Obviously, Doug Pacey's Sunday story on how local football recruits are reacting to comments on message boards and social media after choosing not to go Washington is generating plenty of debate on twitter and message boards, along with comments (some good, some bad, some funny) on the story itself.
Some quick thoughts...
1. There is no agenda here for Doug or myself. I know I was accused of hating the Huskies, liking the Cougars, watching the Bachelor and possibly being anti-Tim Tebow at various points today. As I said before when I first started this beat, I have no personal allegiances except to the University of Montana and Havre Blue Ponies. I cover the Huskies the same way I would any team. Part of that coverage is analysis. If I see something good, I write it. If I see something bad, I write it. If you are looking for a fanboy that operates in purple and gold colored glasses, you are looking in the wrong place. But I will always try to be as fair as possible.
2. The impetus for this story came after seeing some of the vitriol directed toward local players once they spurned Washington. It started with Walker Williams way back this summer and continued till recently with Josh Garnett and KeiVarae Russell. Yes, we know that it happens at schools all around the country, and has happened before with Bishop Sankey. But we don't cover schools around the country. We cover the local athletes and the local university. And this trend seemed a little more disturbing than before.
We live in a social media-driven and internet-immediate world that has made us all very reactionary at times. And sometimes those first reactions are anger. It's understandable, but probably not good. Fans have a quick and anonymous platform to voice opinions, thoughts and sentiments.
As for Sankey, it's been well documented about Cougar fans anger toward him. Unlike, Garnett and Russell and Williams, Sankey had given a verbal commitment to WSU and stayed that way until a few days before signing day. Does it make it acceptable to rip him, which some Cougar fans did at the time? No, not at all.
3. I really believe that the majority of Husky fans, or any other college football fans, aren't the ones ripping these kids on message boards and twitter. I think that those people are minority of their respective fan bases. But they are a very vocal minority - that seems to speak the loudest and speak the most often. It's unfair that group can make the rest of logical, well-intentioned fans look bad. But I think the story needed to be written.
4. I sincerely doubt that these negative tweets, message board and facebook posts are the determining factors in where a player goes to school. These players make decisions based on logical reasons like coaching, academics, playing time, etc. But it's obviously not good for a program if recruits talk among each other about these incidents happening. We tend to forget these are high schools kid, and criticism like they've received hurts and is unexpected. Will it be evident in college? Yes. But for now, it shouldn't.
Aaron Levine of Q13 also has his thoughts.