As the seemingly unending UNLV basketball coaching search draws to a close (the regents still have to vote on the deal), I can finally come out of my Las Vegas bunker and think about other things.
And, as the temperatures start approaching 90 degrees, thoughts naturally turn to college football.
And yours should, too. The FWAA has just begun our membership drive, and the slogan is “Expand the Brand,” meaning we want to go from about 1,300 members to 1,500.
If you’re reading this column, chances are you already have a good idea of why the $50 ($25 for students and 2016 graduates) is money well spent on a membership. It is even better spent if your company picks it up. But if not, you can write it off on your taxes because of the FWAA’s non-profit status.
Find those who aren’t members, be it reporters or SIDs, and let them know the benefits. The more members, the louder our collective voices, and there are plenty of reasons to scream about becoming a member.
The directory, which is available in print form and online, is alone worth the cash. Hear about a player transferring from Illinois but you live in the Pacific Northwest? Look up cell numbers to beat writers in the directory and start calling (begin with those in bold because they are members and should be rewarded with information sharing).
Even many long-time members don’t know all that benefits that come along with the dues:
- Access to the password-protected collegepressbox.com, the one-stop information area for college football. This site can answer just about any question you might have about FBS schools, including media procedures for the football program, head shots of players and coaches and much, much more.
- Discounts from Hilton, Hertz, Brooks Brothers and Orbitz (which soon merges with Expedia). For those who haven’t committed to a hotel points system, Hilton is a good way to go or just add it as a second possibility. As a Hertz Gold Member, I swear by that discount, and nothing beats walking directly from the plane to the rental car after a long day of travel.
- The first 500 people to renew (and they have indicated they want the magazine in their profile) will receive Phil Steele’s preseason magazine for free. It’s a must-have for preview stories and for learning about out-of-conference opponents. And if you want to ever feel stupid, get on an FWAA All-America conference call and discover Steele knows as much about your league as you do.
- A free subscription to 247Sports, which is especially helpful when writing about recruiting, and it comes at a $99 value, if you have to buy it.
- Opportunity to subscribe to the FWAA’s news blog, The Fifth Down, one of the oldest writers’ newsletters in sports.
Even though the membership technically runs from Aug. 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017, those who sign up now become members immediately.
For those current members who renew, please make sure you carefully look at your profile and update any changes, including status of employment, addresses, e-mails, Twitter handles and phone numbers. If you have gone on the site and initially joined, that information needs to be in your profile. So you need to go back and include it if isn’t there.
If your physical address is not correct or not in the system, you will not receive your print directory and membership card in August before the season. We simply won’t know where to send it through the regular mail. If your e-mail is outdated, you won’t receive our information on events, voting and interesting features.
Furthermore, we need you to insert your best-guess start date as an FWAA member, if it isn’t already in there. It is also easy to upload your picture (headshot) into your profile if you haven’t already. One further bit of housekeeping: if you are a member of the American Airlines AAdvantage Program please include that number in your profile in the appropriate place. This DOES NOT take away from your points, but allows the FWAA to collect points in the BusinessExtrAA program.
If you have a question about membership please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Executive Director Steve Richardson at email@example.com. And, our webmaster Ted Gangi (firstname.lastname@example.org) can handle any technical issues you may have on the renewal process.
So don’t delay. Meanwhile, I hope I don’t see my shadow outside and suffer through another six weeks of a UNLV basketball coaching search.