Well, it is about time.
Oh, I'm not complaining about Ryan Dunleavy's outstanding feature piece on Rutgers Wrestling. It's a great read and if you're a wrestling fan - and especially a Rutgers fan - you need to read it.
But, what took everyone so long to write it? Or more significantly, why did it take any New Jersey writer so long to write about anything other than Rutgers football or basketball. Or naked free throw shooting at practice?
No, there seems to be a long tradition among the newspaper sports departments in New Jersey that if it isn't a prolate spheroid (uhh, that's a football) or a round ball shot into a basket (by males), then it really isn't worth writing about.
Now before I go off on my tirade, let's go back to the genesis of this post. Ryan Dunleavy, a sportswriter for Gannett, put together a terrific piece on Scott Goodale's nine-year history at Rutgers. As is pretty well known to those who closely follow wrestling, the sport was on the chopping block back in 2006 when Rutgers cut six sports
to feed football to save money. As the Dunleavy piece explains, this successful high school coach at Jackson Memorial was thinking about how Rutgers could support and boost wrestling. The next thing he knew, he was the new head coach. Talk about right place at the right time. So, after you finish this, if you haven't already read the feature, do it!
I say that the papers ignored most "other" sports because they pretty much did. When the Women's Basketball team traveled to El Paso for the WNIT Championship in 2014, no New Jersey media outlet sent a reporter. I realize that journalism is in flux, and that a lot of newspapers are cutting costs. But this was the state university playing for a championship. But as I was told in an exchange with a sportswriter on Twitter (a writer I respect and like), it was only the WNIT. If it was the NCAAs, then....maybe.
And there's the problem. I understand that Rutgers has not necessarily had great teams in every sport. But even when they did, the local media, the people you count on to help promote, yawn.
Take the Women's Soccer team going to the Women's College Cup last fall. It's the "Final Four" of soccer. And nj.com.....
When you see "By Staff" it means one of two things: either the folks in the office cobbled together the story from the wire services or, as is the case here, they paid someone from the area - in this case Tim Candon - to write a story for them. But it was "special to NJ.com."
Am I being whiny and petty? Yes! Why else are we on this site? If it comes to Rutgers - sports, academics, the arts - I want the best. And I want it reported in the best way possible. I'd like to see the local papers do a bit more - like maybe send someone to cover the event. At least if it's a championship, get somebody on site.
In the mean time, thank you, Ryan Dunleavy.
Rutgers Wrestling deserved that story. Keep'em coming.