Friday, November 14, 2008

Clearing up the Bill Bates situation

Earlier today we told you about Tennessee's mysterious death wish for former football player Bill Bates, and it looks like we have an answer for why the UT journalism school ran stories on its Web site claiming Bates was dead (he isn't).

According to commenter 'blair' who we'll assume is Blair Bolick, author of the story where Bates died in a plane crash, the stories were done as part of a class assignment to practice web formatting, and the teacher assured the class they wouldn't be available to the public.

Whoops. The stories still show up on Google and can be viewed with the 'Cached' link, leading to some rumors that Bates had died in Italy, a plane crash or of a heart attack while riding a horse.

The stories got widespread enough that Bates' kids had to put up Facebook messages assuring people their father was alive and well.

When practicing obituaries (a major hobby of mine) I usually tend to either choose people who are actually deceased or make someone up, not pick someone who is alive and make up quotes from former teammates about how he will be missed.

Nice work Rocky Top.

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