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The Tamir Trap Gets Deeper

Maryland continues to apparently backtrack from the
Tamir Goodman fiasco. There
is another article in the Post,
what appears to be another spin attempt, but this one
is more
(take your pick) clumsy, brazen, or crude.

Debbie Yow cranks up the heat on Gary, subtly, saying that... "I'm not going to say publicly the nature of any conversations I've had with Coach [Gary] Williams except what our policy
is. . . . Once a coach makes a verbal commitment of a scholarship to an athlete, although it is not legally binding, we would honor that in any sport."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Here's where we see the spin starting: Gary, through a friend, let it be known that he expected
Tamir to be a player there. Here's the rest of the spin: the meeting was
supposedly called simply to tell Tamir that he "needed to improve his game and regain the level at which he was playing last season, including regaining his confidence."

But is it necessary to call a player in - alone, without any part of his
support system - to build his confidence? Wouldn't one normally precede that
with a phone call or two? A kind word? According to our information, though,
Maryland had not called Goodman in some time.

In a an apparent further attempt to spin, Maryland suggests that Katz suggested that Goodman would play on Saturdays. But as we remember it, Maryland promised to accommodate his religious life. For instance, when it came to kosher food, Billy Hahn said, ''This is a lot of work! But, of course, you're worth

In the same article, Debbie Yow addressed the Sabbath issue, saying
''it's all unplowed soil. I've never gone through something like this before.''
To us that would indicate that she was cognizant of Goodman's religious
obligations and the issues they presented.

had this to say
when Tamir signed: " accordance with his religious beliefs, Goodman won't play from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. The Maryland coaching staff
was willing to extend the offer, despite non-conference, ACC Tournament and NCAA tournament schedules that regularly have games on Saturdays."

They went on to make this assertion: "The coaches are even reported to be scheduling around the Jewish Sabbath -- and lobbying the ACC to do the same."

But now the Post says that Williams "told Goodman that not being able to play on the Sabbath likely would affect his playing time."

The Post article goes on to say that the Maryland staff always told Tamir
they'd do the best they could to accommodate the Sabbath issue. As CNNSI
reported, in fact, they apparently tried to get the conference to schedule
around it. Why one focus then and another now? To us it's simple: they
decided Goodman was not "worth it," after all..

So bear in mind that this meeting happened on a Thursday, and that
it was
allegedly called to buck Tamir up and to boost his spirits, (and which certainly
never required yelling at his mother), Goodman leaves upset but still planning to
go to Maryland.

So the kid goes home, wakes up Friday morning, and what does he see in the
Baltimore Sun? An
A-1 story saying that Maryland doesn't want him anymore
. This after a
meeting which Maryland describes as an attempt to tell Tamir he "needed to improve his game and regain the level at which he was playing last season, including regaining his
confidence," but which Tamir sees as an attempt to persuade him to
renounce his scholarship. What would you think? What would you feel if you
were 17 and saw your passion and your dream laughed at on the front page
of your hometown newspaper?

You can spin this any way you want to, but the fact is that an A-1 story has
to have highly credible sources
. It can't be the janitor. It was
treated as a major news story because the editor had great confidence in the
source. That means, to us, it had to come from the staff.

When you go back and look at the previous columns, it's pretty clear that
everyone, including AD Debbie Yow, believed that a) Goodman was serious about
his religion, and b) that Maryland was interested enough to make accommodations
for his religion. A simple question: would Williams have taken Tim
Duncan had Duncan been a Seventh Day Adventist? It answers itself.

In our view, Maryland is spinning as fast as they can because they realize the immense
public relations damage this has caused. But each attempt to get out of it just makes it
worse, and there is a long paper trail to rebuke most of the suggestions
Maryland is making by proxy, since coaches aren't allowed to speak of unsigned
recruits. A couple of people have written and said it's not fair that
Maryland can't comment. Not that they would tell us, but we'd love to ask the reporters from The Sun and
The Post precisely how much, or how little, the staff has commented. As
you know, we think their commentary is extensive, and, increasingly, it seems