CRAIG GRAU: As they say, 'relationships' matter - The Explorer: Sports

CRAIG GRAU: As they say, 'relationships' matter

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Posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:02 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

You could argue that I’m bitter because both my beloved Chicago baseball teams flamed out in the Midwestern sky like Shoemaker-Levy 9’s spectacular slam into Jupiter’s surface back when the Smashing Pumpkins could still cut a good record.

But some readers and newsfolk ruffled when a local daily newspaper smiled on “unique and exciting partnerships” with an agency that advocates events the newspaper is tasked to cover without influence.

Must these ethical demons from journalism school resurrect themselves when I could be gazing on the upcoming hockey season, now available in Hi-Def?

A couple weeks back, the Arizona Interscholastic Association heralded an alliance with the Tucson Citizen, knighting them “the state’s only site in Southern Arizona to feature every score and schedule for all Arizona high school teams in each sport.”

Shouldn’t scores and schedules for publicly sanctioned events be available to all news agencies in the same manner — and not just the ones who write fat checks?

One might say there’s a conflict of interest here. When asked, Tucson Citizen senior editor Jennifer Boice felt otherwise.

“I guess I don’t,” Boice deadpanned.

To the point, and fair enough.

Boice explained that the deal — which mirrors one that fellow Gannett daily The Arizona Republic cut with the AIA — provides their Web site with “an easy feed” of “information that is of value to our readers,” for a fee she wouldn’t disclose.

To her credit, Boice revealed more about the electronic pipeline than Republic managing editor John Leach would. His jovial telephone demeanor sandwiched a stone.

“I’m not going to comment about the deal,” Leach said.

Personally, I’ve always thought every reporter secretly relishes the chance to offer “no comment” under questioning, paybacks for the all roadblocks they’ve hit.

But on a grander scale, the junctions of media and sports sanctioning agencies is nothing new, said AIA Chief Operations Officer Chuck Schmidt, who doused the fire with a shot of March Madness.

Schmidt pointed to the NCAA’s and CBS’s marriage during the spring basketball tournament for television and Internet feeds — not to mention the uptick in Pac-10 games delivered by FOX Sports.

“We have content, and the medium allows for these relationships to occur,” Schmidt said. “We were just happy that (newspapers) would see that value.”

The deal, in the works for four years, according to Schmidt, filters funds through the non-profit AIA and into items like scholastic programs, coaching certifications and fees paid to game officials.

Even better, said Schmidt, the links from daily Web sites allow readers to access video feeds from games anywhere across the state on sister-site AIA365.com.

Such visibility could eventually lead students to produce “online fundraisers,” team-oriented segments that feature logos of local sponsors.

“Instead of selling candy, you’re using the technology,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt is enthusiastic over the AIA self-generating more news content in the long run. Whether news agencies would be willing to run those stories like traditional wire content is unclear.

Either way, Schmidt defends the AIA’s recent agreements with the Citizen and Republic to the end, painting perceived “conflicts of interest” as harmful toward financial efforts to benefit Arizona students.

“If people are detracting from trying to help the schools, then I don’t understand,” Schmidt said.

Asking these questions isn’t about pulling funds out of football helmets.

It’s about self-policing our own relationships, in fairness to those who love the games.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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