Columbia, Mo. (March 12, 2009) — Missouri School of Journalism senior David Ubben won a top 10 ranking in the national Associated Press Sports Editors contest. His entry was entered in the explanatory story category of newspapers with an under-40,000 circulation. This is the third year in a row that the Columbia Missourian reporters have earned awards.
In the summer of 2008, Ubben strode past a trophy case at the University of Missouri‘s athletic facility and noticed an asterisk on a trophy claiming the victory of the Iowa State Cyclones over Missouri. The football game took place in Iowa on Nov. 18, 2006. The Cyclones beat the Tigers 21 to 16. Ubben knew the asterisk signified the Big 12’s apology for what they deemed an error in officiating that cost the Tigers a late touchdown, but he’d never heard about anything signifying the mistake on the Telephone Trophy.
“I made a mental note, and once the Iowa State game approached, I started making some calls to figure out where the blemish came from. I knew about the why, but the ‘who’ and ‘how’ went far deeper than I ever thought it could,” Ubben said.
When Ubben started reporting the story, he requested a photographer take a picture of the trophy. “When I heard the trophy had been removed from the trophy case before our photographer could get a photo, I knew it had a chance to be a special story,” Ubben said.
Greg Bowers, the Columbia Missourian’s sports editor, worked closely with Ubben on the story. “This was a funny story from start to finish,” Bowers said. “The asterisk seemed to signify that somebody, we weren’t sure who, felt that Iowa State hadn’t really ‘won’ the 2006 game. The search was on. After countless phone calls, the asterisk mysteriously disappeared from the trophy, and he had an entertaining story and a great example of observational reporting. I’m proud of him on a couple of levels.”
Ubben’s story, “Mystery Punctuates MU Rivalry Trophy’s Asterisk,” was published in the Columbia Missourian on Nov. 14, 2008.
Updated: April 30, 2020