BYU is playing Florida tonight in the Sweet 16. Brandon Davies was suspended from BYU’s team about a month ago. The story was beaten into the ground within days. I even took my shots.
So, Mike Bianchi’s Orlando Sentinel piece made me feel sick. The first half says that no other schools would be able to compete without premarital sex, and it ends by praising BYU, saying, “They lifted college athletics up.” That column would’ve been fine, you know, if it was written a month ago, but it was published today.
But that’s not what’s pissing everyone off. At yesterday’s press conference, Bianchi asked Florida head coach Bill Donovan an unusual question:
How hard would it be to recruit to Florida if you had to tell your recruits you can’t have premarital sex if you come to Florida?
Understandably, Donovan responded:
I’m not going to get into that. I’ll pass on that one.
Had Donovan answered instead of passing, would it not have been an newsworthy response? And if Bianchi worded the question differently, he might’ve gotten a response and had a much better story than the one he wrote.
Maybe it’s an obvious no-comparison, but wouldn’t it have been interesting to hear Donovan talk about how factors outside of pure basketball affect the make-up and performance of his team? And, as Glenn Davis at SportsGrid wrote, shouldn’t we give Bianchi—who’s been writing for the Orlando Sentinel since 2001—the benefit of the doubt in knowing what Donovan would and would not take kindly to?
Today, one of the biggest complaints you hear about sports reporters is that they ask too many cookie-cutter questions. They want answers that they can just plug into their pre-formulated, already-written stories. Sure, an actual answer from Donovan would’ve fit in to Bianchi’s story, but it also would’ve altered it significantly and made it that much better. But we think Bianchi’s an asshole for putting Billy Donovan in an awkward position and asking a tough question.
Yes, he then did go on to ask Chandler Parsons—Florida’s best player—the same question, which, since Parsons is a student, brings up a different debate, but that’s not what the criticism here has even been about. It’s been about Bianchi being an asshole and a troll for asking an uncomfortable, non-basketball question.
—Photo AP/Chris O’Meara