George O'Leary's snub of Sentinel hurts everyone

Silent Knight's snub is hurting everyone

A few years ago, I shredded Bobby Bowden.

Absolutely destroyed him in a column after he wrote a letter to a judge on behalf of Michael Gibson, a deranged serial rapist who once played briefly for Florida State.

Bowden was said to be livid about the column, as were Florida State's fans and administration.

And you know what happened the next time I saw Bobby Bowden? He came up to me, patted me on the butt and said, "Hey, buddy, how you doin'?"

George O'Leary, if he is an astute football coach (and he is), will tear a prudent page from Bowden's media-relations playbook. He will come to realize that boycotting the Orlando Sentinel, the only media outlet that covers his UCF team at every home and away game, is just not a smart move.

Nobody has been more criticized in recent years than Bowden. Not only has he seen his program plummet from the nation's elite, he has endured a player's death, an academic scandal and a gambling scandal, and even saw his son Jeff portrayed as the village idiot by fans and media. Even though some of the coverage was hurtful, Bowden has continued to be accessible and affable.

"I've always believed in the media -- I've always believed that you can't succeed unless you have good things written about you or at least something written about you and your team," Bowden told Sentinel reporter Andrew Carter earlier this week. "That's why I've always tried to be real cooperative to the press."

When told O'Leary is not talking to the Sentinel, Bowden was typically frank. "If you win all the games, it doesn't make a difference. But you better win. You better win."

The thing is, this is a lose-lose situation for everybody. For the Sentinel. For O'Leary. And for UCF's players, fans and sponsors. It's certainly understandable that O'Leary is upset about the Sentinel's aggressive investigative coverage in the wake of the tragic death of UCF freshman football player Ereck Plancher. Nobody in sports likes to be scrutinized and second-guessed.

NASCAR boss Mike Helton didn't like the Sentinel's coverage of Dale Earnhardt's death. Steve Spurrier didn't like the critiques written about him by former Sentinel columnist Larry Guest. Former Florida coach Charley Pell didn't like the coverage given to him by every newspaper in the state when he was running roughshod over the NCAA rulebook 25 years ago. And did anybody get criticized more than Ron Zook?

But you know what? None of these men boycotted an entire newspaper.

UCF Athletic Director Keith Tribble is scheduled to meet with O'Leary about the Sentinel situation when he gets back from vacation in a few days. Tribble and UCF President John Hitt need to impress upon O'Leary that public relations and dealing with the media is part of a job that pays him more than $1 million a year.

"We're committed to working with Coach O'Leary on his concerns and coming up with an amicable solution," says Joe Hornstein, UCF's assistant athletic director for communications.

Hopefully, this will happen soon because UCF's national image is taking a beating. It would be one thing if O'Leary's decision only affected the coach personally, but this reflects upon the entire university. national college writer Dennis Dodd penned a critical column about O'Leary's Sentinel boycott and refers to UCF as "oafish" and "amateurish." Matt Hayes, the college football columnist for The Sporting News, says, "In the long run, O'Leary is only hurting his team, and his team should be his No. 1 priority."

Memphis Commercial-Appeal sports writer Ron Higgins, president of the Football Writers Association, can't believe O'Leary is willing to risk his program's reputation over a personal dispute.

Don't kid yourself, this controversy could have a definite impact on recruiting. Big-time college football recruits want exposure and they want to be noticed. O'Leary's refusal to talk to the Sentinel and his refusal to allow his players to talk is eliminating a major part of that exposure. It won't be long before South Florida Coach Jim Leavitt starts telling recruits, "Why would you go to UCF? The local paper doesn't even cover them."

Says Higgins incredulously: "You're in a state that has the Heisman Trophy winner, the winningest coach of all time, a Miami program that is still a national name and an up-and-coming South Florida program -- and you're not talking to the only newspaper that covers you? George O'Leary's program needs all the exposure it can get. At this rate, UCF is going to be on Page D8 next to ads for the all-nude dance club."

O'Leary is way too smart to let this happen.

He's been around too long.

