Archive for July 24, 2012

IU KOKOMO LAUNCHES NEW ATHLETICS WEBSITE

Cougar athletics reaches out to fans with new website

KOKOMO, Ind. — Cougar sports fans won’t have to miss one second of the action this season, with the launch of a new Indiana University Kokomo athletics website today.

Jace Thompson, men’s basketball coach, said the upgrades allow for more interaction with students and fans.

“We’re focused on the athletes and what we’re doing with the athletic department. We can text out scores, and we’re going to be able to show live broadcasts of the games,” he said. “Our fans can get instant updates on our teams.”

The website, www.iukcougars.com, includes schedules for women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s basketball teams, as well as stats for players and teams.

It also includes interactive features, such as an opt-in texting service for breaking news alerts and links to social media sites. When teams play away games, there will be links to radio and/or television broadcasts.

In addition, the site features videos and pictures from games and community service projects.

“We have a dedicated fan base, and this will generate energy among them,” Thompson said. “It will give the Cougar Crazies a place to show their enthusiasm for our teams.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

SPORTS JOURNAL STAFF ACCEPTS SIGMA DELTA CHI AWARD

Dean Hockney and William Gibson with the Sigma Delta Chi Award. (Photo by ROBIN GIBSON)

SPORTS JOURNAL STAFF STORY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – What an honor. On July 20, Sports Journal Publisher Dean Hockney and Photo Editor William Gibson stood in front of hundreds of fellow journalists and accepted one of the most prestigious honors a journalist can receive – a Delta Sigma Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. The pair was presented the award at the National Press Club, which sits in the shadow of the Washington Monument and is nestled just east of the White House. The first Sigma Delta Chi Awards were presented in 1932.

“This is an outstanding honor,” said Hockney, who launched the publication on Jan. 11, 2011. “It is truly amazing that the Sports Journal has been recognized by the SPJ. Our readers constantly tell us how much they love our pictures, and I guess they are right and we are appreciative.”

The Sports Journal won in the category of sports photography (newspaper circulation 1-100,000, regional magazine, non-daily publication or online independent). Sports Illustrated won for large publications.

The award was earned for the March 22, 2011, front cover picture taken by Photo Editor William Gibson. The shot is of Kokomo High School’s D.J. Balentine hitting the game winning 3-pointer against No. 1 ranked and previously undefeated Munster in the IHSAA Class 4A Lafayette Semi-State. Balentine’s basket sent the Wildkats to the state championship game.

“I am humbled by this award,” said Gibson. “I was really in the right place at the right time. And I want to thank the Society for recognizing the photo. This is a tremendous honor and I am very excited.”

Gibson is being recognized for taking the actual picture and Hockney for the subsequent edit and layout of the front page photo.

“First, I want to thank God, my family and my friends for helping to make this happen,” said Hockney. “For as small a publication as we are, I am thrilled that we are being recognized. We are a small budget, locally owned publication, but we know our photography is something that is a draw since every picture we publish is of high quality and in color. When I started the Sports Journal, I wanted our photography to be top notch and a focal point each week.

“As a former athlete and huge sports fan, William Gibson understands the game and that gives him an advantage on where to be on the floor or in the field for the best oportunity for a good shot. His picture of Balentine at the semi-state is a case in point.”

Gibson, who was fighting a large crowd and cheerleaders on the sideline, added: “It was gratifying to know that a single picture can tell the story of a 32 minute basketball game. When you look at the crowd in the background, they are gasping – not cheering. The shooter has a great expression on his face, and the opposing team is desperately reacting to the shot. It freezes 32 minutes into one second.”

The picture almost did not happen. Gibson was in Florida on vacation with his family on the morning of the Lafayette Semi-State. After the flight home, his sister picked him up at the airport and drove him straight to Lafayette while the rest of his family returned to their home in Greentown.

“I literally ran into the gym and grabbed the camera equipment from Dean as the game tipped off,” he said with a smile. “I knew I wanted to see this game, and thankfully, our vacation was scheduled to end in time for me to get to Lafayette. I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. Dean kept texting me with updates of the first game and we just kept pushing to make it. Needless to say, I was exhausted.”

Greg Rakestraw, an on-air sports personality for Hometown Sports and News and ESPN 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis, said the Sports Journal is at the forefront of the new age of journalism.

“One of the best things I have seen come down the pike in the last year or two, when it comes to covering local sports, it is the Sports Journal,” he said. “That is ahead of its time, ahead of the curve, as far as covering from a local sports standpoint. They are there to chronicle the stories of young athletes and that is wonderful.”

