President’s column: It’s the most wonderful time of the year Reply

By Matt Fortuna

A funny thing happens every Fourth of July at my in-laws’ cookout. And no, I’m not talking about my cousin annually rigging the family cornhole tournament in his favor.

2019 FWAA President Matt Fortuna

Sure, it is the peak of summer; who doesn’t love food, family, fireworks and fun? But the conversations for me — and I’m sure for most of you — inevitably shift to college football season. It turns out that when a majority of your family has graduated from two of last year’s Playoff schools (but, alas, not the two finalists), it is never too early to start the hype machine, and the questions are aplenty.

For those of us in the FWAA, Independence Day is a reminder that our summers are darn near over, and that that is perfectly fine if you are fortunate enough to make a living writing about this great sport.

It may be hard to believe, but media days — our preseason — are upon us. Four of the five Power conferences will hold their annual kickoff events next week across the country, and the FWAA will be out and about at each of them — along with the Pac-12 the following week — looking to spread the word about our message.

We recently announced our new access/press relations committee, a collaborative effort between a talented and experienced group of writers and media relations pros who will help ensure a healthier dialogue between the media and the schools that they cover.

We will celebrate the 75th anniversary of our All-America Team this season, with a sponsor that will be announced Aug. 31 in conjunction with the Auburn-Oregon game in Arlington, Texas.

We will name our 63rd Coach of the Year, with Coach Eddie Robinson serving as the namesake of the award since the 1997 season. We will name our 74th Outland Trophy recipient, with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) serving as the presenting sponsor for a second straight year.

We will select the 27th FWAA Defensive Player of the Year (Bronko Nagurski Trophy) in 2019, with the presentation being hosted by the Charlotte Touchdown Club for a 25th straight year. And we will partner with Shaun Alexander for a second straight year to name a Freshman of the Year. We will announce an additional sponsor for that award and the 2019 FWAA Freshman All-America Team soon.

It is membership season — or #SZN, as the recruits of today would tweet — and we ask that you join or renew by July 12 to guarantee your inclusion in the 2019-20 FWAA print directory. It takes less than three minutes to join here, and your active membership will grant you access to everything on once the new and expanded site is unveiled this summer.

This really is the most wonderful time of the year — when us in the Midwest can enjoy our brief period of sunshine, when Notre Dame and Oklahoma fans can gather ‘round the grill and resist temptation to insult each other, and, most importantly, when all of us in the press can get back to doing what we love.


Final reminder: Best Writing Contest deadline is July 10

The deadline for FWAA members to submit entries in 27th annual Best Writing Contest has been extended until July 10.


  • Game Story (Immediate Deadline)
  • Feature Story/Profile
  • Enterprise/Investigative
  • Column/Analysis/Commentary


In addition, see below, we have created a special award for the top beat writer as judged by a special FWAA committee headed by Executive Director Steve Richardson.


You must be an FWAA member in good standing to enter.

Deadline: July 10, 2019. Entries sent after the deadline WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Limit: One (1) article per category, although a series of articles may be submitted in the enterprise category.

Entries must have appeared in print or on line between Feb. 1, 2018 and Jan. 31, 2019.

Entries must be submitted electronically to

Entries not sent to this e-mail address will not be accepted

Send MS Word or text files only. DO NOT SEND HTML files, Word Perfect files, stories in other word processing software or links to stories on the Internet or electronic libraries

Make your entry easy to read by taking out unnecessary carriage returns (They can give your entry an odd look when opened by a judge’s word processing program)

Delete any embedded advertising, photos and cutlines from the files (The file should contain only your story and your identifying information)

At the top of each entry, the following information should be included:

  • Writer(s)
  • Publication or online service
  • Category
  • Date of publication
  • E-mail address and telephone number for the writer(s) of the entry

The entries will be sorted and stripped of identifying information and forwarded to the judge(s).

Files containing your entries should follow this naming convention: yourname-category.doc

The category must be one of these four words: Game, Feature, Enterprise or Column

Example: KenStephens-game.doc

FWAA BEAT WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD: If you have a nomination of a beat writer who covers major college football (either a team or a conference) or you want to nominate yourself, please send an e-mail/letter explaining the qualifications of the person (no more than 250 words) to:

Steve Richardson
FWAA Executive Director
18652 Vista del Sol
Dallas, TX 75287

Steve’s e-mail is Steve and his committee will then make inquiries into the FWAA members nominated. In order to qualify for this award the person nominated must have been an FWAA member during the 2018 football season.

Questions? E-mail Ken Stephens at

Nominations sought 2019 Armed Forces Merit Award

FORT WORTH, Texas — Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America.

Armed Forces Merit Award

Coordinated by the staff at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the FWAA was created in June 2012 “to honor an individual or a group with a military background and/or involvement impacting college football.”

Nominations for the 2019 Armed Forces Merit Award will be accepted through October 1. At that time, a selection committee of five FWAA members and two representatives from the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl will review the list of candidates. The 2019 recipient will be announced on Veteran’s Day, November 11.

“We are pleased to join with the Football Writers Association of America to honor an individual with a military background or group that works with our armed services that has an impact within college football,” said Brant Ringler, the Executive Director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson echoed Ringler’s sentiments, adding that the group “has an outstanding list of candidates each year, making it difficult to honor only one recipient when there are several individuals and programs so very deserving of the honor.”

From among 56 nominations considered for the 2018 award, Robert Morris President and Air Force veteran Dr. Chris Howard was selected as the seventh recipient of the Armed Forces Merit Award. A 1991 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Dr. Howard was a Rhodes Scholar and received the 1990 Campbell Trophy, the highest academic award in the nation presented to a senior college football player by the National Football Foundation.

To nominate an individual or group for the Armed Forces Merit Award, please click on the link below for the nomination form, which should be completed and returned to:

Tim Simmons
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
9655 Yellowstone Road
Longmont, CO 80504

Armed Forces Merit Award Nomination Form.