U.S. Basketball Writers Association CREDENTIALING TASK FORCE


For decades, decisions to grant credentials to print reporters often were based on traditional criteria such as circulation numbers, which were assumed to prove a certain legitimacy. In recent years, digital media have blown holes in tradition, leading to myriad questions, some as basic as "Who are those guys?"

The USBWA Online Credentialing Task Force was formed in 2013 to identify criteria that would be helpful to all parties when it comes to submitting and either granting or denying credential requests. The task force was comprised of reporters from traditional print and online publications, sports information directors, representatives from APSE and USBWA officers. The task force agreed that the APSE's statement of ethics guidelines constituted a good model for professional journalism websites to follow.

It was decided that USBWA could perform a service to reporters and sports information directors, many of whom are members, by identifying websites that deserved full consideration for credentials. How to do that? The task force set up a committee to review websites with focus on the following criteria:

• Editorial oversight and adherence to journalistic and ethical standards
• Evaluation of demonstrated proprietary content (i.e., proprietary vs. aggregate)
• Experience of staff
• Scope of coverage
• Balance of coverage
• Frequency and consistency of publication

Below are the websites endorsed by the USBWA through Nov. 1, 2015.

Point of emphasis: NCAA member institutions and other event-sponsoring organizations retain the sole right to grant or deny credentials. Endorsement of a site by the USBWA does not guarantee credentials will be granted.

The USBWA Online Credentialing Task Force
Chris DiSano
Randy McClure, Rush the Court
Joe Mitch, USBWA
Kirk Wessler, Peoria Journal Star


Q. Is this application the same as applying for USBWA membership?
A. No. That’s a separate application. Click here for a link to join the USBWA.

Q. Is USBWA membership required for endorsement by the USBWA’s Online Credentialing Task Force?
A. No. But this process is a service of the USBWA, intended to represent the interests of USBWA members, and we encourage you to join.

Q. Does USBWA membership guarantee endorsement by the USBWA Online Credentialing Task Force?
A. No. Decisions to endorsed, or not, are based on the criteria spelled out on the application form.

Q. I am employed by and cover college basketball for a media organization – newspaper, website, TV/radio. Should I apply for endorsement?
A. No. Your employer should represent you in applying for credentials to cover games.

Q. I am a freelance writer. Can I be endorsed?
A. No. The USBWA Online Credentialing Task evaluates only websites. Freelancers should apply for credentials via traditional channels, i.e. through or on behalf of the media organization for which they will be covering an event, etc.

Q. I am the editor/sports editor/sports director of a traditional media outlet: newspaper, magazine, TV/radio station or network. Our organization also has a website, on which we post college basketball coverage. Should we apply for endorsement?
A. No. You should seek credentials as you always have. If you are seeking additional credentials because you’re providing bonus coverage on your website, we suggest you make that case to the institution or event issuing credentials.

Q. Does endorsement guarantee I will be credentialed by NCAA member institutions, college basketball tournament events or for the NCAA tournament?
A. No. Those entities retain the right to grant or deny credential requests. The intent of the USBWA is twofold: 1)P to provide support for online entities that meet reasonable expectations of professional editorial oversight and adherence to journalistic and ethical standards; and 2) to provide a resource for media coordinators, who can take into account USBWA endorsement when considering a request to grant credentials.

Q. What is a "qualified endorsement?"
A. Sites denoted with an asterisk (*) in the list of "Endorsed Sites" have been given a "qualified endorsement." This means that endorsement has been given to the prate site of a partner network, but that endorsement does not include affiliate sites in the network.


As of Dec. 1, 2017
All Sports Discussion
Basketball Times
Bleacher Report
Blue Star
CBS College Sports - Eye on College Basketball
Campus Insiders
Cardinal Authority
City of Basketball Love
ESPN - College Basketball Nation
Fox Sports
Houston Roundball Review
Inside The Hall
Ken Pomeroy
Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association
Mid-Major Madness
NBC College Basketball Talk
Net Scouts
Pickin’ Splinters
Project Shanks
Rush the Court
The Athletic
The Sporting News
Sports Illustrated
UM Hoops
USA Today
Yahoo! The Dagger

* does not include affiliate sites in partner network