Tom Jones was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied English at the University of South Florida from 1982 to 1986.
He began his writing career with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1985. He then went on to work for the St. Petersburg Times from 1987 to 1991, the Tampa Tribune from 1991 to 1996, the St. Petersburg Times again from 1996 to 2000 and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from 2000 to 2003. He then rejoined the St. Petersburg Times for a third time in his career in 2003, where he worked ever since.
Jones has spent most of his career covering the NHL, including being a beat writer for more than 15 years of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Minnesota. Wild. He also spent two years on the Tampa Bay Rays beat. He then become a columnist at Times starting in 2007. Jones has won several national and state writing awards, including a top 10 game story in the nation in 1998 as named by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Over the course of his career, Jones has covered the Olympics, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup finals, baseball and hockey all-star games, the NCAA basketball tournament and the Frozen Four.
Jones lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Patty, and sons, Sam and Andy.
With over two decades of reporting on professional and collegiate sports for the Tampa Bay Times, through performance and work experience in journalism and broadcasting in television and radio, Rick Stroud has cultivated an impressive list of sources and utilized his knowledge to produce an outstanding body of work in both print and electronic mediums.
During his career, Stroud has reported on national sporting events including 22 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball Playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroud’s stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. The stories for which Stroud won second place for Best Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press Sports Editors, led to sanctions against both Gators programs.
Since 2004, Stroud has appeared as an NFL Insider for ESPN2’s First Take and is a regular contributor to ESPN’s SportsCenter, NFL Live, Outside the Lines and Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to NFL Network’s Total Access.
Stroud becan covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the National Football League in 1990. Since then, the Bucs have undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum. They also celebrated a Super Bowl XXVII victory. His reporting was referenced in Tony Dungy’s best seller, Quiet Strength, particularly because it was Stroud who informed Dungy of the Bucs’ plan to replace him with Giants Super Bowl coach Bill Parcells.
A former Div. I-A baseball player at Arkansas , Stroud brings a unique perspective to sports reporting. During the NFL lockout in 2011, he also served as one of the Times’ beat writers responsible for covering the Tampa Bay Rays.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Jerry Sandusky lost a bid for a new trial Wednesday when a judge rejected his argument that his lawyers were not given enough time to prepare for the three-week proceeding that ended with a 45-count guilty verdict.
Judge John Cleland's 27-page order said lawyers for the former Penn State assistant football coach conceded that their post-trial review turned up no material that would have changed their trial strategy.
"I do not think it can be said that either of the defendant's trial counsel failed to test the prosecution's case in a meaningful manner," Cleland wrote. "The defendant's attorneys subjected the commonwealth's witnesses to meaningful and effective cross-examination, presented evidence for the defense and presented both a comprehensive opening statement and a clearly developed closing argument."
He also rejected post-sentencing motions regarding jury instructions, hearsay testimony and a comment by the prosecution during closing arguments that referred to the fact that Sandusky, who did not testify at trial, gave media interviews after he was arrested in November 2011.
Cleland said the prosecution's closing was not presented in a way that "was either calculated to, or did, create in the jurors a fixed bias toward the defendant."
Sandusky also argued that charges should have been thrown out because they were not sufficiently specific, but Cleland said the lack of specific dates did not prevent Sandusky from pursuing an alibi defense.
"The defendant has simply argued the offenses did not happen," Cleland said.
Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence for sexual abuse of 10 boys, including violent attacks on the children inside Penn State athletics facilities.
Sandusky defense lawyer Norris Gelman said Wednesday that while he had not read the decision, Cleland's ruling means an appeal will be filed to the mid-level Superior Court within the next 30 days.
The state attorney general's office, which prosecuted Sandusky, offered no immediate comment.
Also Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously approved a bill that aims to keep Penn State's $60 million fine to the NCAA over the Sandusky scandal within the state.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Jake Corman, a Republican whose district includes State College, would require such fines of at least $10 million to be deposited into a state-administered account, and be spent on Pennsylvania programs that address childhood sexual abuse.
"It makes sense that it should stay here to benefit organizations and the children of the commonwealth," said Corman, who also recently filed a lawsuit over the fine, an action currently pending in Commonwealth Court. He said the money "could do an extraordinary amount of good right here in Pennsylvania."
Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, said the Legislature needed to act quickly.
"The victims were from Pennsylvania, the abuse was perpetrated in Pennsylvania, and the crimes were investigated and prosecuted by Pennsylvania authorities — not authorities from other states, the federal government or the NCAA," Schwank said.
In response, the NCAA issued a statement saying it was monitoring the legislation, "including examining whether, if enacted, the proposed legislation would violate both the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions."
In had previously said 25 percent of the annual grants would be reserved for Pennsylvania organizations.
Penn State agreed to the fine last summer as part of a deal that averted a potential shutdown of its football program by college sports' governing body. The university has already made the first of five $12 million payments.
Gov. Tom Corbett has filed a federal anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA over the sanctions.