The Fifth Down

President's column:
Fighting the good fight

There are many of our FWAA members out there wondering how they can make a difference in our cause toward improved working relationships with coaches and sports information directors.

This is what you do, and it’s simple. Complain when you see something wrong. Give a pat on the back when you see something right.

Here’s an example of such give-andtake. There are some schools that bypassed bringing their major name players to various conference media days and brought seniors whom no one really cared to interview.

In this issue of The Fifth Down:
President's column: Fighting the good fight
Best writing contest winners

This happened in the SEC, and I talked to the SID of one of the offending schools which brought nobodies. It was an amicable, but pointed discussion, with someone I respect a great deal.

It also happened in the Big 12, according to past FWAA president Dennis Dodd. Knowing Dennis, I’m sure he let his opinion be known.

When we see something wrong, we have to communicate. We can’t sit back. That’s what has happened in the past, and look where we are.

Here’s another example of how we in the FWAA have attacked a problem.

There are plenty of our members disgusted with press guides becoming recruiting guides. The valuable basic information that we need at our fingertips (such as year-by-year results) was disappearing.

FWAA executive director Steve “Tiger” Richardson, Dodd, me and a few others decided to issue a list of 25 things that must be in a press guide. I got positive response from SIDS at the CoSIDA convention this past summer about having that guideline.

And I must say, most of the ’08 press guides I’ve seen have tried to maintain their integrity of being a press guide.

There are also those schools that haven’t but that have tried to accommodate in other ways.

Here’s where a pat on the back comes in: Mississippi State issued a separate 312-page media information and record book, designed in an oldschool smaller size with nothing but what we need to do our job. So hat’s off to Mike Nemeth, Joe Galbraith and the State SID staff for an idea well executed.

But again, perhaps State wouldn’t have done that had there not been more than a few media members who made it known that they weren’t happy with the ’07 press guide. Either way, State responded.

Tiger is working on a platform for our Website where we can blog our congratulations to various SIDS for jobs well done. As far as the complaints, let the SIDs know directly and you can always call me or Tiger.

The bottom line is that we can’t remain mute. If we don’t keep pushing the boulder up the mountain, we will never make any progress, even if it is inch by inch.

One last note: There has been some progress in the SEC. League commissioner Mike Slive announced that the league would form a committee including media members, SIDs, maybe a coach or two and SEC associate commissioner Charles Bloom to discuss media operation problems as they arise.

If every conference had a commissioner as media savvy as Slive, who values the media and the job we do, we’d have fewer problems.

Have a good season and keep fighting the good fight.

FWAA president Ron Higgins covers college football for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn. He can be reached at rhiggins@commercialappeal.com.

KEY FWAA CONTACTS

Bert McGrane Award nominees: Mark Blaudshun (blauds@aol.com)
Volney Meece Scholarship nominees: Dave Sittler (davesitt@aol.com)
Website, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week: Ted Gangi (webmaster@sportswriters.net)
Membership Directory: Charlie Fiss, AT&T Cotton Bowl (charlie@attcottonbowl.com)
Ethics/Press Relations Committee: Kirk Bohls (kbohls@statesman.com)
College Football Playoff Liaison: Gina Lehe, College Football Playoff (glehe@collegefootballplayoff.com)
Eddie Robinson Award: Steve Richardson (tiger@fwaa.com)
Fifth Down Blog/FWAA Best Writing Contest: Ken Stephens (ken.stephens@sbcglobal.net)
Bronko Nagurski Award: John Rocco, Charlotte Touchdown Club (jrocco@touchdownclub.com)
Outland Trophy, All-America Team: Steve Richardson (tiger@fwaa.com)
Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll: Phil Marwill, National Football Foundation (pmarwill@footballfoundation.org)
Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award: George Schroeder, USA TODAY (gschroeder@aol.com), Ron Higgins, Nola.com (rhigg@aol.com)
Freshman All-America Team: Mike Griffith, MLive Media Group (mgrif32@aol.com)

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