Kevin Kietzman Has A New Interpretation Of His “Missouri To The Big Ten” Story

Kevin Kietzman is still sticking with his 2010 story about the University of Missouri receiving an initial invitation from the Big Ten.

Kinda.

Kietzman opened his radio show Tuesday afternoon with a takedown of Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger, who earlier in the day had taken issue with Kietzman’s reporting of the Miguel Tejada story.

Here is what Mellinger wrote in his Twitter Tuesday column about Kietzman:

In this case, Kevin had what turned out to be the smoke coming from the fire that Jeff Passan first reported on Saturday, a few hours before the suspension was announced. Kevin is claiming victory, and I guess that’s fine. But if you do this too often, you might end up reporting that Missouri is joining the Big 10.

Not surprisingly, Kietzman was upset about what Mellinger wrote. He questioned why Mellinger would feel the need to take a shot at him.

Kietzman on his radio show:

“It never occurred here as anyone would wanna go back and see. The story was about an initial inquiry for information.

“After all we’ve seen happen now? You’re going to question whether a story that occurred about a request – an initial request for information, an initial offer is made to Missouri – we need some information to come in here on you, we’re gonna start reviewing this as a board… Missouri was just running for the first bunch that would have ‘em. And they go through the first couple of steps with the Big Ten and get beat out by Nebraska, and life sucks sometimes.

“But if you think the Big Ten was expanding but only looking at one school? What kind of conference would only gather information from one school when deciding to add one school? Is that even plausible? That the Big Ten could have possibly said ‘We’re going to expand by one school, let’s only talk to one.’ The only one I could think of would be Notre Dame. Short of that, impossible.”

“So keep using that all you want. If you can find that somewhere – where you can find a report where I reported ‘It’s official, Missouri has joined the Big Ten’ – if you can find that, Sam – good luck. If not, stop. Stop. You (Sam) are so much better than this. Don’t. This is what Twitter – this is what all of this stuff is doing to everybody. This is a columnist for a fine newspaper, now, that is just putting stuff up as gospel on Twitter that is just not right.”

(You can listen to the podcast of Kietzman’s Tuesday monologue here. The “Missouri to Big Ten” talk starts at 25:05.)

We’ve covered Kietzman’s reporting of the Tejada story before, and in many ways what was argued here reflects what Mellinger wrote.

What caused the stir this time is Kietzman took issue with Mellinger bringing up Kietzman’s false report of Missouri receiving an invitation from the Big Ten. He argues he is not wrong and challenges Mellinger to prove the report wrong because he never said “It’s official, Missouri has joined the Big Ten.”

Kietzman does this because 1. he knows Mellinger will not take him up on that challenge, 2. he is playing with the generalizations of his critics, and 3. he is being disingenuous at best about the story he reported knowing that his listeners won’t remember the original report nor go back and research what was reported.

Kietzman continues to manipulate his audience by taking advantage of how things are worded and then twisting them into something that is either way out of context or simply false. A good example is what he did with Mellinger’s Missouri statement: “But if you do this too often, you might end up reporting that Missouri is joining the Big 10.”

Technically, Kietzman did not report “Missouri is joining the Big 10.” While it is certainly inferred given what we knew at the time of Missouri’s desire to leave the Big 12 for the Big Ten, the words “Missouri is joining the Big Ten” were never typed. So Kietzman plays this to gain the sympathy of his listening audience.

Proving Kietzman is changing the basics of his 2010 report is a little difficult since the original story is no longer on 810 WHB’s site. Fortunately enough for us, a cached version of it is still in existence. (Hat tip to KC Kingdom’s Kyle Morris for tracking the archived version.) If you would like to read it, you can find the full text of the story at the bottom of this post.

Let’s break his story down in a pseudo-Fire Joe Morgan style except it will be way less funny and way more depressing.

(Everything in italics is from Kietzman’s written report.)

The Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league to four universities including Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations. 

This is his lede and, for all intents and purposes, his main report.

Note he says initial offers to join the league. Not a request for information, but an initial offer to join the league.

While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join.

There is no parsing words here: Kietzman is saying Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Rutgers received initial offers to join the Big Ten. He notes they are not formal offers to join because a vote has note been conducted yet, though he makes it sound that the vote is just a formality: “The league has informed [the four schools] it would like to have them join.”

These invitations never happened.

Read this from ESPN.

Here’s the lede from the News-Gazette article:

A University of Missouri curator said Thursday that the school has not been invited to join the Big Ten Conference, an acknowledgment made as the school’s conference fights for its survival.

Missouri never received any kind of invitation from the Big Ten. None.

It is not yet clear whether the Big Ten will expand to 14 or 16 teams but sources indicated Missouri and Nebraska are invited in either scenario. 

This line furthers the idea the Big Ten is expanding with Nebraska and Missouri as two of the teams. It is merely a question of how many teams. This does not sound like a “request for information.”

