Vol. 50, No. 1 November 2012 .pdf version
John Akers: Saving courtside seats a summerlong endeavor
Joe Mitch: Membership benefits are too much to pass up
Kirk Wessler: Don't let media days go way of media guides
Dana O'Neil: Seeing is believing
Brendan F. Quinn: Rush to tweet vs. meaningful discourse
Indiana, Zeller are No. 1 combo

Joe Mitch

USBWA's membership benefits are too much to pass up

USBWA Executive Director

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There's never been a better time to be a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association than now.

The USBWA is experiencing record growth, with membership expected to surpass the 900 mark set a couple of years ago.

Sponsorships that provide funding for USBWA programs and services to members have been on the increase also. The newest corporate sponsor to come on board is AFLAC, which has signed on as presenting sponsor of the Oscar Robertson Trophy that is awarded to the college basketball player of the year.

The USBWA's "Oscar" will be presented in April the weekend following the NCAA Final Four at a college basketball gala in Oklahoma City benefiting a foundation in the name of the late NBA and Oklahoma great, Wayman Tisdale. The USBWA's coach and freshman of the year awards will also be presented at the gala.

USBWA members are eligible to vote on the association's player, freshman and coach of the year awards, in addition to the all- district and All-America teams for both men and women.

One of the biggest benefits to members is the USBWA's annual directory that lists the names, email addresses and phone numbers of members, the contacts at every NCAA Division I school in the country and the beat writers, columnists and broadcasters who cover them.

The directory is a "must" for every SID and writer in college basketball. For many, it is worth the $50 cost of membership alone.

There are several other benefits for members as well besides the directory. They include:

THE TIPOFF: The association's newsletter is published four times a year and edited superbly by Basketball Times editor and publisher, John Akers, the current USBWA president. The Tipoff includes the latest news and happenings in the USBWA and features columns from USBWA officers and board members. It is sent via U.S. mail and available in a printable version online at usbwa.com.

BASKETBALL TIMES: Members receive a complimentary seven-issue subscription to the magazine, considered to be "The Voice of College Basketball" for over 30 years. Basketball Times combines award-winning writing with incredible amount of inside information. Each issue includes columns from some of the top sports writers in the country.

HILTON HOTELS: USBWA members can get 20 percent off the best available rate at Hilton hotels and properties that include Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites and earn Hilton points with as little as four stays or nine total nights in 90 days, four times faster than normal. Members need to enroll in Hilton's Fast Track program (hiltonhonors.com/FastTrackMVP) to receive the discounts. To make reservations, go to HiltonFamilyMVP.com.

BROOKS BROTHERS: Members receive a 15-percent discount off the original retail price on all merchandise from this high quality men's and women's national clothing store, often located in major airports throughout the country. Apply online at membership.BrooksBrothers.com (organization ID: 11355, pin code: 76322.

AMERICAN AIRLINES: American offers members selected discounts for air travel to major events and meetings as part of the airline's BusinessExtraAA program. To receive the discounts, members need to add the USBWA account number (848168) to their personal AAdvantage profile by going to American's website at aa.com.

HERTZ: To receive discounts, members should enter the USBWA corporate account number (1646337) online at www.hertz.com or provide it to the operator when making reservations.

BEST WRITING CONTEST: Members are eligible to enter stories and columns in the USBWA's annual writing contest, 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. Plaques and cash prizes are awarded in each category.

BLUE RIBBON COLLEGE BASKETBALL YEARBOOK: Editor and publisher Chris Dortch offers USBWA members a 15-percent discount on the annual price of the yearbook that features rosters and schedules of every NCAA Division I school in college basketball. For full details on the association's member benefits program, go to the USBWA website at usbwa.com.

And if you haven't joined the USBWA or renewed your membership for this season, do so today by again going online to the USBWA website. You'll be glad you did.

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