ASWA Spring 2022 Newsletter – News, Analysis and More from Sports Illustrated Alabama Crimson Tide


So, is anyone busy?

I’m kidding, I’m kidding.

The executive committee has put in a lot of extra hours preparing for the 50th anniversary celebration, and it’s an effort to let everyone know.

• The convention/award banquet will be held on Sunday, June 12 in Birmingham. The convention portion will take place at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. We are in the process of finalizing the site for the awards banquet, but hope to have this done in the next few days.

• The annual writing contest officially opens on March 1, with a May 1 deadline for all entries (no exceptions). There have been no major rule changes since last year. Competition information is included at the end of this newsletter, but can always be found with with statutes on the ASWA website.

Remember that the contest covers everything from January 1 to December 31 in all sports except college football, which will allow submissions until the end of the season (including bowling and CFP games ).

Additionally, a contest email address ( was created to answer questions and manage submissions for the projects category.

• The ASWA 50 Legends will have a staggered release throughout March, with 1-2 winners announced each day (at 12:00 and 3:30 p.m. on days when there is a second person). To try to spread the word, each person named will be posted on the ASWA website, on the ASWA Facebook page and via the @bamacentral Twitter account.

• John Zenor administers the ASWA President’s Award, which is presented annually to the individual who displays outstanding community service activities and overall excellence while exemplifying the spirit of athletics in the state.

The intent is for it to be an unsung hero-type honor, similar to the Bill Shelton Award or the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year, but honoring someone in the community. It can be anyone from a prominent administrator to a Little League player, but ideally it will go to a person or group that isn’t usually in the spotlight, and that most state people don’t know.

Past ASWA Presidents will decide the winner, but John accepts the nominations. Email him at


Annual dues: $30 for active members, $25 for anyone participating in the mentoring program.

Alumni dues: $15 for those who are no longer active in the profession.

Conference/Awards Banquet: Cost to attend is $25.

Mail to: Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA), Jacksonville State Sports Information, 700 Pelham Road North, Jacksonville, AL 36265, Attn: Greg Seitz

Provisional ASWA Schedule Upcoming

March 1: launch of the writing contest

April 20-30: Athlete of the Year nomination vote

May 1: Deadline for the 2021 writing competition

May 1-10: final vote for Athletes of the Year

June 12: ASWA 2021 Congress, Birmingham

(date and place of the meeting of the Presidents’ Committee to be determined)

ASWA Annual Writing Competition

The annual writing competition is designed to foster and encourage better sports journalism.


All members in good standing of the Alabama Sports Writers Association are eligible to compete in all categories.

1. No limit on the number of participants from the same publication.

2. No limit of entries per category participant.

3. A story can only be submitted in one category, except as part of a project.

All entries must have been posted within the previous calendar year, between January 1 and December 31. The only exception will be coverage of bowling games, playoff games, and college football national championships (plus press conferences and follow-up stories).

The deadline for submitting material is May 1 (absolutely no exceptions).

Registration must be made with the contest president.

$8.00 per entry must accompany each item to 1) defray contest costs and 2) encourage selective entries.

All entries should be taped to 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of white paper (except layout entries). NO FOLDING! Xerox copies are subject to entrants’ risk, or Internet copies may be submitted as long as all identifying marks are removed (see #2).

1. Use multiple sheets if necessary and bind or staple them together.

2. All identifying marks should be removed (bylines, titles, logos, folios, images, etc.) **Not only marked with pencil, but removed** Subtitles in the body of the story may to stay.

3. Accompanied by a cover sheet listing category of entry, name and publication of sportswriters, date of publication and subject of entry (excluding layout).

4. For entry purposes, daily newspapers are defined as being printed three or more days per week. Weekly newspapers are referred to as being printed twice or less per week. You can only enter one category.


