After years of watching the Chicago Bears on television as a little kid and after covering college football for nearly three decades, Arizona Sports Hall of Fame sports journalist and ASU professor Paola Boivin has been named to the College Football Playoff selection committee.
“She’s covered newsmakers her whole life, now she is a news maker,” Doug Haller, Boivin's former co-worker at The Arizona Republic, said.
Within the last year, Boivin became the first female sports director for the Cronkite Sports Bureau at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the first female sports journalist inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame and the first female sports journalist to be on the CFP committee.
“Who wouldn’t be jealous,” Haller said. “Man, I just can’t imagine what that would be like to have that on your resume.”
Bill Hancock, the executive director of the CFP, presented Boivin with the opportunity. The two knew each other from years of Boivin covering NCAA athletics, as Hancock was the first executive director of the Bowl Championship Series and the NCAA Final Four.
“I think (Hancock) knew of Paola’s reputation and accomplishments in the media,” Jeff Metcalfe, former co-worker at The Arizona Republic, said. “When she left to go to ASU, I think the timing was really good for her just because now she’s not directly working in the media, so it was a good opportunity for her to move into something like this.”
Awards aren’t the only reputation Boivin carries; she is also appreciated for the way she treats people while on the job, according to Haller.
“You really can't work with Paola without being friends with Paola because she just doesn’t allow it,” Haller said. “She’s just the kind of person you’re not going to be co-workers with — you’re going to be friends with (her).”
Boivin earned admiration and respect from her treatment of others in the industry, according to Haller.
"There are so many people in the journalism business that are always kind of out to get people," Haller said. "She did it with a grace and those are the people that get ahead, those are the people that people remember, those are the people who earn respect, and all those things position you to do greater things.”
According to Metcalfe, Boivin now has the opportunity “to give back to college football.”
Boivin is now the second female to serve on the committee. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the only other woman to serve on the committee.
“I’ve spent my whole career being taught to be objective,” Boivin said. “I think having that objectivity in this process is huge.”
Not only is this a huge success for Boivin, but it also provides an opportunity for rising sports journalists at the Cronkite school to learn from her success among the school's other accomplished professors.
“It’s amazing to me who is on this staff,” Boivin said. “Pulitzer Prize winners, people who have done some amazing investigative reporting (are at the Cronkite school), so to be even a small player in this mix is great. If (the Cronkite school) can say that one of our instructors is on the College Football Playoff committee, maybe that will help bring a student in.”