My view: Why sportswriters shouldn’t vote for Heisman, Hall of Fame, MVP and all other awards

My view is based on an experience that occurred more than 20 years ago.

When it comes to the issue of whether sportswriters should vote for prestigious awards and the Hall of Fame in various sports, I flash back to a day in Miami in 1991. I saw my name in large type in the Miami Herald and realized I had become news.

It seems timely to weigh in on the subject after heavy traffic and reaction generated by a post I did yesterday on Notre Dame beat writer Brian Hamilton. He was conflicted over what to do with his Heisman Trophy ballot in light of Irish linebacker Manti Te’o being a top candidate. Eventually, the Chicago Tribune decided to use an internal staff poll to determine Hamilton’s vote.

Hamilton’s dilemma underscored the possible pitfalls and conflicts that result when writers engage in this exercise. He is to be commended for … Continue Reading

Journalism dilemma: Notre Dame beat writer, Chicago Tribune make decision about Heisman vote

Rule of journalism: Reporters don’t make news. Reporters cover the news.

The line gets blurred when sportswriters participate in things like college football polls, Major League Baseball awards, and Hall of Fame elections. Their votes become the news that they later have to cover and critique. Conflicts are inherent in such a process.

Brian Hamilton, the Notre Dame beat writer for the Chicago Tribune, felt uneasy about having a Heisman Trophy ballot this year. The question of possible bias because of Irish linebacker Manti Te’o resulted in the Tribune using an internal staff poll to determine Hamilton’s vote.

The section revealed the quandary in a story in Sunday’s paper. He wrote:

We’re in the business of creating as little question as possible — preferably none — about how we conduct our business as journalists. And the Notre Dame beat writer at the Chicago

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Saturday flashback: Perspective on Ohio State-Michigan from Keith Jackson

As a child of the Midwest growing up in the 1970s, there only was one game that mattered: Ohio State-Michigan. Woody vs. Bo.

Both men are long gone, but their impact remains. To put you in the mood for college football’s best rivalry (Sorry, Alabama-Auburn), here’s a classic opening from Keith Jackson for the 100th game in the series in 2003.

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Improbable tale: BTN show recalls Northwestern’s run for roses in ’95

I grew up going to Northwestern football games, which is to say I didn’t see many Wildcats victories. They were epic bad, bottoming out with a record 34-game losing streak from ’79-82.

So the notion of Northwestern going to the Rose Bowl was as preposterous as getting a sunburn in Chicago on Jan. 1.

Then a miracle happened. On Jan. 1, 1996, the purple rode into Pasadena.

The latest edition of Big Ten Elite (Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, BTN) chronicles Northwestern’s incredible 1995 season. The Wildcats, under third-year head coach Gary Barnett, won the Big Ten with a 10-1 record and faced USC in the Rose Bowl.

The Wildcats, 7-2 going into Saturday’s game against Michigan, are decent now. But at the time, their rise from last to first had to rank among the most unlikely stories in college football history.

Big Ten Continue Reading

Cover story: Sports Illustrated stands by reporting in Mathieu story; Nelson suit against SI dismissed

Update: A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by former UCLA basketball player Reeves Nelson against SI. Details below.

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Tyrann Mathieu is on cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. However, it is not exactly the way he envisioned.

piece written by Thayer Evans and Pete Thamel focuses on the personal problems that have the LSU star on the sidelines this year. It contains some allegations that Mathieu might have broken some NCAA rules. It could derail a return to LSU next year.

The most interesting part of the piece is that it includes quotes from his father, who is serving a life sentence in prison for murder.

Mathieu declined to be interviewed in the story and claims SI harrassed him. From Fox 8 in New Orleans:

Sheila Mathieu calls the article “unfortunate” and says she can’t understand why

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Q/A with Andrea Kremer: Why NFL Network hired her to cover league’s most controversial issue: player safety

The biggest threat to the future of the NFL is the repercussions of increasingly bigger players banging into each other at increasingly higher speeds.

Not to be a doom and gloomer, but if something truly catastrophic happens during a game, it will cause the country to re-examine this thing called football.

So it’s big news that the league-owned NFL Network just hired Andrea Kremer to cover the one issue that threatens the entire sport.

Sunday, Kremer made her debut on the network as the new “health and safety” correspondent. She did a story (here’s the link) on Oakland receiver Darrius Heywood-Bey, who recently had to be carted off the field after a concussion. Heywood-Bay talked openly about what happened, and Kremer’s interview with a doctor at Cleveland Clinic showed with graphics what happened to Bey’s brain. Sobering stuff, to be sure.

Kremer is an important hire for the league and the network. … Continue Reading

5-0 Notre Dame has NBC smiling; Herbstreit says Irish will be in BCS conversation

Is it time to starting sipping that Irish Kool-Aid? You bet if you’re a TV executive at NBC and ESPN.

A 5-0 start has ratings soaring for Notre Dame’s games on NBC. And with the Irish suddenly relevant, ESPN isn’t wasting any time.The network is hustling Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and the rest of the GameDay crew to South Bend Saturday.

Herbstreit can’t believe it has been seven years since GameDay did a show from Notre Dame.

“It’s been way, way too long since we’ve been there,” Herbstreit said.

NBC also is bulking up. For the first time, NBC Sports’ college football studio show featuring Liam McHugh, Doug Flutie and Hines Ward will go on the road and broadcast on-site from Notre Dame Stadium. Prior to the game, a special NFL Films- produced behind-the-scenes look at Notre Dame Football, … Continue Reading

Fox Sports crashes college football party with Erin Andrews, Gus Johnson

Did you expect Fox Sports to quietly enter the room with its first full-blown season of college football? Hardly.

The network has two highly creative ads touting the “Gus Effect” of watching the high-voltage Gus Johnson call its games.

And here’s a second promo featuring Erin Andrews.

Fox Sports knows how to get everyone’s attention. But maintaining it at this crowded college football party is another story.

Fox will have a full season of Saturday night games, debuting tomorrow night with USC-Hawaii. The schedule includes the Pac 12 and Big Ten title games.

Fox hopes Johnson, who will be paired with Charles Davis, becomes the life of the party. Working on the big stage, I would expect Johnson’s over-the-top calls could elevate him to cult status on campuses throughout the country.

The telecasts will be preceded by Fox College Saturday at 7 p.m. … Continue Reading

Q/A with BTN President: A regret and bouncing back with 4-plus hours of coverage today

The Big Ten Network did what it is supposed to do today. Cover the big news and cover it hard.

The BTN was on the air for 4-plus hours this morning covering the fallout from the NCAA handing down harsh sanctions to Penn State. The network had reporters in State College and Indianapolis, numerous phone interviews, and the studio team of Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith offered clear and measured analysis.

All in all, it was quite a contrast to what occurred nearly two weeks ago when the BTN was hammered from not airing live coverage of the explosive Freeh Commission press conference. Instead, the network ran a replay of an old football game.

What changed? I just did a Q/A with BTN President Mark Silverman.

Why didn’t the network cover the Freeh press conference?

We wanted to have covered it. Frankly, … Continue Reading