Vol. 53, No. 1 November 2015 .pdf version
Pat Forde: Award honors best of college hoops
Joe Mitch: No better time to be a USBWA member
Ed Graney: Taking back MW all-conference teams
USBWA creates Dean Smith Award to honor his spirit
Victoria Lyons wins USBWA scholarship
Maryland, UConn top USBWA preseason polls

Joe Mitch

There's no better time to be a USBWA member

USBWA Executive Director

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There's never been a better time to join the USBWA than now.

The association continues to grow each year, with membership expected to surpass last year's total of 900 members and new benefits extended to those who join. Go online at usbwa.com to join or renew your membership. Annual dues are $50 and $25 for students and retirees.

The USBWA is open to all print and online media, broadcast journalists and publicists for college basketball and provides the membership a voice in media policy nationwide. The USBWA has a close association with the NCAA and through the years has helped shape some policies for writers covering the NCAA Tournament.

That was never more apparent than this past year's NCAA tournament. On behalf of the NCAA, USBWA webmaster Ted Gangi sent out surveys to members of the media who covered various rounds of the men's NCAA Division I tournament, including the Final Four.

There were 1,501 responses received from 5,668 invitations for an overall response rate of 26.5 percent. The response rate for the Final Four was even higher at 32.5 percent. In many cases, media members were asked to fill out more than one survey, as teams they covered advanced.

"The surveys conducted by the USBWA were a tremendous resource for us," said David Worlock, director of media coordination and statistics, marketing and broadcast alliances for the NCAA. "We've done our own surveys in the past, but the response rate this year was better than we typically see.

"We heard terrific compliments and constructive feedback and those comments gave us much to consider."

Worlock said a couple of Final Four schedule changes were a direct result of the surveys.

"Rather than making one player from each of the teams available for a Thursday press conference, we are going to have an open locker room for all four teams so that all student-athletes are available.

"We'll also have each head coach conduct an individual press conference on Thursday, rather than the joint ones we've typically done in recent years."

Gangi said the seven years he surveyed the media at postseason bowl games for the FWAA helped with the NCAA survey. "We were given the opportunity to use our expertise to gain real insight and feedback from all media covering the tournament for the first time," he said. "I want to thank the media for their overwhelming cooperation."

MEMBER BENEFITS: USBWA members receive some tremendous benefits for being part of the USBWA family. Most noteworthy this year and a change from previous years is that all members will receive a 12-issue, online subscription to Basketball Times, thanks to editor and publisher John Akers. In the past, members received seven monthly issues of the Times.

While Tipoff is now being sent electronically to members, it is also available on the USBWA website at usbwa.com.

This year's membership directory should be arriving at your home or office in early November. You can also access the directory online at usbwa.com by using your passcode. The directory is a terrific resource for writers and sports information directors. In addition to members' names, the directory lists the names and contact information for every Division I basketball program in the country and the beat writers who cover them. As past president and USBWA Hall of Famer Alex Wolff once wrote, the directory alone is worth the cost of membership.

In addition, there are some terrific discounts for members from Hertz, Hilton and Brooks Brothers. Members get 20 percent off the best available rate at participating Hilton properties. Brooks Brothers provides a 15 percent savings on regular-price merchandise, and Hertz gives a 10 percent discount for car rentals.

SPONSORSHIP RENEWALS: The USBWA wishes to thank those sponsors who renewed their sponsorships with the USBWA this year. Returning as sponsors are ESPN, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, USA Basketball and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Lodge Notes: Hall of Famer Denlinger dies of cancer

Former columnist Ken Denlinger, who worked for the Washington Post from 1965-2003 and was inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame in 2011, died of esophageal cancer on Oct. 3. He was 73.

Tom Kensler retired after more than 38 years as a sports writer, most of the past 26 years with the Denver Post. Kensler covered Colorado and Colorado State among several other beats for the Post. He is a past USBWA board member and earned National Sportswriters and Sportscasters (NSSA) best-of-state honors for Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado.

Ron Morris retired after 16 years as a columnist for The (Columbia, S.C.) State. He previously worked at the Durham Herald-Sun and the Tallahassee Democrat.

Roger Rubin was among several sports writers who lost their jobs in layoffs by the New York Daily News. Rubin, the St. John's beat writer, had spent the past two decades with the Daily News and has also worked for Sports Illustrated and Newsday.

Ben Frederickson, who covered Tennessee basketball for the Knoxville News Sentinel, accepted a position as an online reporter and columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and @stltoday.

Jesse Temple, who covered Wisconsin football and basketball for FoxSportsWisconsin.com, joined ESPN.com, where he will cover Wisconsin and Big Ten football.

Nominations being taken for USBWA awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the following USBWA awards to be presented next April.

HALL OF FAME: Established in 1988, the USBWA honors past and current members for their contributions to the organization and for their achievements in sports journalism. To be eligible, an individual must have a minimum of 20 years experience as a sports writer or college athletics administrator dealing with basketball. Send nominations to USBWA Executive Director Joe Mitch at mitch@usbwa.com.

KATHA QUINN AND MARY JO HAVERBECK: Both awards recognize individuals in men's and women's basketball for their service to the media and for the inspiration they provide to those in the sports journalism profession. The awards are presented in honor of two former sports information directors who have passed away -- Quinn (St.John's) and Haverbeck (Penn State). Send nominations for the Quinn Award in men's basketball to past president Malcolm Moran at moranma@indiana.edu and to Mel Greenberg at poll@att.net for the Haverbeck Award in women's basketball.

MOST COURAGEOUS: The USBWA presents a male and female award, honoring a player, coach, official or administrator who demonstrates extraordinary courage while facing adversity in life. First presented in 1978, it is the USBWA's oldest award. Send men's nominations to David Teel, USBWA third vice president, at dteel@dailypress.com and women's nominations to Greenberg.

RISING STAR: The USBWA honors a member who is under 30 and shows outstanding promise as a journalist covering college basketball. Send nominations to John Akers, Tipoff editor, at johna19081@gmail.com.

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