by Max Brantley
Otis Kirk, who built a career out of chronicling adults' pursuit of 17-year-old males, is apparently leaving the Democrat-Gazette to devote full time to his Internet reports on the 40-yard-dash times of high schoolers who might sweat for the University of Arkansas.
We've sent him an e-mail asking if the departure might have anything to do with sports editor Wally Hall's recent blowup at the Hog leadership for blaming recruiting shortfalls on the media, rather than some ham-handed conduct of various matters within coaches' control.
Even though the top writer for any dominant newspaper in the South is likely to be viewed as something of an official spokesperson for the dominant athletic program, the recruiting writer has an even more delicate relationship with the sources he talks with daily. Kirk and Wally's sometimes prickly relationship has been in evidence for some time.
There's no turning back on all this, I know, but I'm old-fashioned. I was totally nuts about college football in my high school days, but there typically was barely a whisper about the recruiting process in the papers (there was no Internet, of course) until the big signing day events at the various high schools. It didn't diminish a bit my passion for LSU and McNeese football and I'd like to think there was just a tiny bit more perspective then about the relative importance of athletics and other pursuits. But perhaps my memory fails me in this, too.