By Meghan Rominger
Sports Capital Journalism Program, IUPUI
For the first time in its history, APSE will hold its Summer Conference on a college campus when the organization arrives in Indianapolis and IUPUI next week. While Indianapolis had previously hosted a few of the organization’s winter judging meetings, the city known for meticulously executing sports’ biggest events will welcome APSE and its summer participants for the first time in the organization’s 48-year history.
So how did the 2022 APSE Summer Conference end up in the Crossroads of America?
A persistent sports journalism program director – and a pesky winter storm – might have done the trick.
“[Malcolm Moran] and his tenacity kind of helped make it happen. He put out a good pitch on Indianapolis’s behalf,” said Jeff Rosen, 2017-18 APSE President and sports editor of The Kansas City Star. “[Hosting] is a tremendous amount of work: logistical details, clerical details, details that as attendees we don’t often think about. But he knew what he was getting himself into.”
Moran, who joined the IUPUI faculty in 2013, immediately began trying to convince APSE to host its Summer Conference on campus. Understanding the immense amount of work that accompanies hosting the conference, Moran began laying the groundwork for IUPUI to become APSE’s first college campus host by being what he describes as a “polite pest.”
“The persistence came from the fact that there was a relationship between APSE and the IUPUI campus that goes back to the [2009-10] academic year when the APSE Red Smith Hall of Fame Room was opened in the Campus Center,” Moran said.
“Having the summer conference come to the campus just seemed like a logical extension of things that were already in place. And there were some obstacles along the way, but that was the premise that I based my effort on – that it belonged here.”
In 2014, Indianapolis and IUPUI hosted the APSE judging meeting in early March, and the nearly-uninhabitable weather afforded the program its big break.
An Indianapolis Star story from March 3, 2014, noted the high temperature for the day was expected to reach only 18 degrees; the low for the night was slated to be only five. The sidewalks were paved with ice, making the trek back and forth between the hotel and Campus Center an almost Herculean feat to some of the visitors.
“The consensus was if we ever come back [to Indianapolis], let’s not do it in the winter,” said Tommy Deas, 2016-17 APSE President and Alabama sports editor for Gannett South Region.
“We were trapped in the hotel, and they were running snow plows around the hotel parking lot all day to keep it open.”
In 2017, at the Summer Conference in New Orleans, Moran and then-President Rosen discussed bringing an APSE event back to Indianapolis. The Winter Conference was pretty quickly ruled out, but the Summer Conference became a budding possibility.
“We had Malcolm down to New Orleans where our summer conference was that year to talk about IUPUI and what kind of role it could take in staging the conference,” Rosen said. “We heard Malcolm’s pitch and liked what we heard.”
Moran worked with APSE Conference Coordinator Glen Crevier to identify the necessary locations for the conference and begin planning for the 2020 Summer Conference to finally make its way to IUPUI after a half-decade of determination.
“[Malcolm] did a great job scouting out the hotels and making sure that the dates worked, lining up everything that’s going on on campus to try and make things as inclusive as possible for students to join in,” said John Bednarowski, 2018-19 APSE President and sports editor at The Marietta Daily Journal.
But the pandemic prevented the group from carrying out the longtime plans. The 2020 Summer Conference was held virtually instead. APSE leadership and IUPUI shifted to the next possible opportunity to bring the conference back to the Midwest, landing on the summer of 2022.
Now, from June 15-18, conference-goers will be able to attend panels on a range of topics like covering sports gambling, COVID’s impact on sports journalism, high school coverage and several other topics in the “Amateur Sports Capital of the World.”
And they’ll have the chance to do it alongside local students and IUPUI’s Sports Capital Journalism program because every journalist’s favorite aphorism – “persistence is key” – has finally paid off.