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Martinsburg native selected to college football playoff team

Posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 10:33 am


Steve Wieberg

Wieberg finished up his time with USA Today by covering the 2012 Major League All-Star game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
“It was time to normalize my life a little bit. I was still doing a lot of travel, which I had always done. But more and more, there were just a lot of times when I was getting a phone call at 6:30 p.m., saying, we need you to get to Dallas. Can you get a plane tonight? Just uprooting your life all the time based on breaking news and not being able to really plan anything in advance, because inevitably something would come up. It was just time to stop doing that,” Wieberg said.
Wieberg has covered every NCAA Final Four Championship game from 1983-2012, 18 NCAA football championship games, eight Summer/Winter Olympic competitions, and three Major League Baseball World Series events.
Wieberg has been honored with more than 20 national writing awards from the Football Writers Association, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors.
He has been recognized by College Sports magazine and the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of “50 Most Influential People in College Sports” and one of the “10 Most Powerful People in College Sports.” In 2008, he became a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame.
Wieberg has also spent countless hours serving as President of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, as well as a member of the honors courts selection committee for both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
As part of the normalization process, Wieberg is now working in the public affairs department of the Kansas City Public Library.
He is putting his years of experience as a writer and an editor to good use, while enjoying a much slower pace.
After the commissioners of the 10 conferences and the independents decided to move from the current Bowl Championship System to a four-team playoff, it was necessary to form a committee to select the teams that would compete.
While someone from the media has never had the opportunity to serve on a championship selection committee, the Football Writers Association decided that selecting someone with a media background could be beneficial and the commissioners agreed.
“The next step was to figure out who that may be. It couldn’t be someone who is currently writing for a newspaper or is on the air for a network, because everything you wrote or everything you said on the air would be so closely examined and perceived as bias this way or favoritism that way. It just wouldn’t work,” Wieberg explained. “It needed to be someone who was former media and so that made me eligible.”
In the early summer of 2013, Wieberg had lunch with the College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock.
It was then that Wieberg was asked to join the elite group of former players, coaches, and the former Secretary of State on the committee.
“He talked about how much work there would be, how much pressure there would be along with it. Because only picking four teams out of 120 plus is not a very big field. There would be a lot of scrutiny and controversy, because the fifth team that gets left out is probably going be a pretty darn good football team. And so, everybody on the committee needs to be prepared and be able to deal with that. I told him that I wouldn’t have a problem with that and would be honored to be on the committee, if that is the route they choose,” Wieberg said.
In August of this year, Wieberg was officially asked to join the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. As part of the Committee, Wieberg will be accompanied by a host of talent and experience.
Committee members include Jeff Long, Arkansas vice-chancellor and athletic director; Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin athletic director; Lieutenant General Mike Gould, former superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy; Pat Haden, Southern California athletic director; Tom Jernstedt, former NCAA executive vice- president; Oliver Luck, West Virginia athletic director; Archie Manning, former Mississippi and NFL quarterback; Tom Osborne, former Nebraska football coach and athletic director; Dan Radakovich, Clemson athletic director; Condoleezza Rice, Stanford professor, former Stanford provost, and former Secretary of State; Mike Tranghese, former Big East commissioner; and Tyrone Willingham, former Notre Dame, Washington, and Stanford football coach.
“Not to sound cliche, but this is both humbling and exciting. I was able to do a lot of cool things in 30 years at USA Today, championship games, final fours, the Olympics, things like that. But, I think this is going to be the coolest thing I have ever done,” Wieberg said.
The new playoff system doesn’t take effect until the 2014-2015 season.
The committee will meet for the first time November 11-12 in Washington D.C.
“At the first meeting we will begin to talk about how we want to go about the selection process, what kinds of things do we want to emphasize as we’re looking at teams, important things like strength of their schedule, head to head competition, and whether or not they won their conference championship. Possibly, if all other things are equal, if one is a conference champion and the other one isn’t, do we lean toward the conference champion? So we’ll start to talk about principles and procedures like that at this meeting. But then the real work will begin next fall at the end of August, first of September when the 2014 season starts,” Wieberg said.
The 13-member selection committee will then meet four times during the regular season at the playoff offices in Dallas, Texas. The first college playoff championship will be held January 12, 2015 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Irving, Texas.
To talk about his selection on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, Wieberg appeared on the nationally syndicated John Feinstein Show on October 18.
Visit to hear the show.