I honestly thought this was a parody of Dooley's criteria for denying Bryce Brown's transfer request over the summer. But it is apparently as real as a heart attack. Derek Dooley has actually compiled a group of favored media members (the "Irons Vols of the Media", no I'm not making that up) who he's granted extended access to.
The problem of course is that Derek Dooley is not only a football coach, but as Knoxville News Sentinel editor Jack McElroy notes, a public official. And he is now reserving the right to grant extra access to reporters he deems to have been, among other things, "respectful." Which, let's face it, probably involves not repeatedly asking questions Dooley indicates that he does not want to answer. Even if Dooley doesn't include that in the criteria, that's the appearance. Truly, I'm not sure anyone has ever developed a bunker mentality this far ahead of actually being bombed.
Coaches have used all sorts of gamesmanship to control press access for as long as the press has cared to cover college football. Coach Paul Bryant famously summed up his policy on reporters as "give 'em a bottle and don't tell 'em anything." But Dooley's policy strikes me as unbelievably counterproductive. If you want the Volunteer State's reporters to turn on you quickly, the best way to make it happen is probably to keep the ones who criticize you at arm's length from the program.
I've said from the beginning that Dooley would do good things in Knoxville. But I'm really starting to think he may be laboring above his pay grade at this point.
Until later. . .