play that his more outlandish statements got in the press. This led to a more standoffish Hawk, who, according to this August '09 article from Ringo, "... began answering more and more questions with short and occasionally terse responses, during spring practices. He eventually closed those practices to the public claiming he was being scouted through Internet practice reports." (link) While coaches close practice all the time, the jarring lack of effusive answers, which had been a hallmark of post-practice Hawk up to that point, was noticeable. (It was even more noticeable when after a 2-5 start, Hawk strolled into the press room to defend his position for over an hour, showing he still had that club in his bag. Ringo mockingly referred to it as a soliloquy.) About the noticeable change in attitude towards the media Hawk said, "There is no change. I've done this before. I mean, you know how it goes. Just the ebb and flow of it. Just the ebb and the flow of life." (link) As the season approached, I passed the changing nature of the Hawk-Press relationship off as more likely the result of his changing health (he had a scare with kidney stones). Whatever the reasoning, the mood around practices had changed, and reporters (Ringo specifically) began throwing snarky comments into their pieces.
(Not for nothing, but Ringo is a Cub fan.)

Before last year, this had mostly gone under the radar. When Hawk showed up on campus he appeared to be jovial and affable. Appearing in commercials and taking interviews, the image of a coach willing to take chances to win football games appealed to both the CU community and the media who covers the team. Then '06 happened. Ever since then, there has been a slight, but noticeable trend toward hostility between the two groups.

It certainly didn't help when last year, following the dissolution of the Rocky Mountain News, CU hired long-time News beat reporter B.G. Brooks to post content for At a time when media outlets were being shut out of practices, and getting reduced access to players and coaches alike, B.G.'s exclusive access was probably off-setting to the assembled media. B.G.'s hire was part of a broader effort by the Athletic Department to control access points, and push their brand through (At a meeting last fall, A.D. Mike Bohn told the assembled crowd, myself included, that you can forget the Daily Camera or the Denver Post, if you want information on the Buffs, go to our website.) More than likely the result of bad timing, it just didn't seem right to close off access to some beat reporters, while welcoming into the fold others.

While it is not Hawk's job to be constantly inviting to the press, I can see where the Kyle Ringo's of the world are coming from. They have to do a job, and the most direct way of doing that job is to talk to both the players and coaches of the program. There's only so much analysis a reader, like myself, will accept without direct responses to put it into context. Hawk's abrupt change in demeanor was jarring and had changed the symbiotic relationship between coaches and reporters. Hawk needs to put a good public face on his program while maintaining gamesmanship, and reporters need the coaches to provide information to the public that they are willing to pay for. The situation had soured the well. Ringo and the other beat writers were no longer giving Hawk an easy microphone for his cheery spin on the program, and Hawk was closing the doors.

("What is this spread offense you speak of?")

Difficulties are to be expected when promises of National Championships, Heisman Winners, and Big XII Titles turn out to be losing seasons, talent transfers, and coaches bailing. However, what's not expected is for people to start pissing contests, and stop talking to one another. That's childish shit that I pull, not what I expect from grown-ass men who depend on each other for a living. It annoys me to no end when Hawk gives short, pissy answers to questions. It's just as annoying when Ringo snarks at him from columns. It's even worse when Ringo snarks about the actions of a college age kid.

This morning I read Ringo's complaint about the lack of access to Cody Hawkins. It seems that Cody is not talking to the local beat reporters because of critical comments written about his dad. While it may be juvenile to not talk to someone cause they said mean things about your daddy, Ringo shouldn't be throwing Cody under the bus (no matter what national outlet he runs to). Yes, Cody should be a little more understanding about the situation his father is in, but with emotions running high, Ringo shouldn't be holding him to such a lofty standard.

To be fair, Ringo has been harsh to the Hawkins clan over the past year and a half (ESPN throwing CU in the Bottom 10 is certainly nothing compared to the semi-constant snark coming from the BDC.) It's only natural to want to defend your father from attack, and it's not Cody's responsibility to be the go-to quote in the locker room. If he doesn't want to talk to the press its his business. Are we really missing anything with Silent-Cody anyway? Ringo shouldn't be taking his problem's with Hawk out on Cody, that just aint fair.

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