Phillip Daniels, the Washington Redskins' defensive end and father of Vernon Hills wide receiver DaVaris Daniels, has expressed his displeasure over the story I wrote about his son on Tuesday. He chose to go public, which is his right, but he didn't provide a deliverable e-mail address so I could respond to his criticism.
I would suggest that Phillip should re-read the article for what it actually says, not for how he chooses to interpret it or read between the lines. Let's set the record straight:
1. I didn't fabricate the story and I didn't write a bunch of lies, as he claims.
2. I didn't write that DaVaris said he was unable to qualify academically.
3. I didn't write that DaVaris said he was going to Miami.
4. If the conversation was taped, Phillip knows I made two calls to DaVaris, the first that confirmed his earlier favoritism toward Notre Dame and the second to obtain his feelings about Miami. The quotes are accurate.
5. Phillip claims his son has 16 scholarship offers, not 13 as I mentioned in the article. DaVaris said he had 13 offers. Yahoo, Scout and Rivals also list 13. The figures are irrelevant. Only two matter.
6. Vernon Hills coach Tony Monken alerted the Chicago media that DaVaris would conduct a press conference at noon on Tuesday at the high school to announce his decision, either Notre Dame or Miami. We didn't make that up.
7. Now Phillip says that DaVaris was going to announce on Tuesday but he canceled because "he needs more time to decide and take his visits." So who's lying? If his son wasn't going to Miami, why didn't he go forward, announce the school and stuff it down the Sun-Times' throat? Or why was he ready to announce on Monday, then not ready on Tuesday? So who's fabricating the story? DaVaris said he wanted to announce on Tuesday, as a Father's Day present, that it was his father's idea. That's on the tape, too, isn't it, Phillip?
8. DaVaris said he would choose Notre Dame or Miami. If possible, the Sun-Times wanted to break the story. This is a very competitive media town, Notre Dame is a major player in the sports market, so we didn't want to wait for everybody to learn the news at a press conference if we could get it beforehand. The time has passed when the Tribune knew everything that was going on in the Bears' camp because the Bears' owner/coach and the Tribune's editor were pals.
9. I took journalistic license regarding his grades. It is a sensitive subject. The media and college recruiters have long been aware that DaVaris' grades were borderline. Last November, his coach generously listed his grade-point average at 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. His ACT score has never been revealed. DaVaris said on Monday that he is "completely fine." That isn't true. If it was, why didn't he commit to Notre Dame, his first choice? The fact is that Miami is the only major school on his list that can get him into school, with the possible exception of Oklahoma and perhaps Cincinnati.
10. But Phillip brings up another interesting subject that we have dealt with in other cases involving high school athletes and their academics. If DaVaris was a borderline student in November, as his coach indicated, how did he become "completely fine" by June? I don't buy it and apparently neither did any college except Miami.
11. In the latest chapter to this drama, coach Tony Monken has alerted the media that the family has decided to wait to make a decision until after the season and after DaVaris is able to make more visits.
I think that is a great idea, the best for the kid. He can work on his grades and improve his transcript and he likely will receive more offers and will be able to take at least five official campus visits, including Miami, when he hasn't seen. This all makes a lot of sense. What didn't make sense was declaring he would announce his decision at a press conference on Tuesday. If his father pushed him into that, he was dead wrong.
DaVaris' father may not agree. But those are the facts of the matter.
It is 24 hours since I posted this blog and I can't -- well, I really can -- believe there are so many people who are totally ignorant of the recruiting process. They apparently aren't aware that thousands of kids are listed on hundreds of web sites on the Internet. Many kids even pay to have their videos shown and to have feature stories written about them.
These people really believe these 18-year-old kids are entitled to privacy, that their grades are privileged, that their decision are sacred, that their rap sheets shouldn't be revealed, etc. Yet these are the same kids whose parents complain bitterly if the media doesn't provide exposure for their kids, who blame the media if their kids don't receive college offers or aren't named to all-state teams. And these are the same kids and parents who lobby for TV coverage on EPSN so they can make their college announcements.
Who are they kidding?