Among board members of the Football Writers Association of America, bowl-game operations are in mind year round. We strive to create and sustain access, improve logistics and bring some polish to what sometimes can be a rough-edged experience for our members.
In that spirit, the FWAA and the Football Bowl Association present what we hope is good news.
Last winter, our board — with USA Today’s George Schroeder as the lead blocker — asked FBA Executive Director Wright Waters to present his membership with a list of standardized media operations for bowl games.
The good news is the 41 bowls said yes to our standards for operation without exception. We heartily thank Wright for his patience, cooperation and guidance in these matters — and George for his persistence and attention to detail.
This doesn’t mean our work is done.
The Football Bowl Association doesn’t have enforcement authority on these regulations. I repeat: It DOESN’T have enforcement authority. But as Wright told his members: “It has been made clear that this is a request coming from the media, and is an attempt to help the bowls generate more media attention.”
Yes, the College Football Playoff bowls have a good thing going with standardized methods of operations and penalties for violations. It’s a pleasure to cover bowls that offer agreed-upon access, top-flight press box services and handy transportation.
However, we all know that isn’t the standard everywhere.
I have covered 34 bowl games put on by 14 entities, from Honolulu to Miami.
Some bowls have the process nailed, working with their sponsors and the sports information directors of the participating schools to fulfill the basic needs of the media — and often beyond.
In other cases, covering a bowl is like working a high school game.