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Saturday, July 14, 2007

The iFan vs. the NCAA

As Selena Roberts points out in tomorrow's New York Times, it's the iFan all the way. Excerpts:

The iFan, armed with a BlackBerry or an iPhone, a cellphone camera or a text message, is actually better equipped to be a caretaker of college athletics than the sleuths at the N.C.A.A., whose water guns and magnifying glasses leave them best suited to guard a tip jar.

Exactly when is the N.C.A.A.’s investigation of Reggie Bush’s luxury family digs while he was a star at the University of Southern California going to conclude?

The iFan, as an embedded member of the fight-song culture, can be considered more diligent in the oversight of a program than serially incurious university compliance officers who ignore the sudden appearance of Cadillac Escalades in the player parking lot.

Those earnest university officials don’t self-police, they self-protect. The disingenuousness of authority figures on campus leaves those searching for real answers to try an alternate route that, in essence, violates the core tenet of childhood: go ahead, trust a stranger.

An anonymous post on a bulletin board can possess as much veracity as the selective account of an athletic department curator.

...Not everyone in a chat room is such an impeccable source of information. But more and more, the message board has become a place where news isn’t made up, but made.

“It’s a paradigm shift in how information is disseminated,” [one board's administrator] said. “Our viewership continues to increase each year. People everywhere have become citizen reporters.”

Whistleblowers of the iFan crowd are now equipped to investigate what the N.C.A.A. can’t — or won’t.