The California Golden Bears sports information department deserves a round of applause.
They also deserved an award for their efforts this past sport season, one that they were handsomely rewarded for by the Football Writers Association of America. The FWAA selected Cal as one of 11 schools to receive the Super 11 Award, given annually to the best performing sports information departments in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
This was Cal’s first such honor, and one that was truly deserved. FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson explained why.
“That was a special point of emphasis for 2018 and 2019,” Richardson said. “Our membership wanted access to players after games, of course, but also for human interest and analytical stories during the week. It is encouraging that SIDs were being allowed to do their jobs by coaches at these schools. Obviously, as we move into uncertain times in college football, there may be developing standards and protocols which become prominent.”
Richardson also remarked on the amount of first-time winners of the award. Cal was one of five first-time winners this year, surpassing even last year’s first-time winners total of four.
“What is encouraging about this year’s group of recipients is for a second straight year we had a large number of first-year winners in the group,” Richardson said. “Last year we had four first-year recipients, so that means over a two-year period we have had nine new schools hitting strong standards for accessibility.”
The FWAA awarded the 11 schools based upon player availability, coaching staff availability both during and in the offseason, freshman who should play, head coaches for at least a half hour every week, quote requests and a ‘no cheering in the press box’ request among other criterion.
Cal joins Appalachian State, Clemson, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas State, Memphis, Mississippi State, Navy, NC State and San Diego State on the list. Colorado has won the award four years in a row now.
The Super 11 Award began in 2009 and saw USC and Utah as Pac-12 representatives that year. From the Pac-12, only USC (‘09, ‘10, ‘11, ‘13, ‘14, ‘15, ‘16, ‘17), Utah (‘09, ‘10), Colorado (‘10, ‘13, ‘14, ‘16, ‘17, ‘18, ‘19), Oregon State (‘12) and Arizona State (‘19) have won the award.