DALLAS - Middle Tennessee Athletic Communications was announced as one of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) "Super 11" recipients on Tuseday. The award goes to the best sports information departments in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision for the 2013 season.
The winners in alphabetical order are: Colorado (Pac-12), Duke (ACC), Fresno State (Mountain West), Georgia (SEC), Middle Tennessee (Conference USA), Nebraska (Big Ten), Ole Miss (SEC), SMU (American Athletic), South Alabama (Sun Belt), Southern California (Pac-12) and Texas Tech (Big 12).
"This is the ultimate honor for our department since it comes from such a prestigious organization," said Associate AD of Communications Mark Owens. "There's a lot of time and work that goes into this so its great for our staff to get a little pat on the back.
Every gameday is a challenge and we never know what situation may arise but our ultimate goal is to always make it easy for members of the media to cover and promote our program.
This isn't just our staff that makes this happen. We have tremendous leadership at the top in President McPhee and Chris Massaro, a cooperative group of coaches and student-athletes, one of the best stat crews around, and a great team of volunteers."
Georgia is a five-time winner; USC, a four-time winner; and Colorado and Nebraska, multiple winners of the Super 11 Award. Duke, Fresno State, Middle Tennessee, Ole Miss, SMU, South Alabama and Texas Tech are first-time winners. Over the five-year period, the FWAA has honored 42 schools.
Since the FWAA's inception in 1941, one of the organization's charges is to provide better working conditions for writers across the country. Over the years, the FWAA has given out press box commendations to deserving schools and has conducted ratings of sports information departments.
"We know there are many outstanding sports information departments representing schools across the country," said Tim Griffin, 2010 FWAA President and Chairman of the Super 11 Committee. "But we continue to believe it is imperative to honor the best of the best, including some that we have honored repeatedly over the years. These 11 departments are consistently exemplary in all that we ask.
"The FWAA's commitment is to continue honoring the best departments in future years which recognize the demands of our jobs and strive to do what they can to help all media members on a consistent basis."
Criteria in determining the winners not only included how press boxes/operations were run, but the quality and timeliness of information provided, the amount of information presented and appropriately updated on websites, personal responsiveness to media inquires as well as the accessibility of players, head and assistant coaches. The ratings also took into consideration the departments that went the extra mile in servicing the media.
The Super 11 Committee received input from other FWAA members covering college football during a period from Feb. 1, 2013 through Jan. 31, 2014.
"The significance of this award cannot be overstated in this current climate of limited access and mounting restrictions," said 2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls.
"At a time when some schools are making it formal policy to join the established media rather than assist it and almost put the press in a competing mode, it is imperative that we salute those among us who value their strong working relationships with football writers and go the extra mile in serving those interests. So to all these departments who have separated themselves, well done."
In January 2009, at its board meeting, the FWAA formed the first Super 11 Committee. The concept is supported by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), many of whom are members of the FWAA.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women across North America who cover college football for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards, a national poll and its annual All-America team.