Vol. 48, No. 1 November 2010 .pdf version
Bryan Burwell: Separating news is our job
Joe Mitch: Honored to present new Tisdale Award
John Akers: Media guide model of future
Wendy Parker: NCAA opening door wider
Kirk Wessler: SIDs in lockdown mode?
Duke dominates preseason poll, watch lists

John Akers

Baylor 'almanac' might be media-guide model of future

By JOHN AKERS / Basketball Times
USBWA Vice-President

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For the past nine years, my Novembers demanded an every-other-day trip to my post-office box or the pile of media guides waiting for me there would be out of hand.

That shouldn't be a problem this fall.

But if we haven't prepared for the day the media guides died, shame on us. We've all seen it coming for a while now.

In an attempt to make the transition easier, I recently contacted each conference to see what course they and their schools were taking in this new world. Most schools, of course, are going exclusively to online guides, but the way that those guides are being made available varies from conference to conference. It's a learning process for everyone.

Baylor might have come up with a compromise solution that satisfies everyone. That school removed the recruiting information that, combined with the economic downturn, led to the media guide's downfall, and put it into a Web site called BaylorAthleticsExperience.com.

"We were the first school in the country to take our recruiting information and put it toward this site," said Baylor sports-information director Chris Yandle.

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The meat of the old media guides roster, schedule, coach and player bios, historical information now goes into what Baylor calls an almanac. The template, which models the old NCAA record book, demands few pictures other than mug shots and requires little design effort from the SIDs. Though at 162 pages it is smaller than the allowed 208, the guide contains more information than most, and with a limited printing, costs a fraction of their past guides.

"It goes back to the original meaning of those media guides," Yandle said. "Rather than burning the midnight oil designing it, it's a simple template. We've cut money. We've saved money. Now we're going back to what our jobs were originally, and that's providing information for the media."

Atlantic 10 Conference schools are taking varied approaches to the issue. At least five schools will print a limited number of books. At Saint Louis, the only printed guide will be for men's basketball. La Salle will print a smaller 6x9 guide that focuses on text and records, with a virtual guide taking over the recruiting chores. Xavier will also have a print and virtual guide. UMass reported that it will have no media guide, moving instead toward a Web site with increased videos and blogs.

Here's what we learned from the conferences that responded to our request:

America East All school guides will be digital and will be made available on thumb drives and on the conference web site.

Atlantic 10 See above.

ACC Their goal is to provide all 12 school guides on thumb drives.

Atlantic Sun At least two schools will print guides; most are online only.

Big South Creating online "Basketball Media Center" that will include links to each member school's guide, plus a PDF of the league media guide.

Big 12 Mixed bag. Last year, seven schools printed guides, and Baylor created an "almanac."

CAA Will print a conference guide and create thumb drives that includes each school's digital guide.

Ivy Online links will be available at each school's web site.

MAAC Links to each school's digital guide will be included on the league web site.

Missouri Valley Will provide links to each school's digital guide, plus the league guide.

Mountain West Seven schools will print guides this season. Links to all nine online versions can be found on the MWC Media Portal, a password-protected site located in the MWC Media Services tab of the conference's Web site. Accredited media members wishing to access this information can request a username and password by submitting the online application form.

Ohio Valley Creating an online "press box" that includes links to each school's guide. Also plans to create CDs or DVDs including each school's guide that will be sent to local and national media.

Pacific 10 Very few schools will print guides. Digital guides will be available at a one-stop location on the Pac-10 web site.

SEC All schools are expected to print guides.

Southland Five schools will print guides; all will provide online guides.

SWAC All schools are printing digitally.

Sun Belt More than half the schools will provide digital guides, with a few providing a limited number or printed guides.

WCC The majority of schools still print guides.

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