Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong. This time, Prep Rally got it wrong.
New South Carolina football commitment Arden Key — Rivals.com
Earlier on Tuesday, Prep Rally posted a story about a Georgia defensive end named Arden Key who committed to play at South Carolina. The story was written largely to highlight a rather questionable choice of words that Key was reported to have said in announcing his commitment, namely the following: “The academic part, you have to try to fail.”
Prep Rally reported that quote based on what was attributed as a direct quote by Key to South Carolina news outlet Palmetto Sports. The quote was clearly attributed to Palmetto Sports.
Normally, that would be fine and dandy. The issue here is that the quote apparently wasn’t given to Palmetto Sports. Instead, it was given to a reporter from 247 Sports, then appropriated and re-positioned by Palmetto Sports. Or, if it was given directly to Palmetto Sports, then that publication twisted it pretty badly, omitting a key phrase that changed the context of the quote in its entirety.
This is the original quote in its full context, at least according to 247 Sports:
“It has a great vibe,” he said. “There wasn’t really anybody there, but you could tell when people are there what it would be like. It’s kind of a mixture of the city and the country. The academic part, they make it easy. In order to do bad at South Carolina, you’ve got to try to fail.”
As noted by Lost Letterman (which also fell prey to Key's quote from Palmetto Sports), the key difference in the two quotes is “they make it easy.” The ‘they’ in this case is clearly the University of South Carolina, and more particularly, the school’s multi-million dollar Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center.
Prep Rally noted that there was a possibility that Key was referring to “The Dodie” the entire time. That’s certainly a more legitimate point for Key to support, even if it does in turn raise questions about athletes and their own commitment to academics relative to the general student body.
As it turns out, Key may in fact be quite committed to academics. Earlier Tuesday, the 247 writer who initially posted a story about Key’s commitment tweeted out an additional quote, from an interview article he wrote shortly after Key’s initial visit to Columbia.
“I liked the academic center,” Key told 247 Sports’ Wes Mitchell. “The academic center makes you want to study.”
The issue, of course, was that not nearly as many people read Mitchell’s work on 247 Sports as read the Palmetto Sports story. That may be in part due to its rapid dissemination on other mainstream sports sites including The Big Lead, where Prep Rally first discovered Key’s remarkable (albeit apparently adjusted or misrepresented) quote.
Read More »from Arden Key doesn’t hate to study, he just used a misleading phase: How Prep Rally and others were duped by a quote