Didn’t expect the tweaked media policy here in College Park to come up after practice.
But come up it did. And in the spirit of fairness, here’s pretty much a transcript of the exchange about the first time Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has kept reporters away from stretching, which theoretically will make it more difficult to take attendance each day.
“Yeah, it is [the first time],” Friedgen said, smiling. “I like it that way, too. You guys have been living off the good for a long time.”
“You can get a lot out of that stretching,” noted Keith Cavanaugh of the Terrapin Times.
“Oh, I know,” Friedgen said. “I’m trying to see if I can put another sheet over that gate so you can’t look through and see, too.”
This is the point where it seemed worth observing the obvious.
“That’s not a way to get more coverage,” I said.
“Hey, you guys ain’t going to cover me anyway, so what the hell’s the difference,” Friedgen said.
“I’m pointing out this would be the one day not to antagonize,” I replied. “The people were waiting to rush in today.”
“I let you in all spring, all the time,” Friedgen asserted. “Is there another team that does that? How many write-ups did I get this spring?”
While there isn’t another major-college team inside the Capital Beltway that would completely open spring practice (which clearly isn’t saying anything), here’s betting a few other schools nationally would do it. But he is right when he points out reporters weren’t beating down his door to watch practice back in March and April.
It’s nice Ralph can keep a sense of humor about this, and it’s certainly more tolerable to deal with this sort of thing at the start of the season rather than having some dust-up at midstream.
But this truth remains: If you want to restrict access further than you have (which remains Ralph perogative within the walls of his realm), there is going to be a disconnect when you complain about a lack of coverage. Moving closer to Citadel College Park isn’t a winning plan to create more attention.
And since the media scrum was down to its typical six-person crew (Times, Post, Sun, Diamondback, Terrapin Times, Turtle Sports Report) by the late afternoon, it doesn’t look like overall coverage is likely to expand all that much this year.
—- Patrick Stevens