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Volume 69, Issue 89, Thursday, February 12, 2004


Staff Editorial


                            Matt Dulin    Barrett Goldsmith    Zach Lee 
                Jim Parsons            Christian Schmidt           Blake Whitaker


The secret's out. The clothes are off. And it's all over the news.

When the president of an adult entertainment company said students at UH and Rice University had hired topless dancers to perform at parties possibly attended by current or prospective student athletes, a gasp escaped from every newsroom in the city.

"That's a story," they said, some rushing out their camera crews and others hashing out a story from official statements released by UH and Rice.

Their source, Steve Lower, revealed the tip in a story that ran Tuesday in the Rocky Mountain News. Lower's comments came a week after a Boulder County, Colo., district attorney filed a lawsuit against the University of Colorado for using sex to lure recruits. Lower's point was that Colorado is not alone.

"It's a tradition handed down from player to player to player," Lower said, saying that school officials never knew about the parties. According to a Houston Chronicle report, UH Athletics Director Dave Maggard questioned Lower who said he could not verify that student athletes who participated in the parties.

Not surprisingly, UH and Rice denied knowledge of such parties. Even Lower said that his dancers had been hired by students, but he didn't know whether student athletes were involved.

So what's the story? In short, there really isn't one. Hiring dancers for private use does not violate NCAA rules. 

Although we don't condone using strippers to lure student athletes, we aren't going to endorse hyped coverage of what, at this point, remains a non-situation. We've had a number of requests about why the story hasn't appeared in The Daily Cougar, and the answer is simple: Reporting on rumors is not responsible journalism.

What's on our hands now is an expectation to immaturely report on a story bloated by both local and national media, and we're not going to until we have all of the facts.
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