As a recruiting analyst for college football, I'm often caught between a rock and a hard place. Fans and alumni either love me or hate me, depending on how I rank their school's recruiting classes or evaluate their top prospects.
If you tell the truth and it isn't perceived as a positive viewpoint by the coaches--for example, they don't like my evaluation because I say they aren't doing well or aren't recruiting the right kids or aren't recruiting kids the right way--they will cancel their subscriptions to my magazine.
Over the last 30 years, Notre Dame and every Big Ten school has canceled my publication at one time or other as a protest to what I have written or said in the Chicago Sun-Times.
I said one school was cheating and not recruiting in a correct fashion and the fans and coaches came down on me like a house of bricks. But I was right. The school eventually was placed on probation by the NCAA for cheating.
When I began evaluating kids in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the old Southwest Conference was like a wild west show. Kids had their hands out. Deals were being brokered all over Texas. I said so. Conference schools went ballistic.
People get upset over my rankings of the recruiting classes in February. They love me or hate me, depending on where their schools are rated. But the reality is most of the time my rankings don't differ much from Rivals or Scout or ESPN.
The fact is 1 percent of the fans at every school live in another world. It isn't reality. They don't have much of a life. Like Star Trek fans, their lives revolve around recruiting and the Internet.
They aren't objective. They are only cheerleaders. They also are anonymous, which gives them the ability to be obnoxious. They can say anything, no matter how inaccurate or inflammatory it is, and they can get away with it.
But it hasn't affected the way I have done business over the last 30 years. I don't even have an e-mail address or a website. I'll just keep telling the truth about recruiting as I see it. I can live with that.