Commentary: Some new uniforms creating a numbers game

There’s a saying in sports: “You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.” With the uniforms being worn by some NCAA teams these days, you can’t tell the players even with the scorecard.

College sports’ never ending uniform craze had included a number of jerseys with unreadable numbers, which have in turn created competitive concerns. It’s a small but increasing minority of schools with numbers on their jerseys that are tough to read. In the grand scheme of NCAA problems these days, this one hardly rises to the top.

But there are enough concerns being raised about deciphering jersey numbers that the NCAA is taking efforts to clean up what’s apparently becoming a gamesmanship issue. Some coaches want the confusion to gain an edge so future opponents have trouble scouting their team.

To read this entire commentary by FWAA member Jon Solomon at CBSSports.com, CLICK HERE.

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FWAA expresses hope for safe return of Maisel’s missing son

Thoughts and prayers from the FWAA go out to member Ivan Maisel and his family during a difficult time following the disappearance of Ivan and Meg’s son Max in Rochester, N.Y. Max was a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and we hope for his safe return.

Click here to read the original story in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

Click here for an update from USA Today on Friday.

Click here for a Sunday update.

 

President’s column: Introducing Lee Barfknecht

OMAHA —  Now  that college football’s minuscule catch-your-breath season is upon us —  the short break between national signing day and the start of spring practice —  it’s time to introduce myself as your new president of the Football Writers Association of America.

And I do mean “your’’ president because I view this as a service position.

FWAA 2015 President Lee Barfknecht.

FWAA 2015 President Lee Barfknecht.

This sport we find so fascinating/maddening/energizing gets bigger and (mostly) better every year. Coming off the first College Football Playoff, attention and interest is as high as I can recall in my 35 years with this product.

(Don’t forget a hearty round of applause for Bill Hancock, Gine Lehe and all those from CFP who made “North Texas 2015” a rousing success.)

The FWAA, under the strong guidance of executive director Steve Richardson, is set up to honor those who deserve a pat on the back, talk discreetly to those we think could do things better and in general pay attention to this sport’s operations in a way to help all members do their best.

I’m a newspaper guy — who in the next two weeks has “continuing education’’ meetings on video streaming, Twitter and Internet radio —  but am well aware our membership includes all types of folks associated with college football.

We will look at issues that arise without fear or favor, but with respect.

The relationship between beat people and coaches is a two-way street. The relationship between news gatherers and athletic departments is a two-way street. Sometimes, swords are crossed. It’s the nature of the business. Our goal, though, is to find common-sense solutions for any problems that come up.

We need input from both sides of the fence, and accurate information on which to pursue any necessary conflict resolution. And don’t forget to include good news and “atta-boys,’’ too. The celebration of good work is something our business too often neglects.

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Photo gallery: Outland Trophy banquet

These pictures were taken at the Outland Trophy presentation banquet on Jan. 15 at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Omaha.  Brandon Scherff became the fourth Iowa player to win the award and the second under Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.  Ross Browner, the 1976 winner at Notre Dame, received his trophy, and former Nebraska offensive line coach Milt Tenopir was honored with the inaugural Tom Osborne Legacy Award for contributions to line play.

 

Photo gallery: FWAA annual meeting, breakfast

There photos by Melissa Macatee were shot at the FWAA’s annual meeting and breakfast on Tuesday Jan. 13, 2015, in Dallas.

Photo gallery: FWAA Past Presidents Dinner

These photos were taken by Melissa Macatee at the FWAA Past President’s Dinner on Nov. 9 at the Dallas Country Club.

California youth named winner of Volney Meece Scholarship 1

Robert Abrahamson, a senior at Chadwick Prep School in Palos Verdes, Calif., was named the 18th winner of the Volney Meece Scholarship on Tuesday.

The scholarship is awarded annually by the Football Writers Association of America and is named for the late Volney Meece. Meece served 22 years as the FWAA’s executive director and was the organization’s president in 1971.

The scholarship is a $1,000 annual grant for four years. It is awarded to a deserving son or daughter of an FWAA member.

The 18-year-old Abrahamson is the son of long-time FWAA member Alan Abrahamson.

