UM's story doesn't add up / by rakontur

The phone starting ringing early this morning: parents, friends, our partners at ESPN, sports talk radio producers. 

Everyone wanted to talk about Barry Jackson's article in the Miami Herald about The U, which is the most commented and most viewed article on the paper's website today:


Even NBC's White House correspondent (and Canes fan) Chuck Todd weighed in on Twitter:


The question of the day is: what went down with UM and why did it refuse to cooperate?

Jackie Menendez, UM's vice president/communications, told Barry Jackson:

the school declined to allow the interviews or participate in the project because Corben wasn't willing to allow UM officials to read the script in advance.

Two problems with this tale:

1) A documentary doesn't have a script.  When you're making a documentary, you conduct interviews and piece together the story.  At the end, you have a transcript. Asking for a script in advance is like telling a newspaper reporter you won't give a quote for an article unless you can read the article first.

2) UM officials never asked for a script.  Mark Pray asked for a treatment, which is basically an outline or synopsis:

On Feb 13, 2008, at 5:03 PM, Pray, Mark W. wrote:

Hey Billy,

Yes, I knew it was the project we discussed last year.  However, I never received a detailed overview of your project.  Before we move forward, please send us a written treatment as discussed. Thanks.

Billy replied:

From: Billy Corben
Date: February 14, 2008 1:40:26 AM EST
To: "Mark W. Pray"
Cc: "Alfred Spellman (rakontur)"
Subject: Re: FILM: Hurricane Season ESPN President Shalala and Tad Foote

Dear Mark,

Attached please find a detailed description of the project.  As you'll see from the treatment and our interview request list below, we are very interested in local recruits, the impact that historical events in Miami had on the development of the team and how the reputation of the team encouraged coaches and players to commit to UM.

We would appreciate any help you can provide in securing on-camera interviews with the following folks from the Athletic Department and Academic Administration:

Randy Shannon
Paul Dee
Art Kehoe
Edward Foote

And here's the treatment that was attached:

The U treatment


The University of Miami should just come clean with its reason for not participating, whatever that is.