The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism prepares students to be innovators and leaders in all facets of sports media. The center's unique, experiential curriculum and public programs elevate and amplify discussion of race, gender, politics and the world -- just as Shirley Povich did each morning in The Washington Post.
Shirley Povich was an award-winning reporter and columnist at The Washington Post from 1923 to 1998. One of the most popular and respected writers in 20th century American journalism, Povich covered hundreds of major sports events during his 75-year career.
The Philip Merrill College of Journalism offers a variety of sports courses that provide students an opportunity to learn about sports coverage in the modern era. Students gain hands-on experience covering teams at the University of Maryland, as well as in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism hosts various panels and discussions throughout the year, bringing experts in the field to Merrill College to discuss current events and interact with students.
In collaboration with Merrill College’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, the Povich Center published “Unlevel Playing Fields,” an in-depth investigation into Title IX and high school sports as the landmark legislation celebrates its 50th anniversary in June.
Title IX, which passed in 1972, is a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination at any school that receives funding from the federal government, including in sports programs. While Title IX has led to a significant increase in girls playing scholastic sports, it has fallen short of achieving equity for high school girls in areas such as facilities, equipment, scheduling and publicity, the four-month, student-led investigation found.
The project was done in collaboration with PBS NewsHour, which aired a Title IX segment. The Associated Press, Just Women’s Sports and Word In Black published parts of the project.
The Drake Group, Student Journalism Prize for Investigative Reporting on Intercollegiate Athletics
The first collaboration between the Povich Center and the Howard Center investigated the 22 Division I college football player deaths from exertion-related illnesses since 2000.
The primary causes of death for these incidents are sudden cardiac arrest, heatstroke and collapse from sickle-cell trait. The story explores the fact that football programs and coaches face few repercussions from institutions or the NCAA, even when they violate recommended safety precautions that might have prevented death. The story also examines measures taken by the NCAA to address the problem of exertional death.
The project -- reported by Professor of the Practice Kevin Blackistone’s Spring 2019 and Spring 2020 Sports Reporting and Writing classes, and master’s student Dan Novak -- was published by USA Today and by the Howard Center through Capital News Service.
Povich Center Faculty & Staff
George Solomon Endowed Chair in Sports Journalism; Director, The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism; Professor of the Practice