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.
NEW YORK (AP) — A decision on whether NHL players will head to the 2014 Sochi Olympics isn't likely this week, but a first day of discussions went well.
Talks between the NHL, the NHL players' association, and officials from the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee stretched into Thursday night as the parties worked toward getting NHL players back to the Olympics for a fifth straight time.
There are obstacles in the process, but the sides will get back together on Friday to talk some more.
"We had good discussions," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press in an email Thursday night after talks wrapped up. "We expect to continue tomorrow."
While the NHL and the players might want to participate in the Olympics again, they have to figure out if it makes sense for them to interrupt another season to make it possible.
"I don't expect any resolution or decisions this week," Daly wrote to the AP earlier Thursday.
In these negotiations, the NHL and the players' association appear to be aligned in their position.
The Sochi Games are one year away. While a final decision isn't required this week, one will have to be reached in the near future. It is believed hockey federations will need to know by May what players will be available for their teams.
The current discussions are being held between NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, IIHL President Rene Fasel and officials from the IOC.
After enduring a long lockout that produced a shortened regular season this year, the NHL is weighing whether it is worth shutting down the game for more than two weeks next season to allow its players to go to Russia for the Olympics.
The time difference will force the games to be played at off hours in North America, and the NHL would like to receive concessions from the IOC that haven't been made before.
In return for sending its players to the Sochi Olympics, the NHL is trying to acquire video, photograph and website rights for the games. The IIHF and the IOC retain those exclusive rights now.
The NHL began sending its players to the 1998 Games in Nagano, Japan, and continued through the 2010 Vancouver Games. Even though the NHL received great exposure by having its players take part in an Olympics in North America, disrupting the season does come with a cost.
The stopping of the season, the potential injury risk to players, and no tangible upside for the NHL are all factors that create doubt about whether the investment is good for the league.
One topic that isn't on the agenda during this week's meetings is NHL realignment.
The relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg before last season has created travel troubles for the Jets and their Southeast Division rivals that need to be resolved.
The league's board of governors thought it had the problem settled when a realignment plan that would change the current system from six divisions to four conferences was formed in December 2011. But the players' association rejected the plan, leaving all clubs in place for this season.
The union turned down the proposal because of travel concerns and potential unfair playoff qualifications. League and players' association representatives met in Toronto this week, and the hope is a new plan will be ready to present to the board of governors by the end of February.
This time, it is expected that the players will sign off on the plan before it goes to the board for a vote.
Neither the Olympic issue nor realignment was addressed in the new collective bargaining agreement that ended the lockout.