Vol. 46, No. 1 • November 2008 • .pdf version
• Dick Jerardi: USBWA has much to offer
• Joe Mitch: Election Days coming up for USBWA
• Steve Carp: Invite your local college-paper writer
• Mel Greenberg: Women’s coverage feeling the brunt
• Lenox Rawlings: Cramped and courtside works
• Ted Gangi: Better manage your e-mail

Dick Jerardi

President's Column:
USBWA has much to offer potential new members

By DICK JERARDI / Philadelphia Daily News

If it is fall, it is time for membership renewals and time to sign up new members. During a teleconference with board members in September, we came up with a plan to attract new members.

Each of our district representatives was given names in their district to solicit, explaining all that the USBWA has to offer for a mere $40 per year. Even in today's economy, USBWA membership is one of America's great bargains.

UNC is USBWA's No. 1

North Carolina is the nation's preseason No. 1 team, according to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. The poll of USBWA officers mirrors the overwhelming opinion of the Tar Heels, who return consensus national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough among their top six players and a three-man freshman class of McDonald's All-Americans.

The Big East Conference played seven teams among the USBWA's Top 25, including four among the top seven. Louisville is ranked second, Connecticut fourth, Pittsburgh sixth and Notre Dame seventh. Georgetown is ranked 12th, Marquette 19th and Villanova 25th.

The Big 12 is the second most-represented conference with four teams – No. 3 Texas, No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 18 Baylor and No. 23 Kansas, the defending national champion.

Other teams ranked among the top 10: No. 5 UCLA, No. 8 Duke, No. Memphis and No. 10 Michigan State. Davidson, the darling of the 2008 NCAA Tournament behind Stephen Curry, is ranked 20th.

The West Coast Conference placed two teams among the USBWA's Top 25. Gonzaga is ranked 13th, and Saint Mary's finished in a tie for 21st with Arizona State.

USBWA's Top 25
1. North Carolina
2. Louisville
3. Texas
4. Connecticut
6. Pittsburgh
7. Notre Dame
8. Duke
9. Memphis
10. Michigan State
11. Oklahoma
12. Georgetown
13. Gonzaga
14. Tennessee
15. Purdue
16. Miami
17. Wisconsin
18. Baylor
19. Marquette
20. Davidson
t21. Saint Mary's
t21. Arizona State
23. Kansas
24. Florida
25. Villanova

As of mid-October, Joe Mitch said a steady stream of new membership applications were making their way to his office in St. Louis. We are off to a nice start, but it is just a start.

We need more members. We need younger members. We need more women. We need more minorities. And we need you to attract them.

Get out your USBWA directory. Check names against people you know that should be in the USBWA. If they are not already members, talk to them and explain the $40 bargain that pays for itself in one stay at a Marriott using the Athletic VIP card.

In the e-mails we sent out, we included all the benefits. And here they are:

1. Eligible to attend Mock Tournament Selection meeting in Indianapolis with NCAA Basketball Committee every February.

2. Seven-month subscription to Basketball Times.

3. Tipoff, USBWA's newsletter.

4. USBWA directory – membership, contacts for SIDs and beat writers.

5. Marriott Athletic VIP card – half-price at many Marriott locations.

6. Hertz discount card.

7. Complimentary access to rivals.com.

8. Chance to vote for Player of the Year, All-America teams, All-District teams, the Most Courageous and Katha Quinn Service awards.

9. Eligible to win cash prizes in the USBWA best writing contests.

10. All for $40 per year.

As an organization, we are no better than our members. Everyone does not have to be on the board or be an officer, but if everyone can get one or two new members, just think of the possibilities for the USBWA.

Due to the efforts of Greg Shaheen and Dave Worlock, we have a terrific relationship with the NCAA. They have made it very clear they want our organization to be "the" voice for college basketball.

The NCAA was kind enough to provide media lists which, after checking out those lists against our membership, allowed us to target prospective new members whom we knew already covered college basketball.

In addition to our discussion about memberships, we took two states out of District I (New England) and put them into District II. For some reason that nobody seems to remember, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were in District I with Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. We moved Pennsylvania and West Virginia into District II with New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Washington, D.C.

Two years ago, neither the Big East Rookie of the Year nor the Ivy League Player of the Year made one of our all-district teams, perhaps because too many voters in that district just were not exposed to them. Hopefully, by changing these two districts, we can make the voting more equitable.

Finally, if there any issues that you think need to be addressed – membership, district, anything – let me know and we will get on it.

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