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CoBL's 12th Birthday: Our Annual Letter to our Readers

06/03/2024, 1:30am EDT
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
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Ed. Note: I typically write our “State of the Organization” letter on our anniversary — but nobody comes to the site on Sundays in June, so I waited an extra day this time around.

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Dear CoBL Readers — 

Another year has come and gone, another terrific season of hoops with its highs and its lows.

Our 12th birthday finds us in a state of change, still trying to work out the kinks in our iteration as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, though we’re excited about the future. First, though, a quick look at the 12 months that were.

In the last year, we wrote just a few stories shy of 1,200, almost the exact number we accomplished in 2022-23. We covered some of the area’s biggest stories, from the final season of Cabrini basketball and the last year of Math, Civics & Sciences to continued dominance from Archbishop Wood’s girls and Westtown’s girls and Imhotep’s boys, and far too many other successful seasons and breakthrough performances to name. 

On the events side, we ran our first-ever in-season girls’ event, a 28-team showcase at Jefferson University in December; we also ran multiple in-season boys’ events for the first time. Our preseason events were the largest they’ve ever been, with over 100 boys teams and over 55 girls’ teams last fall; we ran our first-ever girls’ college exposure camp this spring, with 100 participants from the area, and also organized a middle school girls’ event in April for the first time.

Most importantly, our staff, contributors and interns spent every day trying to cover the Philadelphia area’s high school and college basketball scene as best as we could, trying to shine a light on as many different players and programs as possible while still being sure to provide coverage of all the premier matchups and critical contests. There’s no such thing as a perfect season, but we hope that with each year that goes by, we get a little better at providing the best possible coverage that we can.

Now we turn the page to our 13th season in 2024-25, a season of change for CoBL. 

Our assistant editor for the last two years, Owen McCue, has moved on, and we wish him the best — though you’ll still be seeing his byline pop up on the website as one of our senior contributors. We’re so thankful for all Owen gave us over the last two years, helping us cover a ton of basketball both in and out of season, while providing guidance to our younger writers, organizing a number of major projects and bringing a great spirit to the organization.

At the moment, we don’t have enough funding to be able to afford to hire a full-time replacement assistant editor. I’ll be running the journalism side of the site solo, while Stephanie Garafolo has taken full control of CoBL’s events and camps. Planning is already underway for our fall camps and events, and we’ll have several in-season showcases to announce as well, while we’ll be growing our offerings in 2025.

Moving forward, we also will not be continuing our partnership with the Philadelphia Inquirer. We greatly appreciate working with them over the past season, but we’ve elected to just focus on ourselves for the future and keep our coverage contained to one place, on our website. We’d like to extend a special thank you to Inquirer editor Bella DiAmore for all her hard work on the partnership team, and an extra shoutout to former CoBL standout Jeff Neiburg, who continues to shine as the Inquirer’s college hoops beat writer. 

What that means is that CoBL will be more reliant than ever upon its freelancers this winter. We have a fantastic group of contributors, and will likely add a couple more for this season, but we want to pay them fairly for their work. That’s why we’re giving all of our contributors a raise on September 1 in advance of the 2024-25 season, something we announced earlier this year.

For CoBL to provide the same amount of coverage as last year, not counting the stories that I’m able to write, will cost the site somewhere in the neighborhood of $70,000. That money doesn’t come from nowhere — our events, advertisements and merchandise sales help somewhat, but the bulk of that money comes from our readers and from individual donors.

That’s why we launched the 2024-25 CoBL Coverage Campaign, to attempt to raise $50,000 during 2024 to pay for our coverage for the 2024-25 season. So far, we have raised only about a quarter of the money: $13,500. We are in the process of applying for grants to help supplement this total, but so far have been unsuccessful in receiving any. The amount of coverage we are able to provide this season is going to come directly from you.

If you would like to support CoBL, we are in need of help: visit our Support page to explore our individual donation options, but we are also looking for local foundations and businesses who might want to support our mission. Any leads are welcome, please let us know: cityofbasketballlove@gmail.com 

To all those who have contributed so far: thank you so much! 

We look forward to our 13th year of coverage, and, with any luck, on towards Year 15 and beyond. 

Thanks,
Josh Verlin

City of Basketball Love
Co-Founder, Editor-In-Chief


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