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Breaking: Gamecock Recruit Says Harmless Thing, Blogger Writes Dumb Thing About It

Because every 16-year-old should be a titan of rhetoric.


As noted Sunday on GABA, the Gamecocks received a major commitment from 2015 DE Arden Key, and there was much rejoicing. In an interview following his commitment, Key pointed to South Carolina's academics as one of program's draws.

"The academic part, they make it easy. In order to do bad at South Carolina, you've got to try to fail." — Arden Key

SANE, REASONABLE RESPONSE: "Ha! Probably could have phrased that better, young gun! But, we all know what he meant. He was alluding to the support system the school's put in place that provides tutoring services for athletes who might need some extra guidance in a particular subject. And if you didn't know it, five minutes of research would fill you in. No harm, no foul. Heck, you're 16 and giving interviews to national recruiting services! When I was 16, I could hardly get through a job interview at the movie theater without forgetting my own name."


Settle down, y'all. Perhaps Yahoo blogger Cameron Smith just didn't get it. Maybe he hastily stitched together his blog post after spying a stray retweet on the subject. It's an irresponsible course of action, but hey, we consumers demand fresh content and this can be what happens when content creators are pressured to expedite output, which they do at the expense of thoroughness. "He belittled South Carolina’s academics in an underhanded way," Smith solemnly concludes, failing to decipher the well-intentioned rhetoric of a 16-year-old with a proverbial spotlight blasting his retinas. It may have seemed obvious to us, but I guess Cameron just missed the point.

That, or he totally gets it but ran with the sensationalist angle anyway:

Then again, maybe Key was just misunderstood. Perhaps he meant to cite South Carolina’s tutor program as the key to lifting up players’ academic performance. According to unverified reports, he took a tour of the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center while visiting the campus shortly before committing, so that actually is a distinct possibility.

"...that actually is a distinct possibility!" But pesky facts shouldn't stand in the way of Smith's condemnation. Cameron's not tryna undermine the whole premise of his post, after all! By the way, Smith goes on to point out that if the above scenario was somehow the case, it indicates that student athletes aren't on "equal footing" with all those regular-ass students left to fail with little to no effort required! First of all, there are peer tutoring services available and academic advisers assigned to all South Carolina students, regardless of athletic participation. So does Cameron think that South Carolina's athletic department is the only one that takes an active approach to ensuring its athletes' academic success? If so, follow-up question: would he like to purchase these Magic Beans? I'm not saying they'll grow into a towering beanstalk leading to a cloud kingdom where there's a goose that lays golden eggs, BUT I'M ALSO NOT SAYING IT WON'T.

But let's face it: Smith's biggest failing here is his literal interpretation of the words of an (almost) high school junior, and his use of that interpretation as the basis for a nationally published opinion piece. Hordes of commenters, plenty of whom likely never made it to the contingency paragraph excerpted above, will smear the kid's character and the institution to which he's committed. It's a shame it's happening, and also odd that a graduate of Columbia and Georgetown universities wouldn't be levelheaded enough to allow for a kid born in Bill Clinton's second term to misspeak in an interview. COUGH HARPH COUGH #PAGEVIEWS COUGH COUGH

BTW, Key has responded:

So wait, the tutors will BEND OVER BACKWARDS? Someone tell Cameron Smith to write something on the contortionists populating the USC academic enrichment center...what a scoop!

Your thoughts? Is Smith playing fair here, or should he have been able to overlook a verbal gaff by a 16-year-old? As always, healthy debate is welcome.