Vol. 47, No. 2 February 2010 .pdf version
Steve Carp: USBWA's willing to address your needs
Joe Mitch: USBWA lends hand to NABC
Rose, Steward win Most Courageous honors
David Jones: It's time to embrace change
Nicole Vargas: Last call for nominations for Rising Star
Winn dominates best-writing contest
USBWA Best Writing Contest results

Steve Carp

Big or small, the USBWA's willing to address your needs

By STEVE CARP / Las Vegas Review-Journal
USBWA President

A couple of months ago, Bud Withers of the Seattle Times e-mailed me with a simple request. He wanted to know if the USBWA could make his job a little easier.

Bud's wish? Could we provide a list of coaches' conference calls on our web site?

Not all that unreasonable, right?

I replied that we'd give it a shot. Lo and behold, after some cooperation from the conferences and getting the info to Ted Gangi, our Webmaster, I'm happy to report that we have that list on-line at USBWA.com. For those of you who do a national college basketball notebook every week and might want to jump on the different conferences' calls each week, you can go to the USBWA site, click on the link and get the phone number to call in, the schedule of which coaches appear when, and, in some cases, the passcode.

For the conferences that need you to call them directly, that number is provided as well.

What was nice about this was we were able to help all our members after one of our own made a simple suggestion. We don't get asked too often for help, but when we do, we try our best to come through.

In this case, we had a happy ending. Or at least I hope it's a happy ending.

Sometimes, we aren't as lucky. Once in a while, a member runs into a roadblock in an attempt to do their job and we try to intercede on their behalf, but to little or no avail. Usually, it's a misunderstanding or a lack of clear communication. But sometimes, it's contentious or just plain pettiness.

If we can do a better job of explaining our role, perhaps things wouldn't be as adversarial. I think most coaches understand the media's role. Sometimes, they don't like what we write and don't want to hear our explanation for why we wrote what we did. But usually, things get worked out.

That's why I'm glad we have sports information directors as members of the USBWA. They are our first line and sometimes even our last line of defense in putting out fires with players, coaches and administrators. They can perhaps get the ear of the affronted party and try and sort things out. They can mediate disputes and prevent them from escalating into full-blown wars where nobody wins.

If you're having problems on your beat, whether it's access to players, seating at games, watching practice, whatever, we'll try and help. But may I suggest that before you come to us, go to your SID first. Usually, he or she can get the matter resolved. If not, by all means, call the USBWA board and we'll do what we can to help.

Whether we can resolve your problem or not, you need to know that we support your attempts to do your job and the hope is you never need to call upon us to assist. But should that need arise. Let us know and we'll do whatever we can.

In the meantime, we're trying to make your USBWA membership worthwhile. We're trying to provide fresh content on the website and our Oscar Robertson Trophy weekly watch and National Player of the Week is a new feature that has been well received early on.

We tinkered with the idea of having a service link us up to all things college basketball, including features, game stories, blogs and hard news stories. But frankly, the cost didn't justify the expenditure, so we passed.

But we're always open to suggestions on how we can make the site better for our members. If you have an idea, feel free to contact Ted, myself or anyone on the board.

Things are going to heat up in the next few weeks. March Madness is just around the corner and with it, the USBWA's awards will be announced and presented at the Final Four in Indianapolis. Don't forget to please vote for your all-district team and your national All-America team. It only takes a few minutes, and the more people who participate, the better it is for the process. You'll be getting an e-mail from us shortly and just forward your ballot to your district rep. It's that simple.

And please check out what's going on at USBWA. com.

We think you'll like what you see.

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