A. Best Sports Story, Writing on a Deadline (must be posted within 24 hours of the event and written by an individual).

1. Involving a professional or academic event.

2. Involve a prep or other amateur event (except collegiate).

B. Best Column

1. Entrant will be judged on four columns at any time of the year.

Read more

C. Best Story or Series Writing No Deadline (Feature)

1. On football (Power 5 or NFL programs)

2. On football (general, i.e. everything except Power 5 or NFL)

3. Basketball

4. In baseball

5. In softball

6. Golf

7. On wrestling and boxing

8. On car racing

9. Outside

10. General Sports (where there are fewer than three entries in categories C-1 through C-9, entries in the category will be listed as C-10).

D. Special Categories

1. Best Company/Explanatory Story

Single article or series with only one entry per point of sale; entries must be primarily the work of a sports journalist or sports staff member and written by a member or members of the athletic department. By definition, explainer stories focus on trends, issues, or original ideas, and shed new light on current issues and personalities. They are more than a feature film and less than an investigative piece.

2. Best Investigation Story

Single article or series with only one entry per point of sale; entries must be primarily the work of one or more sports writers, and written by a member or members of the athletic department.

Judgment must be based on initiative; documentation, ingenuity and original reporting to uncover newsworthy and significant facts and details that might otherwise have gone unreported. Investigative reporting relies on reporting facts uncovered and uncovered by the author rather than reports from anonymous sources. Real investigative reporting is rare.

3. Latest news

Single article that acknowledges this reporting element; entries must be primarily the work of one or more sports writers, and written by a member or members of the athletic department.

4. Project

A project sheds new light on current personalities and topics, including trends and original ideas. It is pre-planned content that is designed and executed as a larger set of works.

It may include non-written material, including videos, audio, social media, images, animations, videos, and interactive content. The intention is that the multimedia aspect is complementary to the printed stories, not the main element, and should include or be produced by the author(s) involved.

If an organization is affiliated with a TV channel, this should be the website and not the TV channel that produced the video. Videos produced by TV channels are not allowed.

Due to the unique nature of the category, registration must be done online, with links to the story (including account ID and password if required), in addition to a cover letter . The cover letter should only include what is not apparent in the content itself. Judges will disregard any other cover letter content (for example: sales pitches, cheerleading, and general comments about the entrant).

Entry must be emailed to and, like other entries, include category of entry, name and publication of sportswriters, date of publication and subject of entry.

PLEASE NOTE: ASWA competition judges are advised by the competition chair that entries in the Business and Survey categories must strictly adhere to the stated criteria. This means that there may or may not be a winner in either category, but particularly in the survey category, in any given year. Judges are permitted to combine entries or reassign an entry to a more appropriate category.

E. Best Story or Series Writing – Non-Daily

1. Better column and/or feature

2. Best Game Story

F. Best Written Stories or Series _ Students

1. Best Delay Story/Player

2. Best Business/Feature

G. Sweepstakes Award (Herby Kirby Memorial Award)

Best story of all categories above.

H. Titles

Four headlines with the first six paragraphs of the submitted story.

(Note: Best Layout awards have been waived)

I. Best Supplement or Special Edition

Four originals must be submitted.


President of the competition

1. Nominated by the President of the Alabama Sports Writers Association

2. Make information about the competition available to members of the association; Responsible for judging applications…

a. by another state’s Sports Writers Association

b. by a school of journalism in another field

The officers and members of the executive board of the Alabama Sports Writers Association will serve as a standing judging committee to resolve any protests or questions.


A. To be done at the Alabama Sports Writers Association Summer Meeting.

B. No winner will be announced prior to the awards ceremony.

The Contest Chair will be responsible for obtaining the rewards.

Make your check to:

ASWA ($8.00 per entry)

Check or money order must accompany entries when mailed.

All entries should be sent to:

Kirk Samson

Auburn Sports Complex

392 South Donahue Drive

Auburn, AL 36849

Box 351

Auburn, AL 36831-0351

For more information:


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