Clarion Ledger Monopolizes Malik Newman Announcement


Tuesday was a jam packed day in the Malik Newman recruitment. We learned that Newman will announce his decision on where he will attend school on Friday at 12:00. After that announcement was made, we saw the affect Howland is having on recruiting when Mississippi State went from runner up to front runner to land the most coveted player to come out of the state of Mississippi in a number of years.

CL Exclusive
None of this came without some controversy, though. The Clarion Ledger convinced Malik Newman to announce his decision in an exclusive interview with their recruiting reporter Courtney Cronin. My first concern was if people without subscriptions to the Clarion Ledger will be able to watch the announcement or if it would be behind a paywall. Here was Cronin’s response.

If I am reading between the lines correctly, people who do not have subscriptions to the Clarion Ledger will have to click the link to the broadcast through Twitter to bypass the pay wall. So if you don’t have a Twitter account, you might want to get one before Friday at 12:00 if you plan to watch the announcement and don’t have a subscription.

Recruiting Site Backlash

The other controversy came from the recruiting sites that are so popular in today’s college sports culture. Recruiting sites (247 Sports, Rivals, and Scout) all make their living on recruiting. Every sign is pointing toward the fact Malik Newman is going to decide to go to Mississippi State. It would be one of the biggest basketball decisions and most significant recruits for Mississippi State, and the recruiting guys won’t have access to it, except to watch the live stream.

This hasn’t made them very happy. This thread is on Mississippi State’s board at 247 Sports. If you aren’t a subscriber, you aren’t going to see all the posts, but people aren’t hiding their displeasure with the CL for locking them out of the announcement.

All of this was being done mostly on message boards for most of the day until Hugh Kellenberger, the lead sports columnist for the CL, decided to come to the defense of his paper and Cronin.

Not only is he defending Cronin, he is taking a shot at Yancy Porter, recruiting reporter for Ole Miss at Scout, who has a reputation for using Prima Donna incorrectly.

What’s the issue?
The problem here is simple dollars and cents. The Clarion Ledger is still a primarily print newspaper that is having to find ways to stay relevant. Like most print newspapers, it’s not easy to keep revenues flowing in. If they can land an exclusive interview to monopolize the coverage so that everyone will come to their site for this announcement, then they are going to do it.

Cronin also deserves some credit. She has obviously put in enough time with Newman and formed a solid enough relationship with the prospect to be able to convince Newman to agree to this. I doubt she wants to stay as the recruiting reporter at the CL for the rest of her life, so this is a major bump on her resume.

I also understand why people at the recruiting web sites are mad. Most of the people who were putting in Crystal Ball projections at 247 Sports were people associated with Mississippi State. They were out in front of everyone else in seeing the possibility of State signing Newman. They’ve been on top of this, and they want to see it through to the end.

My view
I think the Clarion Ledger should absolutely keep this as an exclusive for themselves since they were able to pull it off, but they also need to ignore the complaints from the recruiting reporters. Recruiting sites absolutely have a right to be upset. This is a business, and what is good for the CL is not good for them. Acknowledging the complaints won’t do the CL or Courtney Cronin one bit of good. Any acknowledgement of those complaints by her would be a sign of her youth. Just do what is best for yourself and hope you don’t burn too many bridges along the way.

I certainly understand both sides of the brouhaha. If I worked for one of these recruiting websites, I’d be livid if I didn’t get a chance to ask Newman questions about what led up to his decision. If Howland closes the deal, it will also be one of the quickest turnarounds in expectations in recent memory. The Bulldogs will go from finishing 12th in the SEC to a projected NCAA Tournament team, and possible preseason Top 25 if they get Newman and Kasongo. It’s a huge story.

I also understand the CL’s side. This is a big time exclusive for the paper. It will bring in clicks form all over the state and into other places that might have a belief they are possible landing spots for Newman. They are just looking out for themselves, and that’s all they should be worried about.

So I put it to you. Do you think the Clarion Ledger is wrong to make the Malik Newman announcement a CL exclusive? Vote in the poll and let us know your opinion.