Sigma Delta Chi Awards are considered one of the most prestigious in journalism and is awarded by the SPJ – the largest journalism organization in the United States. Other publications that were honored with 2011 Sigma Delta Chi awards include WISH-TV (Indiana State Fair tragedy coverage), The (Muncie) Star Press, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

BIG TEN PRESIDENTS/CHANCELLORS COMMENT ON PENN STATE

Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors Statement on Penn State

We must begin first and foremost, by again expressing our great sorrow for all of those whose lives have been so grievously harmed by the series of failures at Penn State University, particularly the lives of the young victims and their families.

Since November 2011, when the underlying indictments were first announced, the Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COPC) committed to a prudent, thoughtful and patient review of the various investigative and adjudicatory processes associated with allegations at Penn State University involving Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz and Graham Spanier.  In December 2011, Big Ten legal counsel, along with NCAA counsel, engaged in the independent investigation undertaken by Louis Freeh and his law firm, Freeh, Sporkin, & Sullivan, LLP.  At that time, the COPC reserved the right to impose sanctions, corrective or other disciplinary measures in this matter in the event that adverse findings were made in the areas of institutional control, ethical conduct and/or other Conference related matters.  The COPC also directed the Conference, at that time, to initiate an immediate review of the fundamental issues and systems affecting intercollegiate athletics, including those related to institutional control.

Today, we have read the NCAA release on Penn State University.  We note in the release, and have independently confirmed, that Penn State has accepted the factual findings in the July 12, 2012 Report of the Special Investigative Counsel prepared by Louis Freeh and his firm (the Freeh Report).  Based on the findings, as accepted by Penn State, we fully support the actions taken by the NCAA.  Further, following a thorough review of the Freeh Report, the COPC has voted to impose the following additional sanctions on Penn State, effective immediately:

Censure: The accepted findings support the conclusion that our colleagues at Penn State, individuals that we have known and with whom we have worked for many years, have egregiously failed on many levels—morally, ethically and potentially criminally.  They have failed their great university, their faculty and staff, their students and alumni, their community and state—and they have failed their fellow member institutions in the Big Ten Conference.  For these failures, committed at the highest level of the institution, we hereby condemn this conduct and officially censure Penn State.

Probation: The Big Ten Conference will be a party to the Athletic Integrity Agreement referenced in the NCAA release, and will work closely with the NCAA and Penn State to ensure complete compliance with its provisions over the 5 year term of the Agreement.

Ineligibility: As referenced in the NCAA release, Penn State’s football team will be ineligible for postseason bowl games.  It will also be ineligible for Big Ten Conference Championship Games for four years, a period of time that runs concurrently with the NCAA postseason bowl ban imposed this morning.

Fine: Because Penn State will be ineligible for bowl games for the next four years, it will therefore be ineligible to receive its share of Big Ten Conference bowl revenues over those same four years.  That money, estimated to be approximately $13 million, will be donated to established charitable organizations in Big Ten communities dedicated to the protection of children.

Penn State University is a great institution and has been a valued member of the Big Ten Conference for more than 20 years.  Since early November 2011, it has been working very hard to right a terrible wrong.   There is more to be done.  The intent of the sanctions imposed today is not to destroy a great university, but rather to seek justice and constructively assist a member institution with its efforts to reform.  From this day forward, as Penn State continues to make amends, the Big Ten conference and its member institutions will continue to engage with them in every aspect of conference membership.

As a result of the Conference review of issues and systems affecting intercollegiate athletics initiated in December 2011, we recognize that what occurred at Penn State University is a consequence of the concentration of power that can result from a successful athletic program and the failure of institutional leadership to maintain institutional control.  We further recognize our own responsibility to insure, within the context of our own institutions, sufficient control and responsibility over our athletic programs.  Our review has led to a document entitled Standards and Procedures for Safeguarding Institutional Control of Intercollegiate Athletics that is not yet final, but on schedule to be adopted by the COPC and implemented in the 2012/13 academic year under the auspices and oversight of the COPC.

ADDITIONAL STATEMENT

Kent Cassella, Michigan State Assistant Vice President of Media Communications: “We fully support the NCAA, who has the authority and responsibility to act on what is clearly a tragic and difficult situation. Additionally, MSU and President Lou Anna K. Simon stand with the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten institutions in the actions the conference announced today. This group of leaders has been fully engaged since last December with what has become an unprecedented situation. The measures announced today by both organizations speak for themselves.”