People are searching for answers and explanations in the wake of the story published in today’s Journal Gazette regarding a Notre Dame investigation into possible NCAA violations of three athletes – football player Tom Zbikowski and basketball players Luke Zeller and Kyle McAlarney. I’ve been called a jackass and worse – and I’ve also been complimented for including all sides of this story, which is linked here: http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/15311433.htm
But people seem curious about my process and some other things, so I’m going to answer them in this space.
First, I am not an NCAA investigator, despite some of the e-mails sent to me. When I discovered a potential issue – found out when someone mentioned to me a Darius Walker spot being shot for the new show "Irish Sports Report" after Wednesday’s practice – I went and spoke with Todd Bella, the host of “Sports Dogz.” We chatted and I felt there was more there so I continued to investigate. I left messages with both Notre Dame compliance officer Mike Karwoski and the NCAA to ask them about the potential violation. Karwoski, actually, got back to me before the NCAA did. I spoke with both of them and explained the situation. Realize that just because a reporter calls the NCAA with a question, they are not reporting a school or a violation. They are asking a question.
Second, for those who have e-mailed and accused me of running to the NCAA, I did no such thing. Look at almost any story involving potential violations. Either a bylaw or an NCAA spokesperson is quoted in that story. These are the rules and the governing body Notre Dame plays by.
Third, I have no agenda when it comes to Notre Dame, other than to write informative stories, compelling features and to break news when opportunities appear. I am neither pro-Notre Dame nor anti-Notre Dame. I am a reporter and view things objectively in my stories.
Finally, I realize there are some people who will never understand the role of a newspaper or a reporter. Fine, I understand that. But for those that do will realize I presented all sides of the story – not just the ones that were the most sensationalized.
If anyone has any questions, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop a comment in the box. There have been quite a few of them today.
-By Michael Rothstein of The Journal Gazette