Vol. 50, No. 4 • May 2013 • .pdf version
• Kirk Wessler: Latest challenge: Gain back seats
• Joe Mitch: Breakfast among most memorable
• Mel Greenberg: Women's Final Four faces seating issues
• Lodge Notes; Open Letter to Mark Emmert
• Best Writing Contest deadline nears
• Burke, Smart, Larraρaga highlight USBWA awards

Lodge notes: O'Connell honored with Final Four game ball

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Longtime Associated Press college basketball writer Jim O'Connell was presented with a Final Four game ball autographed by all four coaches during the Sunday interview session before the national title game. Reporters gave a standing ovation to "Oc," who was attending his 35th Final Four. ... John Feinstein was named the print media honoree of the Curt Gowdy Award by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Feinstein will be acknowledged during enshrinement ceremonies Sept. 7-8 in Springfield, Mass.

The NCAA's Dan Gavitt and David Worlock help honor USBWA and Final Four legend Jim O'Connell of The Associated Press.

Vahe Gregorian, who has spent the past 25 years writing primarily about college and Olympic sports for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has been hired as a sports columnist for the Kansas City Star. ... Bill Hancock, former director of the NCAA Tournament, underwent hip replacement surgery after he slipped and broke his femur while vacationing in Italy. ... Ben Frederickson, who covered Wyoming basketball for the Casper Star-Tribune, accepted a job as a regional writer with Fox Sports Midwest in St. Louis.

Michael Cohen, who covered Syracuse basketball for the Daily Orange, has accepted a job covering Syracuse football for the Syracuse Post-Standard. ... Wally Hall, longtime sports editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, was named president of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. ... Chris Dortch of the Blue Ribbon Yearbook appears in the movie 42, the life story of Jackie Robinson. Dortch plays the role of a sports writer.

A member's open letter to NCAA President Emmert

Dear Dr. Emmert:

I'm a retired senior VP and executive editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, but for 28 years, I was a sports reporter, editor and columnist. I covered 20 Final Fours. I'm a former president of the United States Basketball Writers Association and a member of its Hall of Fame. I'm also the 2011 winner of the Red Smith Award given by Associated Press Sports Editors, an organization I once served as president, for career contributions to sports journalism.

• Best Writing Contest entry information (Deadline June 12)
• Oscar Robertson Trophy presentation video from Big Ten Network
• Courage Award Video: Boston College's Dick Kelley | Katha Quinn from 1988
• USBWA Hall of Famers
• Invite a colleague to join the USBWA
• Follow the USBWA on Twitter @USBWA

You will notice the words "former" and "once," so you will know I have no stake in the decision to reduce the Final Four courtside press from 200 seats to 70. It is a regrettable decision and one that is likely to rebound against the NCAA, an organization in current need of friends in the media. The action indicates contempt for those media members, especially print reporters, who cover college basketball all season long. Yet, at the NCAA's showcase event, most of these journalists are now relegated to watching the games on TV in the pressroom, or from a distant view in the stands.

I appreciate having this chance to express my opinion, and I hope you will convince the members of the Men's Basketball Committee to rescind this decision.

Sincerely, William H. Millsaps, Jr.

Best Writing Contest deadline approaches | Complete Rules

The deadline for submitting stories and columns that were published during the 2012-13 college basketball season for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Best Writing Contest is June 12.

The contest is sponsored by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Entries can be submitted in five categories: column writing, moderate-length features, magazine-length features, spot news/game coverage and enterprise/investigative stories.

Only dues-paying members of the USBWA are eligible to enter the writing contest.

Members may enter more than one category. However, they may submit only one entry per category.

Plaques and cash prizes will be awarded in each category, with $150 given for first place, $125 for second, $100 for third, $75 for fourth and $50 for fifth.

Winners will be announced in the The Tipoff and posted on the USBWA Web site.

Send all entries by e-mail to usbwaofficers@gmail.com.

Entries must include the name of the category, the author of the story, the publication in which the article appeared and the date of the publication.

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