It's not unusual for coaches to demonstrate their frustration with certain media members or outlets by denying access or refusing to answer questions, and this seems especially prevalent in college sports: see Steve Spurrier and Ron Morris, Charlie Strong and the Louisville media, Jim Boeheim and Andy Katz, or Lane Kiffin and everyone. Those moves often backfire, though, and the latest one, from Michigan football coach Brady Hoke, seems particularly likely to do so.
Hoke gave a press conference Monday to discuss an explosive story that appeared in the Michigan Daily student newspaper last week, about former Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons being expelled from the university for violating the school's student sexual misconduct policy in an incident that occured back in 2009.
However, the Michigan athletics department reportedly didn't invite Daily staff to the press conference, preventing them from asking follow-up questions. That's led to some heavy criticism of their actions on Twitter in responses to Matt Slovin, one of the Daily reporters who broke the Gibbons story:
If you are at all surprised that the Daily was conveniently left out of today's Hoke presser, this must be your first time dealing w/ UM AD.
— Matt Slovin (@MattSlovin) February 3, 2014
Good PR, Michigan football. Show everyone there's nothing to hide on Gibbons story by not inviting @michigandaily, the outlet that broke it.
— Tom Orr (@TomOrr4) February 3, 2014
So nice of the University of Michigan to shut the Michigan Daily out of the Hoke presser — after the Daily broke the Gibbons story.
— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) February 3, 2014
Of course, it's not like the Daily would necessarily have gotten much from being invited to this conference: Hoke merely issued a short statement and refused to comment on most questions about the Gibbons case, citing federal privacy laws and university policies. Still, not inviting the outlet that broke the story looks petty and amateurish, and it doesn't say anything good about Michigan's media policies. Michigan, Hoke and other schools and coaches in similar situations should realize that attempting to block a particular writer or outlet doesn't kill negative stories. If anything, it only generates more bad publicity and makes the program look worse and it should serve to embolden the student reporters to dig further.