There's a team from Lawrence going to the Final Four after all -- and its members can admit that they're being paid.
The Jayhawks aren't going, but Coach's Edge, a sports media company specializing in computer-generated play-by-play animations used on CBS and other media outlets, is making its third trip to the NCAA men's Final Four this weekend. It also will be at the women's final four in Kansas City.
``Between the women's Final Four here and the men's Final Four down in San Antonio, it's been kind of hectic,'' said Tom Reed, chief executive officer of the Lawrence-based firm. His teams are leaving for the tournament sites today.
Coach's Edge recently signed a new three-year contract with CBS Sports to provide animations and analysis for the network's coverage of NCAA basketball. CBS and Coach's Edge pioneered the use of animations for sports during the 1995-96 basketball season.
``The NCAA tournament is the crown jewel of CBS Sports,'' Reed said. ``I think they see a lot of value in the support we provide.''
Reed said his teams would be in the production truck right alongside CBS producers.
``We're thrilled with the relationship,'' he said.
Before each game, Reed said, teams of Coach's Edge technicians and basketball coaches put together animations depicting plays likely to be run during the game. Those are used in pre-game shows and during breaks in the action to help viewers understand the game.
Coach's Edge personnel also design animations on the spot for use during half-time and time-out breaks.
The animations also are available on several Internet sites, including the Coach's Edge site (www.coachsedge.com), CBS Sportsline (www.cbs.sports-line.com) and USAToday (www.usatoday.com).
-- Richard Brack's phone message number is 832-7194. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.