A Lesson In How Not To Spin, Courtesy Of The Florida Gators

Illustration for article titled A Lesson In How Not To Spin, Courtesy Of The Florida Gators

Twenty-four Florida Gators have been arrested since 2005, a number of such apparent talismanic significance that the Orlando Sentinel decided to publish a "database." The school, understandably peeved, responded with a master class in how not to respond.


First of all, this database: It's a list of arrests, not convictions, which isn't really a fair barometer of anything. (Seven of those 24 cases were dropped. Yes, Andrea Adelson, that actually matters.) Florida rightly took offense and decided to offer some context to the Sentinel's Jeremy Fowler. Way too much context.

On his blog, Fowler writes:

Not trying to harp on this arrest issue too much, but considering we've documented Florida's legal troubles, it's only fair to provide a couple of facts for background. Most of these facts were provided by the University of Florida.

● Only three arrests from the last three recruiting classes (including 2009)
● At least 14 of the charges were dropped in the 24 cases
● 14 of the 24 player arrests have been from players he did not
recruit or were in his first recruiting class
● The 24 arrests represents 19 different players
● Arrests by recruiting class
Six did not recruit
Eight in first class
Seven in second class
Two in third class
One in fourth class
None in fifth class

Translation: Blame those 19 guys and Ron Zook! And as College Football Talk puts it: "It's never good when you've got your media relations department breaking down your recruiting classes by arrest, and touting that the 24 arrests are only spread among 19 different players."

Isn't this sort of PR realpolitik beneath a program whose quarterback cites Philippians on his eyeblack?

Couple of facts, couple of pats on the back — and a word from Urban Meyer [Orlando Sentinel, via Dr. Saturday]