Also, 14 or 16 teams means adding three or five teams (the Big Ten had 11 schools at the time), which means, according to his report, the Big Ten was looking to add more than one school. This contradicts what Kietzman said Tuesday afternoon that the Big Ten had just one spot to fill and was talking to multiple schools about filling it.

Notre Dame has repeatedly declined the opportunity to join the Big Ten.  If Notre Dame remains independent, Rutgers would be the 14th team.  The Big Ten would then decide whether to stop at 14 or extend offers to two other schools.  If Notre Dame joins, sources say an offer will be extended to one other school making it a 16-team league.

None of the schools he listed had received an invitation to join the league at the time he reported it.

Here’s a graph from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Delany recently shot down a news report that the conference had offered invitations to Nebraska, Missouri, Notre Dame and Rutgers, though the Associated Press recently reported Missouri officials would listen to a Big Ten offer.

The Chicago Tribune:

A Big Ten spokesman denied the report, telling the Tribune “nothing has changed” since Delany told reporters at the BCS meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., that everything regarding expansion was “to be determined.”

Lending credence to that is the fact that Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Delany has not contacted him regarding Missouri and Nebraska. Delany has insisted he would contact affected conference commissioners before proceeding.

Nebraska officials also denied the report. Asked via e-mail by the Lincoln Journal-Star whether the story had any validity as it applied to Nebraska, Chancellor Harvey Perlman replied, “None whatsoever.”

[...]

As for Notre Dame, the report contradicts what sources have told the Tribune, that the Irish essentially would have to accept an invitation before one is offered. The Big Ten has put in protections to avoid another public rejection by the Irish.

Notre Dame did not receive an invitation from the Big Ten. And, at the time, Nebraska had not received an invitation from the Big Ten.

Since Notre Dame did not accept an invitation – because they never received one – Rutgers now comes into play.

If Notre Dame remains independent, Kietzman’s story says, Rutgers would be the 14th team.

Rutgers did not receive an invitation from the Big Ten.

That’s o-for-4.

There is no parsing words here. No sports radio jabbering. This is simply an incorrect report by every standard.

Here’s the summary: Kietzman was wrong on every account as it related to the news he was reporting. He was burned by his sources and for not doing his due diligence to find confirmation to his sources.

Kietzman has used the generalizations – like the one used by Mellinger – to weasel his way out of blame for his false report. No, he did not report “Missouri to the Big 10″ in those exact words. But given the knowledge of Missouri’s desire to leave the Big 12 and his report of Missouri having an invitation to a conference they desperately wanted to go to, he may as well have reported “Missouri to the Big 10″ when he wrote the line “The Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league to four universities including Missouri.”

Three years later, he is distorting the facts of his own report in order to cover up for his mistake and to take more credit for the Tejada report. Changing “initial offers to join the league” to “initial inquiry for information” is an astounding leap. It is a leap he can make since he pulled his own report from 2010 from his website. By dismissing his 2010 report as an error of technicality, he can bask in the glory of his perceived success with the Miguel Tejada story.

None of what he is doing is journalism.

It is stunts like this that kill his credibility when it comes to breaking news. Kietzman’s lack of credibility as a journalist stems from false reports and in the way he handles those mistakes. If Kietzman is willing to distort his own story, what other facts is he willing to distort?

We don’t know. And, frankly, I’m not sure Kietzman knows either.

***

Here is the text of Kietzman’s Missouri report in full from the cached site:

The Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league to four universities including Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations.

While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join. It is not yet clear whether the Big Ten will expand to 14 or 16 teams but sources indicated Missouri and Nebraska are invited in either scenario.  Notre Dame has repeatedly declined the opportunity to join the Big Ten.  If Notre Dame remains independent, Rutgers would be the 14th team.  The Big Ten would then decide whether to stop at 14 or extend offers to two other schools.  If Notre Dame joins, sources say an offer will be extended to one other school making it a 16-team league.

In order for the University of Missouri to join the Big Ten, the Missouri Board of Regents will still have to approve the move.  Sources close to the governing body say the Big Ten has told officials that Mizzou could add $1.3 million per month in revenue to the lucrative Big Ten Television Network.  The Big Ten Network is currently offered on basic cable to very few of over 7 million residents living in Missouri television markets and adding it throughout the state will be a windfall for the conference.
Big Ten representatives have also told Missouri officials they would like to have the entire expansion process wrapped up this summer with a formal announcement coming no later than July.

The University of Missouri is currently under contract with the Big 12 conference and will have to pay a stiff penalty to leave the Big 12.  The Big 12 charter states any member will lose between 50 and 100 percent of its shared annual revenue depending on the length of notice any school gives.  According to published reports, Missouri receives around $9 million annually in shared football revenue from the Big 12.  According to sources, it seems likely Missouri would give one- year notice.   It is projected that Missouri’s football revenues would increase by $10 million or more per year when it joins the Big Ten versus what it currently receives in the Big 12.

Topics: Kevin Kietzman, Miguel Tejada, Missouri Tigers

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  • Joel Wagler

    Give ‘em hell, Ben!

  • Kyle King

    Kietzman is an ass clown.

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