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Shirley Povich Symposium 2017

The Shirley Povich Center For Sports Journalism

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.

About the Center

Povich Center in Africa

Shirley Povich

About Shirley Povich

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. 

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Sports Writing & Reporting Fall 2018


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.

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2019 Povich Newseum Panel

Past Events

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.

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Povich Center logo

The center was made possible by a $1 million challenge gift from Shirley Povich’s children – Maury, Lynn and David – as well as support from other involved parties. 

Povich Center Projects

Youth Tackle Football (February 2024)

Maryland Heat practice
Players as young as 8 line up for a full-contact drill at a Maryland Heat practice in Fort Washington, Maryland, on Nov. 9, 2023. (Freddy Wolfe/University of Maryland)

In collaboration with Merrill College’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, the Povich Center published “Youth Tackle Football: Balancing risks and rewards depends on race and place” — a four-month investigation on how the risks and rewards of the sport are weighed.

Students interviewed dozens of parents, coaches, youth players, medical researchers and former pro football players, and the Povich and Howard centers worked with Ipsos to conduct an in-depth national public opinion poll of parents. That allowed them to put together a comprehensive illustration of how youth tackle football is viewed today.

The project was done in partnership with PBS NewsHour, which aired a Feb. 13 segment produced by Merrill College student journalists. The six-story project was also was distributed nationally by The Associated Press and featured on NPR's "All Things Considered" on Feb. 8.


PointsBet advertisements at Folsom Field at University of Colorado
Gambling on Campus, with PBS NewsHour

Gambling on Campus (February 2023)

In collaboration with Merrill College’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, the Povich Center published “Gambling on Campus,” a wide-ranging investigation into universities and sports betting.

College students are in the highest risk group for problem gambling, yet the investigation shows universities have been slow to create policies, educational programs or restrictions on sports betting. That’s despite the aggressive expansion of sports gambling across the U.S. and abundant advertising at some college campuses.

The project was done in collaboration with PBS NewsHour, which aired two segments based on the reporting in the project. The Associated Press distributed the project nationally.

  • Investigative Reporters & Editors Award, first place in the Student - Large category
  • Associated Press Sports Editors, first place in the 2023 contest's Division D Projects category

This Povich Center and Howard Center investigation raises serious questions about Title IX compliance in high schools across the country.
Unlevel Playing Fields, with PBS NewsHour

Unlevel Playing Fields (April 2022)

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.

Twelve college football players who died from overexertion since 2000
Pushed Too Far, with USA Today (Above: Twelve of the 22 Division I college football players who have died from overexertion since 2000)

Pushed Too Far (August 2021)

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

Portrait of Mark Hyman

Mark Hyman

George Solomon Endowed Chair in Sports Journalism; Director, The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism; Professor of the Practice
Portrait of Kevin Blackistone

Kevin Blackistone

Professor of the Practice
Portrait of Kaitlyn Wilson

Kaitlyn Wilson

Assistant Director, The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism


Check out The Povich Center's original series, Still No Cheering in the Press Box, which explores the lives of legendary sports journalists -- in their own words. 

John McNamara    In Memoriam: John McNamara



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