Medill Crain Lecture: “Beyond The Box Score: Covering College Sports in 2012 and Beyond”

The climate surrounding college sports has changed dramatically in the past year, ranging from booster scandals and increased calls for paying students-athletes to conference re-alignment. Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel, The New York TimesPete Thamel and Northwestern University Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald will talk about those changes and how they think the landscape and coverage of college athletics will continue to evolve on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, as part of Medill’s Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr. Lecture Series.

ESPN reporter Rachel Nicholswill moderate the discussion.

“Beyond The Box Score: Covering College Sports in 2012 and Beyond,” will begin at 4 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum (1870 Campus Drive) on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. The event, co-sponsored with the Northwestern University Department of Athletics and Recreation, is free and open to the public. The panel discussion will also be streamed live on the Medill website and the Athletic Department website, and can be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #MedillSports.

Stewart Mandel (BSJ98) is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated’s website,, where he has worked since 1999 covering the national college football beat and college basketball. Mandel’s first book,“Bowls, Polls and Tattered Souls: Tackling the Chaos and Controversy That Reign Over College Football,” was published in 2007. The next year he took first place (enterprise category) and second place (game story) in the Football Writers Association of America’s annual writing contest.

Pete Thamel is in his ninth year as the college sports reporter for The New York Times. He covers the national college football and basketball beats, and has reported stories everywhere from Maui to Istanbul to Beijing. In 2006, The New York Times nominated Thamel for a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for his work uncovering diploma mills that were giving fast and easy grades to talented high school prospects. Thamel graduated from Syracuse University in 1999.

Pat Fitzgerald (SESP97) recently completed his sixth season as head coach of Northwestern University’s football team. “Fitz” has guided the Wildcats to four consecutive postseason berths and five straight years of bowl-eligibility, both school bests. As a student-athlete, Fitzgerald led Northwestern to back-to-back Big Ten titles in the mid-90s and was a two-time winner of both the Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik Awards as the nation’s best defensive player. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. In addition to his January 2009 appointment to the Illinois Reform Commission aimed at rooting out political corruption, Fitzgerald was named to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Ethics Committee in the fall of 2009 and was elected to the organization's Board of Trustees in January of 2012. He is also dedicated to helping improve youth football safety as a member of USA Football's Tackle Advisory Committee.

Moderator Rachel Nichols (BSJ95)joined ESPN in February 2004 as a New York City-based reporter, covering breaking news stories and major events, as well as providing investigative pieces and human-interest features. In addition to her role on “SportsCenter,”Nichols provides weekly NFL features and reports for ESPN’s studio programs and regular coverage of the NBA. She is also a correspondent for “E:60,” ESPN’s first multi-themed prime-time newsmagazine, a sideline reporter for “Monday Night Football” and an occasional contributor on “The Sports Reporters.”

The Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr. Lecture Series regularly brings journalists, newsmakers and others discussing current events and the news business to the Evanston campus. For more information on this lecture, call (847) 467-4130, or visit

Feb 22 2012 - 4:00pm