EUGENE, Ore. — The student sports reporters who cover the Oregon Ducks are celebrating right along with the athletes. Late Sunday night, the reporters secured enough donations through a GoFundMe campaign to travel to Florida to cover the women's Final Four.
The Ducks advanced to their first Final Four with an 88-84 win Sunday against top-seeded Mississippi State. Oregon will play the winner of Monday's game between No. 1 Baylor and No. 2 Iowa (4 p.m., ESPN2).
As independent student journalists at the University of Oregon's Daily Emerald newspaper, the reporters don't get university money to cover costs. So they posted a goal of $1,500 on GoFundMe this weekend, and quickly reached their goal (and more).
Three Emerald reporters will now leave on Wednesday for Tampa, Florida to cover the game. They'd been in Portland all weekend covering the Ducks' wins in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.
The Emerald sends two reporters to every home game and some of the away games as well. Shawn Medow, associate sports editor, said this real-world experience is vital.
"It teaches you how to cover a big event," Medow said. "That's the toughest thing in sports journalism is being able to cover something so massive and this is as big as it gets, the Final Four. I've been emailing professors saying I'm not going to be there on the first day of class. They've been pretty accepting of the cause."
Medow says campus is buzzing with the anticipation for Friday's game. It'll be hard for everyone to focus.
"For the team to come back to this campus, how does Sabrina Ionescu, after putting up 31 points in an Elite Eight, go and take a class on a Monday morning? I'm not sure," Medow said.