Call for ‘Super 11’ nominees for media operations excellence Reply

It’s that time of year when the Football Writers Association of America considers the top Sports Information Departments in FBS for the previous football season. One of the FWAA’s charges in its charter is to help oversee performances of college football press boxes and media operations across the country.

In 2009, the FWAA introduced its Super 11 Awards, designed to identify and reward the Sports Information Departments and programs that exemplified excellent media relations.

If you have a nominee, please email it to the chairman of this committee, Tim Griffin. His email is

The criteria …

The following ten areas were set forth as the criteria/standards for selection for the awards:

  • Players (eligible and playing in varsity games) who are requested should be available to media during Mondays and Tuesdays of game week (minimum).
  • Defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator should be available to media once a week during the season (minimum) and once a month during the off-season (minimum).
  • Freshmen who play should be available to media.
  • If former players and/or boosters are allowed into scrimmages or practices, the media should not be excluded from those same scrimmages or practices.
  • Coaches should be available to media on their campuses at least once a week during the season for no less than 30 minutes. They also should be made available after practice each day for updates on the team. Weekly telephonic press conferences do not count toward these times.
  • A “no cheering in the press box” statement should be made in the press box before the beginning of each half of play. In addition, SID’s should make every attempt to keep the press box quiet and escort disruptive individuals to the exits.
  • Requests for quotes from key players injured in a game should be granted by the home SID and his staff.
  • FWAA member(s) should help the SID with requests for players to be interviewed after a game. Any player who has played (and is not injured) and is not made available for interviews will be so noted by FWAA observers. The FWAA recommends open locker rooms after games, but short of this, any player who plays in a game and is not injured, upon request, should be made available to the media.
  • An FWAA pool reporter or a reputable news person should be designated by the home SID before every game in case there is an officiating controversy during the game.
  • Boosters should not be present at post-game news conferences involving the media, coaches and players. Interruptions or noise will be duly noted by the FWAA observer. Press boxes where non-media are disruptive will also be noted.



FWAA selects ‘Super 11’ of top sports information departments for 2015 season

super 11DALLAS — The Football Writers Association of America has selected its seventh “Super 11” group of sports information departments deemed the best in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision for the 2015 season.

The winners: Clemson (ACC), Houston (American), Kansas State (Big 12), Louisiana (Sun Belt), Indiana (Big Ten), Mississippi State (SEC), Northern Illinois (MAC), Pittsburgh (ACC), USC (Pac-12), Utah State (Mountain West) and Western Kentucky (Conference USA).

USC is a six-time winner of the award and Clemson and Pittsburgh have won three times each. Houston, Northern Illinois, Utah State and Western Kentucky have been named Super 11 winners previously.

First-time winners of the award are Kansas State, Indiana, Mississippi State and Louisiana. Over the seven-year period, the FWAA has honored 49 different schools.


2014 FWAA Pressbox Conference Committees

The FWAA has regionalized its press committees for your convenience. If you encounter difficulties during the season in regards to game coverage, including access during the week, please contact the chairman of your conference by email. He will get back to you in a reasonable time. Please explain the problem in DETAIL, so the conference chairman can better understand the situation.



C-Chris Dufresne, Los  Angeles Times   (

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury

Lindsay Schnell,

Mountain West

C-Mark Anderson Las Vegas   (

Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman

Kelly Lyell, Fort Collins Coloradoan

Big Ten 

C-Malcolm Moran, National Sports Journalism Center (

David Jones,  PA Media Group

Lee Barfknecht, Omaha World-Herald

Helpful hints: Send us your advice for making the best of stadiums, cities on the road

In this is a section of The Fifth Down we will post information from FWAA members that will help other members to cover games or enrich their experiences, such as good restaurants near stadiums, easy routes to the games or good places to stay in certain cities. It could also include interesting experiences writers have had in certain college towns or sights to see.  Please send your Helpful Hints to Executive Director Steve Richardson at or Ken Stephens at

“Super 11” pressbox rankings

The Football Writers Association of America annually names its “Super 11” sports information departments, which are deemed the best in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.

The 2012 recipients …

The 2012 winners of Super 11 Awards were the following programs: Baylor, Bowing Green, Cincinnati, Georgia, Houston, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon State, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wyoming.

Complete release (May 3, 2013)

The 2011 recipients …

The 2011 winners of Super 11 Awards were the following programs: Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma, San Diego State, Southern California (USC), Syracuse, Utah State and Western Kentucky.

Complete release (May 7, 2012)


The Rose Bowl pressbox, then and now

FWAA members who cover the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2014, or the final Bowl Championship Series title game five days later in Pasadena will benefit from a new Rose Bowl press box with enhanced amenities.

The new press box is the result of a three-year Rose Bowl project that updated the stadium in several areas.

The column below was written after the 1955 Rose Bowl Game, which was won by Ohio State over Southern California, 20-7 — apparently during some inclement weather. Arch Ward, the famous Sports Editor of the Chicago Tribune and an FWAA officer during that era, refers to Soldier Field in Chicago as a poor venue for writers to cover games, but not as bad as the Rose Bowl was back then.

Thankfully, there are windows now in case it rains in sunny California and the press box personnel are much more congenial.

rose bowl column