He's worked too hard.

Everybody knows a college coach's No. 1 priority is to win.

Hopefully, George O'Leary will soon realize he has created a situation where nobody can.

Mike Bianchi can be reached at

Featured Stories

CTnow is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.
News Coverage on Kent State University - CTNow
RSS feeds allow Web site content to be gathered via feed reader software. Click the subscribe link to obtain the feed URL for this page. The feed will update when new content appears on this page.

Kent State University

A collection of news and information related to Kent State University published by this site and its partners.

Top Kent State University Articles

Displaying items 34-44
  • FSU, UF, UCF and UM wild cards halfway through college football season

    FSU, UF, UCF and UM wild cards halfway through college football season
    It's hard to imagine, but we've reached the half-way point of the college football season. It seems like it was just yesterday when we were pondering questions like: How dominant will Florida State be this season? How will Florida's new up-tempo, high-...
  • Ann P. Lundy, native plant advocate

    Ann P. Lundy, native plant advocate
    Ann Porter Lundy, a former president of the Maryland Orchid Society and founder of Baltimore's chapter of the Maryland Native Plant Society, died Sept. 28 of cancer at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. She was 70. "She taught a lot of people about...
  • Second Nurse Falls Ill With Ebola

    DALLAS — Fears grew Wednesday that more medical workers might have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus after a second Dallas nurse fell ill and health officials scrambled to alert scores of airline passengers who had been on a jet with her....
  • Ebola-infected nurse arrives at Atlanta's Emory hospital for treatment

    Ebola-infected nurse arrives at Atlanta's Emory hospital for treatment
    One of two Dallas nurses who tested positive for Ebola was transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment late Wednesday, the hospital said.  Amber Vinson, 29, was among those who had treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan. She...
  • Health official allowed new Ebola patient on plane with slight fever: source

    Health official allowed new Ebola patient on plane with slight fever: source
    A second Texas nurse who has contracted Ebola told a U.S. health official she had a slight fever and was allowed to board a plane from Ohio to Texas, a federal source said on Wednesday, intensifying concerns about the U.S. response to the deadly virus....
  • Chapter Six: A New Building, And New Suburban Focus

    Chapter Six: A New Building, And New Suburban Focus
    With the end of World War II came profound changes in how Americans lived, reshaping the nation's landscape — and the fortunes of The Courant. Over the next two decades, as the population swelled and the economy flourished, thousands gave up city...
  • Four Tabb field hockey players sign Division I scholarships; Phoebus hurdler Charles Graham poised to sign with Missouri

    Four Tabb field hockey players sign Division I scholarships; Phoebus hurdler Charles Graham poised to sign with Missouri
    The Bay Rivers District has faithfully delivered a high percentage of state field hockey championships over the years, so it's hardly surprising that the league has moved many into the Division I ranks. Even so, it was hard not to be impressed when 10...
  • Big guns shouldn't shoot down rights: Front Burner

    Police agencies have been over-militarized, as evidenced by the images of Ferguson, Mo., that offended many of our senses. However, these images also have provided us the opportunity to ensure that governmental authority is being exercised within the...
  • At home, really, with Superman

    At home, really, with Superman
    Superman, the story goes, was born on the planet Krypton and sent to Earth in a small rocket by his father when that planet was about to explode. He was actually born in 1933 in a two-story bungalow in a scruffy neighborhood on the east side of...
  • North County grad Cliff Cornish talks about transferring to Morgan State

    North County grad Cliff Cornish talks about transferring to Morgan State
    Cliff Cornish is no LeBron James and High Point, N.C., will certainly never be confused with South Beach. But Cornish, a former North County forward, does see one key similarity between his decision to transfer to Morgan State and the greatest...
  • Urban Outfitters pulls 'blood-spattered' Kent State sweat shirt

    Urban Outfitters pulls 'blood-spattered' Kent State sweat shirt
    Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters apologized Monday morning after it received major backlash for trying to sell a “vintage” Kent State University sweat shirt that appeared to be covered in blood spatter. The university was the scene of an...