Vol. 43, No. 2 January 2006 .pdf version
Tony Barnhart: Big O a big plus
Andy Katz: Courage candidates aplenty
Joe Mitch: Indy breakfast a highlight
Dick Jerardi: Press row model in Philly
Tech tips: Time to clean house
Tony Barnhart
Tony Barnhart

President's Column:
Big O's a big plus in strengthening player of year award

By TONY BARNHART / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The members USBWA have a great deal for which we can be thankful as we head into the New Year. We get to watch, write about, and be a part of game that we all love. And we are actually able to make a living doing it.

We in the USBWA should be especially thankful that we have a very good relationship with the great Oscar Robertson, for whom our player of the year award is named.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for Wooden Award. In fact, it appears that due to a series of conflicts between the family of coach John Wooden and the Los Angeles Athletic Club, the UCLA legend will not be present at this year's banquet on April 8.

According to a story written by Bill Dwyer in The Los Angeles Times, there is an ongoing battle between the Hathaway family that runs the LAAC and believes they have exclusive rights to use Wooden's name when it comes to awards. They say that coach Wooden gave them those rights 30 years ago. The Wooden family, with Wooden's backing, disagrees on the exclusivity of that agreement.

As Bill wrote, there will be no winners in this conflict.

But it points out how fortunate we are in the USBWA.Oscar Robertson and those representing him to continue to work with Joe Mitch, our executive director, in an effort to give our Player of the Year Award an even greater profile.

And that is how it should be. It is the only national player of the year award that is named after a player. That player, it should be noted, has been honored as the college player of the century. Our goal, as it has been for some time now, is to make the Oscar Robertson Award the preeminent player of the year award.

NCAA UPDATE: As you all know, Bill Hancock has stepped down from his post as the media coordinator of the NCAA's Tournament to join the BCS. Obviously, the USBWA has a keen interest in his replacement.

We have had several discussions with Bill and members of the men's basketball committee to let them know that the USBWA is ready to help if needed. We, of course, would like to see someone in the Dave Cawood, Jim Marchiony, and Bill Hancock mold fill that position. In short, we would like to see someone who truly understands the needs and requirements of the print media and will work hard-and fight if necessary-to get those things done.

A replacement should be named after the first of the year. Based on those I know who are in the running, I believe the USBWA will be pleased with the selection.

THE NEXT FIGHT: We have long assumed our next challenge is going to be keeping our seats on the floor at the Final Four. I have received indications there might be a more immediate conflict.

Corporate sponsors are putting more and more pressure on the NCAA for prime space in the arenas in order to entertain their clients. That space will have to come from somewhere, and in the domes there might be a move afoot to take it from the media work and interview area.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will bring it up when we meet with the men's basketball committee in Indianapolis. In the meantime, keep your ears open, and if you hear anything along these lines that I need to know, please contact me at tbarnhart@mindspring.com.

Barnhart named president: Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution assumed the gavel from Robyn Norwood of the Los Angeles Times at the USBWA's annual Monday morning breakfast, becoming the organization's 50th President.

Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald moved into the chair of the First Vice-President. Andy Katz of ESPN.com was appointed second vice-president and Dick Jerardi of the Philadelphia Daily News was named to the newly-created position of third vice-president.

New USBWA board members include Brian Koonz of the Danbury News-Times, Joe Gergen of Newsday and Ted Lewis of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. An at-large position has yet to be determined. Returning board members include: Rob Daniels of the Greensboro News & Record, Mike Strange of the Knoxville News Sentinel, Jeff Shelman of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Ed Graney of the San Diego Union Tribune. Rob Carolla of the Big 12 Conference will remain the SID representative.

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