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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

More McFarland

Not surprisingly, The New York Times' article on the recruiting of Jamarkus McFarland has continued to generate loads of buzz around the blogosphere. The Texas reaction is predictable: the Longhorns want blood--and dates and names. Check out the detailed rant from Orangebloods publisher Geoff Ketchum if you're looking for the basic idea. Other more detached media observers are hailing Thayer Evans' piece as "captivating journalism," in the words of Chicago Sun-Times blogger Kevin Allen. (Yahoo!/Rivals blogger Dr. Saturday's take can be found here.)

Obviously, Homerism loves that OU landed such a big-time recruit. I also love that Texas comes off, well, like Texas in the article. I think the visceral reaction from UT faithful about the quality of journalism reflected in the article is relatively unfounded. Having worked in the mainstream media, I can attest that the fact-checking process at major outlets is pretty rigorous, especially when it comes to in-depth pieces like this one. Evans followed McFarland for six months, so editors are going to demand pretty extensive verification and corroboration in those kinds of cases. In fact, given the serious nature of some of the events detailed in the story, Evans' editors should be fired if they failed to do their most diligent of due diligence for this article.
I do have a major concern, however. The article makes no mention of an attempt to elicit comment from the programs involved. I'd bet that NYT received the cold shoulder from athletic departments, who aren't allowed to comment on potential recruits under NCAA regulations. Even so, there should be some mention of that in the article. Of course, all the parties involved may have confirmed Evans' reporting. Either way, I'd hope that Evans and his editors clarify this matter at some point. (All that said, I'd put my trust in the professionalism and integrity of NYT over Barking Carnival and Burnt Orange Nation any day.)
In the end, there's a delicious feeling of "just desserts" for Longhorn nation in all of this. OU certainly has a sordid history of scandal and cheating that is undeniable, and the Sooners' rivals love to jump all over even a hint of impropriety. If Texas sycophants plan to go around slinging unsubstantiated accusations and rumors about OU and Sooner players, as was certainly the case with McFarland, they better make sure their own house is in order first. Sucks when it happens to you, huh, Bevo?