The Kansas University men's basketball team might not yet be the No. 1 team in the country.
But the online site that covers them - KUsports.com - has been named the country's No. 1 sports Web site.
KUsports.com, the World Company's site dedicated to Jayhawk athletics, on Friday received an "Edgie" award from the Newspaper Association of America's New Media Federation.
KUsports.com won a "Digital Edge Award" for best sports site affiliated with a newspaper with a circulation less than 75,000.
The Edgies were presented during a luncheon ceremony at Connections 2003, NAA's annual digital-media conference in Orlando, Fla.
"This year's recipients carry on a long tradition of innovation and provide a glimpse of the true power of online," said Ian Murdock, president of NAA's New Media Federation, and digital media director of Hearst Newspapers, New York City.
"... For those that argue that the Web is not a medium unto itself, viewing samples from this year's finalists and winners will undoubtedly convince them otherwise," Murdock said.
KUsports.com underwent an overhaul, beginning in August.
It received a new look and additional features from World Online to supplement daily content from the Lawrence Journal-World and 6News.
Here's what the judges said:
"A treasure for fans of the University of Kansas' athletics programs, KUsports.com embodies all of the components of a site produced by a major-market newspaper: layers of audio and video highlights, deep historical information, customized editions for e-mail and handheld devices, and invitations for visitors to pose questions to the basketball editor and interact with one another."
Dan Simons, director of New Ventures for the World Company, said he was proud of the national award.
"It shows we have achieved what we wanted to accomplish, and that was to become an absolute, excellent sports site for the Jayhawks," Simons said. "In my mind, there is no other place, bar none, than KUsports.com, for quality Jayhawks coverage. "
Simons said his goal is to continue to make KUsports.com better.
"It's always an evolving product," he said.
Rob Curley, World Online general manager, was in Orlando to accept the award.
"Building a world class Web site for the Jayhawks isn't so hard when you have great reporters and photographers, excellent television folks at Channel 6 and some of the smartest Internet people I've ever been privileged to work with," Curley said.
"Chances are, when you throw all those ingredients into a bowl with a little bit of crimson and blue, you're bound to get something pretty tasty," he said.
"Even considering that, it's still hard to believe we actually won this. It is such an honor," Curley said. "The only appropriate response is to say that I'm going to Disney World."
In 2001, the NAA named Curley the newspaper industry's Internet Pioneer of the Year.
The World Company was the only media company in the country to have finalists in all four newspaper online site categories of the 2003 "Edgies."
"Just to be nominated is an honor. We felt very proud just to be finalists in those other categories," Simons said.
World Online also was an Edgie finalist for:
-- Most Innovative Use of Digital Media: News Event Coverage, for the Journal-World's Kansas University news section.
-- Most Innovative Use of Digital Media: Features/Enterprise, for "Parched Prairie," senior editor Bill Snead's series on the effects of drought in Kansas.
-- Best Advertising Program: KU Bookstore's sponsorship of KUsports.com.
Ralph Gage, general manager of The World Company, said he was happy for Curley and his staff.
"It is an indication that the company's commitment to the community is in good hands with a top-quality staff working on our Internet products, alongside dedicated journalists working at the Journal-World and 6News," he said. "Together they all strive every day to present a reliable and trusted information source for all members of the community we serve."