Sources: How The Media Failed Reporting UNLV’s New FB Coaching Hire

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The last 24 hours in UNLV Football’s Twitterverse has been some of the most bizarre in recent memory. While failed sources and bad reporting from a few locals permeated throughout the school’s search for a basketball coach this past spring, it was confined to Vegas. This time, even national news media — including the usually reliable Associated Press — dropped the ball, falsely reporting LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda was offered the job and was on the verge of agreeing to join UNLV as head coach, “per sources.”

The timeline went from generally reliable to circus in what felt like an instant, with local scribes like the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Mark Anderson as well as Sin City SM’s writing staff, correctly reporting UNLV was on the verge of hiring Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo (which came to fruition Wednesday morning).

National news media members Sports Illustrated writer Ross Dellenger, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and Fox Sports writer Bruce Feldman all falsely reported Aranda was in “serious” negotiations with UNLV.

Then the Associated Press jumped on board with the three stooges’ posts and piggybacked the false reports. And, once the Associated Press ran with it, a few of the local bloggers — the same ones who reported Rick Pitino then Thad Matta were done deals to coach UNLV basketball this past spring — jumped into the false reporting mix, even going so far as to intimate they were breaking a story that had been on the internet for almost a half hour.

Even the Las Vegas Sun ran with the Associated Press story, posting it online for the better part of the evening. Again, the result of Dellinger’s false report.

In spite of the nonsense, a few level-headed local writers with real sources took to social media to clarify the reports as false.

Then, after a few hours of fans retweeting, posting opinions, radio shows discussing the potential hiring of the highest paid assistant in all of college football, the other shoe finally dropped. Rittenberg tweeted out almost the exact same post as before, changing it to Aranda not a candidate, before shifting back to the actual projected hire that had been accurately reported by the few local media members with solid sources.

Feldman even tried to credit Rittenberg with breaking the story that his own story was false.

Once the shit hit the fan, pandemonium broke loose and Twitter became more entertaining than UNLV’s brawl with Reno over Thanksgiving weekend.

In the end, local sports fans were caught in the crossfire of the need to report first, not accurately. Aranda’s agents most likely leaked the news to their go-to SEC-obsessed writers to leverage an even bigger contract for their client, as he did twice before with LSU going from around $500K to $1.2 million to his current $2.5 million.

In today’s social media obsessed era, Las Vegas is going to have to prepare itself for even more nonsense as it continues to evolve into a “major league” sports town with the Raiders heading here for good in less than a year. It’s hard to find reliable reporting that properly vets their “sources” and the embarrassment of reporting false information should be enough to remind media types to show restraint in their quest for clout.

With Arroyo scheduled for a morning press conference, the deal is done. Here’s hoping it will be a long time before UNLV has to hire a new coach for either of its top money-making programs.

Until then, is it too early to start citing my “unnamed source” to report the Ghost of John Wooden is in line to take over the basketball program? Probably, but that won’t stop me!