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Vol. 55, No. 1 • November 2017 • .pdf version
NCAA memo urges better seating, access
At the urging of the USBWA, the NCAA's Basketball Oversight Committee sent a memo to every Division I school during the week of Oct. 10 that provides them with "best practices" for access and seating for media.
USBWA President Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star and past president John Akers of Basketball Times met with the Oversight Committee during a meeting at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis on June 26.
Gregorian and Akers presented the Oversight Committee with research and a suggested best practices for schools that was created by the chairmen for the USBWA's ad hoc committees for access (Kirk Wessler of the Peoria Journal Star) and seating (Luke DeCock of the News and Observer).
The best practices provided by the committee are recommendations to schools, rather than mandates.
"The NCAA recommendations are significant and a major step toward getting better access and seating for writers everywhere covering college basketball," said Joe Mitch, executive director of the USBWA.
Here is the memo sent to Division I schools:
"The men's basketball oversight committee met with representatives of the United States Basketball Writers Association this summer at their request to discuss best practices pertaining to access to coaches and studentathletes, media seating at regular season games and security at competition venues. The NCAA staff solicited feedback from more than 30 media relations directors who work directly with Division I men's basketball programs and drafted recommendations we hope schools will consider using for the upcoming season to help promote college basketball throughout the year.
"Media should be seated as close to the court as reasonably possible, or with an unobstructed view of the court (versus behind standing fans or under overhanging roofs). If media is seated in areas accessible to the public, security should be provided before, during and after the game until fans are out of the building. All seats should have power and the facility should have working wireless, with IT support available to address issues. If media is not near courtside, schools are encouraged to provide monitors nearby where replays are viewable. It is also recommended that a designated pool reporter have basic means of communicating with the lead official to receive a rules interpretation or an explanation of a non-judgement call following the game.
"With regards to access, we ask each school to consider having an open locker room period (or use another area outside of the locker room where student-athletes would be accessible) for at least 15 minutes following each game, after a reasonable cooling off period expires, to give the media access to coaches and players not participating in the postgame press conference. If space within the locker room is small, an alternate space could be used for postgame interviews with players and coaches. Other requests include providing interviews for at least 15 minutes before or after practice one day a week and having coaches be available to beat writers who regularly cover the team at least one day between scheduled games.
"Finally, we ask schools to consider providing security for the media when media parking is in a remote area and/or removed from the competition venue.
"Please do not hesitate to contact any committee member or NCAA staff member if you have additional questions. Thank you for your consideration and support of print media covering our great game."
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