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Who's Driving The Carr?

Last weekend's Lloyd Carr drama was, if nothing else, a fascinating case study in the ever-evolving world of the Internet and how news is disseminated and analyzed by blogs, fans and the media. If you need to get up to speed, have at it. But in the meantime, Zach Schonburn at The Daily Orange put together a piece on the incident and it's fallout, or lack thereof. He spoke with Brian Harrison over at Orange44 and Brent Axe to get their perspective and to help fill in the many gaps that remain.
He was there, and then he was not there - a figment of reality, perhaps, or a juicy side dish for a fan base's wishful thinking. He was at the Northeastern game, except nobody spoke with him. He was in Manley Field House early last week, except nobody confirms seeing him. He was walking on the Quad on Friday, except nobody took a picture of him.

He was, of course, Lloyd Carr, the former Michigan head coach, whose face is as recognizable as any in college football, and whose appearance on Syracuse's campus has turned the blog scene abuzz with theories ranging from here to Ann Arbor, Mich.

If he did stroll through the Quad, did rain blur the focus of any picture-phone photography? If he did sit in the press box, did no reporter feel the need to check his credentials?
All very valid points. For all the people who commented on my site and emailed me to confirm that they had seen him or seen a picture-photo of him on a friend's phone, no one has actually come forward with any tangible proof. And I have to admit, that is strange. For his part, Brian did his due diligence before posting the new item:
"I didn't want to put it out there and have 90 million people leave a comment like 'no, you're an idiot,'" Harrison said. "I really wanted to make sure that it was at least being talked about and something that I thought was pretty valid. So after thinking about it and checking with several people, I went ahead and posted it."
And Axe confirmed that this wasn't just a blogger making something up, this was a rumor spread far throughout the SU community, true or not:
"Before I got off the air at 6 p.m., I had eight or nine text messages," Axe said in a telephone conversation. "When I got home and checked my e-mail that night, my e-mail box was flooded. The reaction was out there."
So with no real answer other than deafening silence on the issue, what's the lesson to be learned at the moment?
The joke's on us, fans and media alike, who gobble up gossip without a touch of sensibility, constantly blurring the boundary between news and nonsense. It's only to be expected that a phone call and an "insider" can throw a world out of whack.
But what about all the other times when such news makes it way through the back channels only to be proven true? For the most part, I think a sensible person can spot full-blown speculation and rumor from truth. In the few instances (and they are fewer than you'd like to believe) that a "multiple people have seen Lloyd Carr at SU" nugget falls from the ether, a person with common sense thinks rationally about the validity of it, the impact the news will have on the whole and then makes a decision.

In this specific instance, I know that Brian is not the kind of blogger to just post any crazy notion that crosses his inbox (
he let's me do that). Not to mention the fact he works in a profession that requires him to have the utmost respect for the truth and being able to stand behind what he says. I have no doubts that in this instance he acted to the best of his ability as a source of news for Syracuse fans and as a Syracuse fan himself.

Schonburn ends the article by saying he doesn't care whether the Carr news is true or not until Carr is actually on the sidelines (or confirmed as not). I can appreciate that but I don't personally agree, especially considering Carr's alledged involvement with the University could have a multitude of end results. He could be a consultant. He could be taking on some other job with the University. He could literally just have been visiting friends. He could have just wanted to see the home of the team that ripped him a new one in 1998 in his House (probably not). Point is, as is the case in many situations, there isn't one definite conclusion to a news item like this. It could have dozens of outcomes, if it's true. Most of which would have major implications for Syracuse. So it was worth noting publicly and being put up for discussion.

As for what fans and message boards do with that information, well, how is that relevant? Are those boards any less crazed today about the Lane Kiffin news just because it's being reported by "journalists?" Lane Kiffin has never actually uttered one word about coaching at Syracuse. So why is it alright for us all to speculate about him?

In retrospect, I don't see how it should have been handled any differently.