The Washington Times - February 14, 2009, 09:30PM

Time for some complaining about media treatment.

So if you don’t want to bother with the rest of this entry, it’s completely understood. At the same time, you’ve been warned – so no complaining about the complaining.

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Anyway, Maryland and Georgetown have long been in a cage match to determine which school has lousier media access. For the longest time, the Hoyas have “won” this dubious honor and seemed pretty much unconcerned about it (which is both annoying and bizarrely worthy of some respect at the same time, given the consistency of it all regardless of whether Georgetown is good or bad). The old line about Hoya Paranoia has legitimate roots, and for better or for worse the private school is rather restrictive vis-a-vis many other schools.

It’s also provided some ammo for coach Gary Williams, who on at least one occasion has said availability for media is – and I’m paraphrasing from memory, but I’m pretty sure I’m spot-on in the recollection – good for schools around here.

Emphasis on the around here part.

Being able to scale a bar so low you can step over is not something to be proud of, though it was impossible to disagree with that counterassessment. That’s not a pleasing thing to admit. Not at all.

Anyway, it’s fair to say a three-part series in the Washington Post this week (which youmay haveheard about) ruffled some sensibilities at Maryland. It was a thorough, well-researched and well-written take on the last six years, and clearly there were a lot of resources poured into the analytical undertaking.

That said, only an idiot would say that it didn’t help lead to this little gem passed out by Maryland officials at halftime:

MEDIA ADVISORY – POSTGAME CHANGE

Beginning with today’s game against Virginia Tech, all postgame interview with Maryland’s men’s basketball players will take place in the media work room.

The interviews will begin after head coach Gary Williams finishes his postgame news conference in the Comcast Center Pavilion.

Media will be polled late in the second half for interview requests, with as many of those players as possible made available in the media work room.

The Maryland locker room will be closed to all but players and staff.

We feel a more structured environment will be beneficial for our student-athletes and the program, while still achieving our goal of providing accessibility to the media. This policy is already successfully in place with a number of our other teams.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Count me as not especially understanding. When I was “polled” in the second half, I replied “everyone who played.” Bank on that being the standard answer going forward.

This is not good, not just because of more limited access (which it effectively is, since the number of player milling about to talk to is getting cut), but because availability is not terribly generous heading into games. For example, if Maryland loses, you can pretty much count on not seeing any players in the media room before the next game. If Maryland wins, you usually get two players, their identities determined  usually on class schedules and relevance – i.e. we have not and are unlikely to see a benchwarmer like Steve Goins in the interview room this season.

So it’s restricted on one end, and restricted on the other end. Fantastic.

Something to point out that seems to get forgotten; generally, better, more interesting (and often more flattering) stories are going to get written when there’s an increased chance to actually get to know players better. It’s a stunning concept. Revolutionary, almost.

You’d think at this stage Maryland could use a little bit of that. It has a team that’s 16-8, on the edge of contending for an NCAA tournament berth and probably would like to see the spotlight taken away from offcourt issues that bleach, white-out or any other erasing substances aren’t going to clear up any time soon.

Instead, the school would rather be like its neighbor inside the Beltway. And that’s a shame – for reporters and readers alike.

Patrick Stevens