Nominations for athlete-of-the-week honor explained

Commentary: Tim Martinez

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

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This is a question I’ve been receiving often this fall that gives me a bit of trepidation.

The question is: Who picks the nominees for athlete of the week?

Usually my response is “Umm … why do you want to know?”

Normally, the reason is the person asking simply wants to offer a suggestion and they want to know who they should contact.

If that’s the case, the answer is very simple.

Basically, it’s me.

Sometimes, I wish it were someone else, like Paul Valencia or Micah Rice or maybe even Paul Valencia.

Why not? Paul is the face of preps coverage at The Columbian, with his 4,100 Twitters followers.

Of course, he has a lot on his plate, so the task falls to me.

But I’m always looking for input – from other reports, coaches and even fans. So, yes, if you want to offer a suggestion for a nominee for athlete of the week or football player of the week, feel free to send me an email or a Tweet.

But there are some caveats, so we’ll list them here.

TIMING: The football player-of-the-week ballot usually starts around 8 p.m. Saturday. So if you want to suggest a nominee, you must do it by Saturday afternoon. The fall sports athlete-of-the-week vote starts Monday morning, so nominees must be made over the weekend.

NO PHONES: The best way to get a nominee suggestion to me is by email or Twitter (@360TMart) or a post on our 360preps Facebook page. If you call me on the phone, my duties may take me out of the office. So I might not get that message until Tuesday, which is too late. But I always have access to electronic messages.

ONE NOMINEE PER SCHOOL: When we first started this athlete-of-the-week voting, we used to nominate athletes from the same school. But usually that meant the support for the two nominees would be split. So now we limit nominees to one per school. Not a big issue for the football vote. But in the fall sports athlete vote, it can present a challenge when, say, a golfer has a great week, but a cross country runner from the same school also has a great week. Then I’ve got to make a tough choice.

NO REPEAT NOMINATIONS: A rule I follow is if an athlete is nominated for the honor, then he or she can’t be nominated the following week. A rule of thumb I follow is to actually give two or three weeks between nominations so I can spread the wealth. However, if an athlete has a truly amazing week, an exception will be made.

IT’S A WEEKLY HONOR: Player of the week is the best performance of the week. It may seem obvious, but I’ve had people offer nominee suggestions tell me about what an amazing season an athlete is having or what a great career an athlete had. But I’m really just looking at what an athlete did the previous Monday through Saturday.

ONLY FIVE NOMINEES: The limit on nominations is five, so that means that each week there will be some deserving nominees who won’t make the ballot. That makes my job tough, but it also makes the honor of making the ballot special.

There are other variables at play for finding nominations, but those are the big ones. So now, hopefully, you’ve got a better understanding of how the ballots are created. And feel free to send me those nominations.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538, tim.martinez@columbian.com or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.