Robert has compiled an impressive list of academic achievements and extracurricular activities. A National Merit finalist who scored a perfect 2400 SAT score on his first attempt, Robert has maintained a 4.44 weighted GPA while taking a strenuous load of advanced placement classes throughout his high school career.

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NFF’s Steve Hatchell named recipient of FWAA Bert McGrane Award

At FWAA Past Presidents Dinner on Friday night at the Dallas Country Club, the National Football Foundation's Steve Hatchell (left) was surprised with the word he was the 2015 FWAA Bert McGrane winner. FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardsonl (center) and Ivan Maisel, an FWAA Past President, look on.  (Melissa Macatee photo)

At FWAA Past Presidents Dinner on Friday night at the Dallas Country Club, the National Football Foundation’s Steve Hatchell (left) was surprised with the word he was the 2015 FWAA Bert McGrane winner. FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardsonl (center) and Ivan Maisel, an FWAA Past President, look on. (Melissa Macatee photo)

DALLAS — The Football Writers Association of America announced Tuesday that National Football Foundation President and CEO Steve Hatchell has been named the 2015 recipient of the FWAA Bert McGrane Award.

“Steve Hatchell has been a great friend of the FWAA for a number of years,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “The National Football Foundation has sponsored a Past Presidents Dinner for the Association for several years and now is a co-sponsor of the Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll, which had a successful first-year run. The two organizations have partnered to stage a Football Forum in the past. That’s not to mention the association the FWAA has with several awards in the College Football Hall Fame, for a long time in South Bend and now in Atlanta, and the NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.”

The official announcement was made during the annual FWAA Annual Awards Breakfast at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel in front of the FWAA members and the national media that had assembled to cover the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, which had taken place the previous day.

“We have a small but powerful team at the National Football Foundation that has been together for more than eight years and cares deeply about the sport, including Matthew Sign, Ron Dilatush, Hillary Jeffries, Philip Marwill, Will Rudd and Sue Tuggle,” said Hatchell. “The success of the Foundation has only been possible because of the support and vision of a great board of directors, and they have has allowed us to keep the staff together and make it happen.

“I am deeply touched by this honor. I have watched the presentation of this award since the early 1970s working at the Big 8 Conference, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be recognized alongside some of the greatest writers and advocates in college football. My appreciation of this honor is beyond words. All I can say is thank you, and I feel blessed to be able to count many of the football writers among my dear friends.”

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Tim May Wins FWAA Beat Writer of Year Award

DALLAS –Veteran Columbus Dispatch reporter Tim May has been named  the winner of the 2014 FWAA Beat Writer of the Year Award for his superb coverage of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who played in the first College Football Playoff  Title Game here.

The FWAA’s Beat Reporter of the Year Award is based on a comprehensive look at the way a person covers the beat and encompasses all categories of coverage over a period of time. May was recognized at the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast at the media hotel in Dallas on Tuesday, the morning after the Buckeyes faced Oregon in the title game at AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington.

May has been a sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch since 1976, covering all manner of events from a few Super Bowls to a few national Putt-Putt tournaments. He has been on the Ohio State beat since 1984.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive this award,” May said. “Most of us local guys just bang away, day to day, but covering Ohio State football for 31 seasons has been quite the rollercoaster ride, from the Rose Bowl to the toilet bowl and back up again. As I’ve always said, I’d have the greatest job in the world if I didn’t have to write.”

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TCU’s Patterson praised for ‘class’ after playoff snub

DALLAS — Even with their football season over, Gary Patterson and TCU continue to score points.

Patterson accepted the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award from the Football Writers Association of America on Saturday night at the Renaissance Hotel, headquarters for the national championship game.

It gave him a chance, since a national media audience was asking, to talk about why he took the “high road” and avoided politicking for a spot in the four-team playoff or complaining when the one-loss Horned Frogs were left out.

“I just felt there’s never going to be a perfect system, and I just watch, whether it’s politics or it’s football, nowadays all we do is cut everybody down,” he said. “I felt like I had a great opportunity to do something right for a change. That’s why I did it.”