About That Deadspin Thing
As you can imagine, we've fielded a few messages since Deadspin published a post yesterday accusing SB Nation of underpaying the writers working for its team sites. We started the SB Nation Iowa Hawkeyes site, Black Heart Gold Pants, back in 2007 and ran it until last July.
There are too many claims in the Deadspin post to address each individually, so I'll simply say that, in my experience, the post is roughly 80 percent accurate, which is pretty good for a post of that length. As for the underlying premise -- that the writers on SBN team sites are grossly underpaid and exploited by the network -- there might not be anyone who knows the accuracy of that claim better than us. And I would say that it's more complicated than that.
The guys who founded and operated BHGP -- Jacobi, JHC, me, and Ross -- are precisely the "hobbyists" that are described in the Deadspin post. Two of us were running our own independent sites in 2006 with virtually no traffic or income. The other two came from the comment threads, either at BHGP (Ross) or elsewhere (JHC). When we signed up with SBN in 2007, all we got was a vague promise of money in the future. We did it anyway because we were getting free support for the technical issues that we didn't understand and because it turbocharged our growth. Our audience exploded overnight, and that was because we were no longer writing in the wilderness.
That exposure led to opportunity. For a not-insignificant length of time, Adam was working as a full-time college football writer, in large part because Adam is really, really good at this but also because BHGP gave him exposure that opened doors. I worked as an employee of SBN, first as a general newsdesk writer and then as a college football contributor, for years. I got paid to watch college football and write about it. I had a couple of phone calls with other media companies about better-paying jobs, but other SBN writers who were better than me got offered those jobs. Those phone calls never happen were it not for the SBN platform, and those other writers who got the jobs would probably say the same.
Eventually, once SBN had been bought and funded, BHGP received a stipend, and SBN made payments to key contributors that we needed in order to make them key contributors. Were we underpaid, given our traffic? Yeah, probably. Were we underpaid, given the amount of time it took to publish that site? Yes, the hourly rate would have been comical. Were there times I felt overworked and underpaid? Sure, as I think almost everyone feels about every job. But SBN generally made life as a writer easy. We didn't have to handle our own platform. We didn't have to make ad sales. We just published what we wanted and got some beer money for it. When I started on a Blogspot address in 2006 and got really excited when daily traffic hit triple digits, that was about as good as I could have imagined. I understood the agreement going in. I wasn't exploited. And, having been there for nearly a decade, I don't have a bad thing to say about SBN.
Tour de Goldpants
The BTN road show came to Iowa City yesterday. Tom Dienhart's takeaway?
— Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) August 14, 2017
The full BTN intro is available at the top of Dienhart's full post, and it's worth watching for this alone: The BTN guys, who see this program every August, think Iowa's talent level is up from past years.
BTN Bus Tour #Hawkeyes From 1 to 105 this may be 1 of the best looking Iowa teams we've seen. Every position group was impressive physically
— Gerry DiNardo (@gerrydinardo) August 14, 2017
Brian Ferentz, Phil Parker, Akrum Wadley and Josey Jewell also sat down at the desk to talk about where the Hawkeyes sit in mid-August.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) August 14, 2017
The BTN show is always glossy and rarely gets past the stuff we already know: Iowa's passing game is questionable, the linebackers are going to be good, water is wet, etc. And while the BTN isn't ever going to be openly critical at this point in the year -- this is a promotional tour in the most basic sense -- you can tell a lot from what guys like DiNardo are saying. And those guys are intrigued by this squad, which is about as good as you can expect for a team with as many question marks as Iowa has.
Odds & Ends
Two Iowa swimmers were declared ineligible and forced to remove their names from the website for a camping apparel company they started. When people say that college athletes aren't employees, they're right. Employees don't sell their names to their employers.
Matthew Bain from the Press-Citizen gets Tim Polasek to talk about Tristan Wirfs. Takeaway No. 1: He's a giant. Takeaway No. 2: He might play this year, which would make him the first true freshman on Iowa's offensive line since James Daniels. Because it helps to be a giant.
This graphic from HoopsHype made the rounds on Twitter yesterday:
These are the top NBA scorers by state
(Yeah, no Vermont). pic.twitter.com/2itVTbSf5M
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) August 14, 2017
It's based on birth state, which is how Davenport North grad Ricky Davis is representing Nevada; if it were on graduation state, Davis scored more points Hinrich. Rock Chalk THAT.
We already know there's a K-Pop supergroup that loves the Iowa Hawkeyes. Make this happen, Kirk.