The hockey coach tape was produced for the Miami Stories Oral History Project. So why did so many people act so bizarrely as soon as I started sniffing around?

Oh, you guys. I’m tired, bummed, and as emotionally banged-up as a Miami Hockey Coach tape.

Long story short: the university sent me the opening 10 minutes of the hockey coach tape, and in the first few seconds, Miami broadcaster Steve Baker states very clearly that the interview was made for the Miami Stories Oral History Project. So there ‘ya have it. Question answered. 

As you can imagine, I have unresolved questions, mostly of the “why” variety. Because of the university’s weirdly evasive actions and non-responses to my questions concerning Carl Knox’s former secretary and the unposted recordings of the Oral History Project, I’ve been burrowing in this rabbit hole for nearly 2 years of my life (and yours). Because of their foot dragging during my Ohio Court of Claims complaint, I’m several thousand dollars poorer. I mean seriously…why?

The remainder of this blog will be devoted to some of the overriding questions that I’d like to pose to university officials. If you happen to be a university official and you’d like to offer up an answer or two, the comment box is now open!

For the rest of you, I’m really sorry, but I need to vent. Some of these issues you already know about. Others will be new to you. I’m pretty sure I’m in safe territory as far as the mediation is concerned, but as long as it’s true and I have documentation to prove it, I’m going there.

Of course, you’re all welcome to comment too!

Please be assured that, after today, unless we make an extraordinarily newsworthy discovery, I’ll spare you any more blog posts regarding the Miami Stories Oral History Project, Carl Knox’s former secretary, or the three stellar gentlemen we’ve come to know as the Miami Hockey Coaches. 

Here we go!

****************

Dear Miami University,

Can someone please tell me:

Why did the Office of General Counsel wait until June 2022 to inform me about the three boxes of Oral History Project documents sitting in University Archives, when I’d explicitly asked for those records through a public records request In April 2021? Why did they send 11 random electronic documents instead of pointing me to the three boxes which held exactly the types of documents I was requesting?

When I asked people affiliated with the Oral History Project if Carl Knox’s secretary was one of the three unposted recordings mentioned in an interim progress report, why didn’t they answer the question? Instead, they either said something like “I didn’t interview her,” or they flat-out ghosted me.

When I asked the same people which recordings weren’t posted online, why could no one remember a single example? Why couldn’t anyone at least recall the very sad day when the Miami Hockey Coaches tape was damaged so severely that they wouldn’t be able to use the recording?

Why did the OGC feel the need to pull the hockey coaches’ consent forms from their folder in University Archives shortly before I arrived on October 3 to look through those same consent forms? 

What’s more, why did the university wait until that same day, Monday, October 3, to send the mangled “Hockey Tape #2 (Edit)” to be repaired when—let’s see, how do I put this?—I’d thought that they’d already done so weeks earlier? (The tape is still being repaired.) 

Also, when I told the OGC rep about the missing consent forms, why did she claim that I hadn’t told anyone “in person,” otherwise someone would have helped me? Of course I’d told someone in person. Why did she also say that they’d placed the consent forms with the “good” hockey tape “while we wait for the other hockey tape to be repaired,” as if they’d been waiting around for the second tape, as opposed to sending it in that same day? Seriously, what was that about? 

How were university staff able to find the missing hockey coaches interview tape? According to university officials, it hasn’t been entered into ArchivesSpace, and it supposedly hasn’t been given an archive number or accessions number. Seriously, how’d they find it?

If the hockey coaches recording was destroyed as early in the process as the university claims, why didn’t they save the audio backup recording? Public universities, as a rule, are cost-conscious. I’d think they would’ve tried to salvage something from their efforts. They could have at least posted the audio online.

Why on October 13 did the OGC send me a recording of the Miami Hockey Coaches that was missing the first 5 minutes? That oversight makes no sense, especially since we now know that the Miami Stories Oral History Project is mentioned in those 5 minutes.

And finally this: why was a tape titled “Return to Steve” made available to one AGMIHTF researcher during her visit to University Archives earlier this month, yet, when I asked for the tape again for another researcher, OGC stepped in to say that “Return to Steve” is a mini DV cleaner tape, it’s not a public record, and the second researcher can’t have it? Why would a lawyer need to step in to tell me that it was a cleaner tape? Couldn’t an archivist have done that? 

I’ll stop there, though I’m also a little curious who Steve is.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I wish the news had been better, but, as you longtime followers know, it’s all part of the journey.

And now, please enjoy some photos of my boy Herbie, who’s currently on his annual Thanksgiving excursion to his uncles’ apartment in NYC. Tonight we’re staying in a hotel. Herbie loves hotels.

10 thoughts on “The hockey coach tape was produced for the Miami Stories Oral History Project. So why did so many people act so bizarrely as soon as I started sniffing around?

  1. Extended, unexpected swan dives into ominous, bottomless pits of such rabbit holes are just part of the research territory. As a writer/sleuther, I’ve been falling down quite a few the last 20+ years. One even took me on a journey through every issue of Cosmopolitan magazine from the early 80s onward. A well-known, notorious, unsolved murder case had a lengthy editorial spread in a magazine edition, but The Seattle Public Library did not have it cited in their card catalog listing. I was frustrated, but a relative told me to keep searching because she has seen and read it in that particular magazine. Not sure how, but it didn’t take long to narrow my search and by golly, I found that issue with that editorial spread. But with persistence and perseverance, and the dedication of our own self-torture, it can be all worthwhile, such as everything you’ve done with the missing tape and its new mysterious can of worms now presented. Good work and kudos for not giving up! And Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thank you so much, Brett, for your words of support. And congratulations on finding the editorial spread! Happy Thanksgiving to you too! 🦃🙏😊

  2. Dead ends (although I’m not sure this is a dead end so much as people throwing up road blocks) are frustrating, but you’re still making progress. I love your blog – been following it for years! Happy Thanksgiving and Herbie is so handsome!

    1. Thank you so much, Bridget! Did you notice that I didn’t say I’d given up on the Return to Steve tape? I’ve requested to see it for myself—physically—the next time I’m there. I just won’t be writing about this topic anymore unless I have something major to report. Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Herbie says thanks! 😸

  3. Jen,
    So sorry this didn’t pan out as you had hoped and you are still left with so many unanswered questions! You might be able to chalk some of the university staff’s behavior up to ineptitude – or, even just a lack of working staff. Since the pandemic, I have found that response times (to my genealogy inquiries) have been quite slow. As you probably already know, info can pop up in the most unexpected places, so don’t give up hope. Have a wonderful turkey day and thanks for sharing the pics of Herbie – he reminds me of our departed orange-tabby.❤️

    1. Thanks so much, Deb. You’re right–there may be other reasons for some people’s behavior. I promise that I won’t give up hope. I still believe there are people out there who have information about Carl Knox’s former secretary’s interview. I just need to win their trust somehow. You have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.