Some will claim the recent decision to drop callers from the weekly football radio show is because Coach Groh is afraid to take calls from fans. I don’t believe it is. I believe it’s in part to prevent fans from damaging the program with ill-advised comments that can be heard from just about anywhere in the world. When you get right down to it, the coaches show is there for one simple purpose, to build support and exposure for the program, particularly in the eyes of recruits and their families, but also to help attract new fans, donors and season ticket holders. It is not about opening up the coach, live and on the air, to mean-spirited comments and accusations of poor coaching.
The call-in segment of the show in recent years has been disgusting and not becoming of the UVa fan base. Even if the coach isn’t doing a great job, there’s a certain level of respect that should be given when asking a question or providing a comment. It’s not like Coach Groh isn’t trying to win. The guy eats, sleeps and lives football. While critical or thought provoking questions might be acceptable, many of critical comments were well below the belt. Why should UVa pay for that?
Maybe this is the best thing for all. The new format subtracts the jackass factor from the equation and prevents the boring, ‘Great job this week’ comments that do nothing but fill up air time. But it does allow for write-in questions and comments that can be read aloud. I don’t need to hear four different people say or ask the same thing. Give me just one intelligent comment and question pertaining to an area, answer it, and then move on.
Is this censorship? Hardly. This is a show produced and paid for by UVa. They make the rules and they know the score. Plus, there are plenty of other venting posts for fans who want to have their voices heard: online forums such as the ones on this site, and other on-air talk shows like Best Seat in the House and the new Hoos Talking show that begins the first week of September.
For now, asking the tough questions directly to the coach is reserved for the media. But don’t blame Virginia. As fans, we had our chance and we blew it. Now we have this. If Virginia fans want their voice heard directly, fans will have to rely on sending emails, attending special functions like VAF socials, or speaking their minds through monetary means (donations, ticket purchases, etc.).
The days of open mike night for Cavalier football fans are over, at least when the show is a paid program by the University of Virginia. Can’t say I blame them.