Bo Ryan, Buzz Williams and Selective Media Outrage

Every once in a while there’s just something that really, really steams me up and something of that nature has been building for a few weeks now. Today I’m taking you on a journey to expose something that needs to stop and that’s the “Selective Outrage” that the national media outlets and their talking heads have been able to get away with for far, far too long.  

This “Selective Outrage” has it’s roots in how the media has handled issues involving Badger basketball head coach Bo Ryan and Marquette basketball head coach Buzz Williams and how they treated two players.

Chances are April 21, 2012 came and went without much changing in your life just like most days.  However, if your name is Aaron Durley it’s a date that you won’t soon forget.

It is a date that’s important to Aaron Durley because it was the date that he was released from hisDurley National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Marquette University.  I know, I know, we cover Wisconsin basketball and not that school to the east and you’re right.  Just stay with me though because this one’s just getting started.  

Now, just roll back your memories a few weeks and the news of the day was that Jarrod Uthoff was to transfer out of the University of Wisconsin.  Remember the firestorm and controversy that blew up out of nowhere in the aftermath of Bo Ryan’s decision to restrict where Uthoff would be able to transfer to?

Yeah, I’m sure you do and the talking heads on E!SPN (TV, Internet, and Radio) and others in the national forefront of college basketball coverage wouldn’t let you forget how much of a “bitter old man” and horrible human being Bo was for placing those restrictions on Uthoff.  Most of the lines of argument went like this: “The player is making a choice that’s best for him, who are you to tell him where he can and can’t go after he leaves?” 

Heck, Bo even went on to Mike & Mike in the Morning to try and defend himself the day that the decision on lifting some of the restrictions on Uthoff would come down.  You couldn’t turn on SportsCenter, PTI, or listen to Jim Rome or other national radio shows without hearing about this “controversy.”

O.k., so back to Aaron Durley.  Why do I bring his name up and what the heck does it have to do with the Uthoff transfer or “Selective Outrage?”  

Well, Buzz Williams took a scholarship promise right out from underneath a graduating HIGH SCHOOL senior and less than two weeks later gave it to a transferring COLLEGE senior in Trent Lockett from Arizona State.  So what?  Well, guess what that pulled scholarship offer did to Aaron Durley?  

By rules of the Big East Conference and due to no fault of Aaron Durley he is now barred from transferring his NLI to any school within the Big East conference.  Yup, that’s right, as of right now Buzz Williams has now restricted Durley from transferring to 15 schools in the country before he’s even stepped foot on to a college campus as a student-athlete and those restrictions can’t be lifted.

Oh, what’s that?  You haven’t heard a peep about that situation?  Thought so and thanks for proving my point for me.  

But I thought Bo’s decision to initially limit Uthoff from transferring to some 20ish schools was terrible and how in the world could a coach do that to someone just because they wanted to transfer from the school?

WilliamsSince April 21st have you heard a single story decrying the fact that Buzz Williams took a scholarship from a player HE made a promise to?  Are they now detesting Williams as a horrible human being for making the choice to pull the scholarship offer from Durley after he’s signed it and restricting him from 15 schools in the country in one fell swoop?  No and No are your answers in case you haven’t figured it out.  

I also ask you, which one of these situations is worse for the player?  In Uthoff’s case he made a decision and must now live with the consequences of that decision.  In Dudley’s case he was repaid for his loyalty to Marquette and Buzz Williams by basically having Williams leave him in Kim Kardashian style, you know only keeping up appearances until something better came along.

Pretty sure you can figure out for yourself which one is worse and I’ll leave it at that.  

However, I’m sick and tired of the the national pundits picking and choosing when and on what they’ll be outraged by.  If Bo Ryan was wrong for initially restricting Uthoff then fine, but surely what Buzz Williams and Marquette pulled is equally, if not more, wrong.

When it comes to the issue of restricting player movement in college basketball if it’s wrong for one coach to do it to a player leaving his program, it sure has hell better be for coaches that do it to players who commit to their schools and never even see a minute of time in the program.

More importantly though it’s time that fans in this country start to take these national media outlets to task for their “Selective Outrage” and blatant hypocrisy.  I don’t care if it would be Ryan that was wrong or if Williams would be right.  

Truth is truth and it’s time we start demanding consistency from those who are at the forefront of this kind of holier than thou attitude that passes for journalism these days.  Believe it or not there actually was a time when journalists would uncover a wrong and work to correct it by shining a light on it no matter where it took them.   So the next time a national pundit starts in on a rant about Bo Ryan being a horrible person for what he did to Uthoff ask them if they know the name Aaron Durley and where they were to take up his plight.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com