COMMENTARY: Athletics department did not try to bar media access

Todd Stewart

Your Staff Editorial “Shut Out – Football program bars media access to National Signing Day banquet” is misleading and inaccurate. First of all, the signing day event was an invitation only event for members of the Hilltopper Athletic Foundation, and there was a cost of $10 per person to cover the costs of the food. If any media member was also a member of HAF, they certainly could have attended the banquet – there was no formal media ban or any orchestrated effort to prohibit the media from attending.  

What the editorial unfortunately also fails to mention is that we had a “media only” press conference with Coach Petrino earlier that same day at 3 p.m. Many fans expressed a desire to attend this press conference, but out of respect for the media, the press conference (which also included all nine assistant football coaches) was only for members of the media and then we set up a separate event later in the day to accommodate fans. 

Thus, your editorial is completely oblivious to the facts when you write “…wouldn’t it make sense for Petrino to all but personally escort the media right up front so he can answer any questions and quell any fears or uncertainties about the future of WKU football?” He, in fact, did exactly this by making himself and all nine of his assistant coaches available to the Herald and all other media that same day BEFORE the fan event even took place. 

You also write, “Rather than bordering on censorship with the very people who can help get your message to supporters and naysayers alike, it would be smart of the football program to use journalists as an avenue to communicate with hundreds of people it might not otherwise reach.” Again, we had a 3 p.m. media only press conference that same day with the head coach and all nine assistant coaches. I think it could easily be stated that was indeed “using journalists as an avenue to communicate with hundreds of people it might not otherwise reach.” In fact, I don’t see how one could reach any other conclusion.

I appreciate the efforts and dedication of the Herald staff who approach their work with admirable zeal, professionalism and enthusiasm; however, in this instance your Staff Editorial was very disappointing to read as it omitted several key facts and thus was unfair to our football staff and misleading to your readers.  


Todd Stewart

Director of Athletics