While the Birmingham News and its sportswriters were obsessing over Justin Knox and his transfer status, the New York Times was hard at work exposing an NCAA probe of alleged cheating in Birmingham.
What went wrong? Why was the local paper scooped by a national publication?
There are many reasons. However, the key point is the News has lost its way. Its leadership is biased, and its product useless.
The Birmingham News is out of touch. The News would rather focus on bad news for Alabama than real news—like cheating happening right under its nose.
Instead of propping up failed athletic departments like UAB, or running press releases for Auburn football recruiting, the Birmingham News should report. In this case there were some serious allegations of cheating. According to the New York Times report, “A college coach who recruited Bledsoe said that Ford explicitly told his coaching staff that he needed a specific amount of money to let Bledsoe sign with that university. The coach, who did not want to be named out of fear of repercussions when recruiting in Birmingham, said Ford told him and his staff that he was asking for money because he was helping pay rent for Bledsoe and his mother. Ford denied this, saying, ‘I don’t prostitute my kids.’”
Of course, the Birmingham News wouldn’t like this story. This story puts a negative light on Kentucky and John Calipari, and Calipari has a checkered NCAA past.
Calipari has an interesting connection to Auburn. According to this AP report (embedded below), Auburn’s new basketball coach is a John Calipari protégé.
It raises a host of interesting questions. One key question that must be asked, how much like John Calipari is Tony Barbee? And what exactly did Barbee learn from Calipari? Don’t expect any of those questions to be answered in the Birmingham News. Thankfully, there is always the New York Times.