Michigan Athletic Department Rebukes Online 'Coverage'

Paul Steinbach Headshot

The University of Michigan released a letter to parents and student-athletes Friday warning them of the "coverage" given the Wolverines football program by online provocateur James Yoder.

Yoder, the CEO of Chat Sports, runs an internet show titled "Michigan Football Report," which athletic department officials claim is "riddled with inaccuracies." According to The Big Lead, Yoder is well known among Michigan fans and message board visitors for "his unique brand of trolling and adversarial relationship with actual journalists." 

The letter is signed by David Ablauf, Michigan's associate athletic director overseeing football. It reads, in part, "James Yoder is not a credentialed member of the media covering Michigan Football. To our knowledge, he has never been affiliated with any recognized legitimate media outlet. He has proclaimed himself 'the kind of Michigan media' yet his comments on Michigan Football are riddled with inaccuracies and not based upon any direct access or communication with our team, coaches or other personnel. He does not cover the program in any official capacity. He reports what he claims is news but has no interaction with our players or staff, and many of his false narratives have been inaccurate and damaging to the student-athletes who represent our great program."

The letter goes on to accuse Yoder of staging his internet reports in a way that implies he has insider status. "We believe that he films his online postings in front of a green screen and superimposes a photograph of the Schembechler Hall museum in the background, thereby creating the illusion/perception that he is an insider or informant, with access to the program and our facilities." Ablauf goes on to say that Yoder "would never be provided access as a credentialed journalist."

"Michigan Football encourages its family and fans to seek accurate information on our program through the wide selection of trusted, credible, credentialed and professional sports media outlets that cover our team," the letter states.

It didn't take long for at least one of those outlets to pile on. Sports talk radio station WTKA in Ann Arbor tweeted Friday from its "The Michigan Insider" account: "Everyone else is having fun with this so we will too. Finally, we are truly able to out this pathetic person for the fraud that he is."

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