Let me begin by stating that I am biased. I grew up in the south watching the SEC and rooting for SEC teams. Almost all of my friends that I grew up with liked SEC teams and our conversations about football usually centered on the Southeastern Conference.
This being said, I am going to try to be as unbiased as I can while writing this article. Every fact that I list in this article will be true to the best of my knowledge. I'm sure there will be some mistakes and I welcome those readers who can help me correct them in the comments below.
An example of Parity
African Americans learned a long time ago that a black person on trial cannot get a fair trial unless there is parity in the jury pool. We all come from different backgrounds, with different belief systems that foster certain prejudices that are inherent to our culture. If a jury is comprised of 12 people from the same area, same religion and same race, the defendant had better have the same background if he or she wants a fair trial.
Parity breeds fairness.
I believe that without parity within ESPN they cannot evenly report on sports. Try as they may, every reporter, producer and commentary person graduated from a college steeped in tradition. Most of these people went to school in the area they grew up in.
Unfortunately, very few of the ESPN personnel grew up or attended schools in the south.
Have you ever wondered why USC, Ohio State, Michigan, Texas, Notre Dame and a few pet Non-BCS schools garner the majority of the press coverage in spite of their mediocrity? This is not to say that these teams are always mediocre, it means that the press coverage is consistent, and even excessive, even when they are in down years.
Do You Believe That ESPN Has Fair Coverage?
You probably haven't noticed, but almost all of the ESPN Football Classics that feature SEC schools shows the SEC team being defeated by Big Ten, Big East and Pac 10 schools, in spite of the fact that the SEC has winning records against all of these conferences.
I know I'm nit picking. I realize it's probably my bias that makes me think that the TV commentators are secretly grinning when SEC schools get defeated in the big games by the aforementioned conferences. Or is it?
Is it my imagination that Fox news anchors looked like giddy school children who had to go potty while covering the last elections that the Republicans handily won? Or the not so obvious but just as happy NBC reporters with Mona Lisa grins reporting on the Obama victory the election before?
Guess What? Each network claims to be unbiased. Although the vast majority of people at Fox claim to be, or are obviously, conservatives and an even amount of reporters and producers at NBC are committed liberals.
Fox has their "Token" liberals and NBC has their "Token" conservatives and this is how they claim parity.
The problem is, that doesn't work. We are all creatures of our culture, upbringing, allegiances and beliefs; and no matter how we try to be unbiased our true colors will eventually bleed through. ESPN is no different.
That being said, here is how the ESPN sports coverage breaks down. This is a list of the cover men and women that report on college football and the schools they attended. If my assertion that "parity breeds fairness" how can ESPN have fair coverage?
Two important things to note:
1. The non-BCS schools are mainly from the east, west and mid-west.
2. Most of these schools have been soundly beat by an SEC school in recent years.
Erin Andrews - University of Florida
Reece Davis - University of Alabama
Bob Davie - University of Pittsburgh
Sean McDonough - Syracuse University
Chris Spielman - Ohio State
Mark May - University of Pittsburgh
Dave Pasch - Syracuse University
Bob Griese - Purdue University
Joe Tessitore - Boston College
Bob Wischusen - Boston College
Doug Flutie - Boston College
Pam Ward - University of Maryland
Ron Franklin - Texas A&M
Chris Fowler - University of Colorado
David Norrie - UCLA
Ed Cunningham - Washington Huskies
Rod Gilmore - Stanford
Brock Huard - University of Washington
Brad Nessler - Minnesota State
Matt Millen - Penn State
Lisa Salters - Penn State
Chris Spielman - Ohio State University
Non BCS / Independant:
Lou Holtz - Kent State University - M - (MAC) - OHIO
Craig James - SMU - (Conference USA)
Rob Stone - Colgate University - (New York)
Ray Bently - Central Michigan (MAC)
Heather Cox - University of the Pacific
Mel Kiper - Essex Community College - (I) (Maryland)
Shaun King - Tulane University S - (Conference USA)
Wendi Nix - Wofford College - (ESPN)
Andre Ware - University of Houston - W - (Conference USA)
Ray Bentley - Central Michigan - MAC
Brad Nessler - Minnesota State