Style Manual

For ASoB authors


Our general style reference is The Chicago Manual of Style. These are guidelines to help us be consistent, and you won't be flogged or banned or anything for breaking them. They are just to help you out, but if you make me edit 50 words in your piece, I'll probably just ask you to make the changes. :-)

There are other manuals of style that will disagree with this one, but we should probably standardize on one or the other. I've adapted this from the now-defunct Maple Street Press style guidelines, and they are about as good as any I've seen.

  • Always use serial comma.

  • No superscript on ordinals.

  • Names of all movies, magazines, and books should be in italic font. TV series names are in italic, individual episode titles are in quotes.

  • URLs (web addresses) and email addresses are in italic. In general, try not to use web addresses in your text unless it is absolutely necessary to make something clear to the reader. Hyperlink it instead for most uses.

  • References to websites as their own entity (e.g. a1so italic.

  • No apostrophes with dates: 1980s, not 1980's. '80s does have a leading apostrophe (Note: I screw this up all the time.)

  • Spell out months in all cases.

  • Acronyms should not be spelled out at first mention unless they are particularly obscure, as in "Slugging Percentage (SLG)." Acronyms for well-known school names (OSU, ND, MSU, USC, etc.) generally shouldn't be spelled out. Parenthetical acronyms are NEVER inserted after school names, e.g. "Ohio State (OSU)."

    If you use a common acronym to refer to a different school you must spell it out at first writing, and make sure the context is clear in every case where you use the acronym. For example, using USC to refer to South Carolina requires that you have spelled it out already earlier in the text. Same for MSU when referring to Mississippi St. University rather than Michigan St. University.

  • NCAA conference names, leagues like baseball's AL and NL should be without periods for abbreviations. Same for NBA, CBA, NFL, etc.

  • In a sentence do not use abbreviations of positions, for example "Alex Poythress returns at power forward for the Wildcats," not "Alex Poythress returns at PF for the Wildcats."

  • Try to write fractions as tenths of a game, i.e. "2.5" versus 2 1/2. I know that when using Word or some other programs for off-line use, it will automatically give you the right HTML entity, but let's just try to standardize on this.

  • An s should be added after the apostrophe for names ending in the letter s when it would be sounded in speech. Jones's, but not Hamels'. An s should always be added after the apostrophe in singular names ending in x or z: Martinez's. Exception is plural names ending in x, i.e. Red Sox' not Red Sox's

  • Do not use an apostrophe at the end of a team's nickname wheIJuI sing the nickname to identify the team's personnel, except when the precedes the team nickname: "Wildcats quarterback Maxwell Smith," not "Wildcats' quarterback Maxwell Smith." "The Wildcats' Maxwell Smith" is acceptable, however.

  • Following a colon, the first word is capitalized if it begins what by itself is a grammatically complete sentence. If the phrase following the colon is not a full sentence the first word is not capitalized unless it is a proper noun.

  • Titles are not capitalized unless they are used as part of a person's name (John Calipari is the head coach of the Wildcats. Head Coach John Calipari landed the nation's best recruiting class last year.

  • "captain" or "manager" are lower case even when used as part of a name. Coach is only capitalized when referring to the Head Coach of a team, i.e. Coach John Calipari. Specialized coaches such as "offensive line coach Smith" or "special teams coach Jones" are not capitalized. The same would be true of assistant coaches, i.e. "Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua."

  • When naming an award capitalize the word Award (i.e., Cy Young Award, Most Valuable Player Award, etc.)

  • Game 1, 2, 3, etc. (only for special series like playoff, postseason WBC, etc. Otherwise, "game two" for routine series.

  • Spell out single-digit numbers. Double-digit numbers should not be spelled out . Exceptions: Single-digit numbers in sentences with double-digit numbers in a list, or referring to the same subject, should be written as a number and not spelled out: "Our team's score totals in the last three games were 6, 14, and 28."; "He won nine games and had 15 saves and 7 blown saves." Age ranges referring to a span of time should be written out: "He was in his twenties during the '90s."

  • Use an en-dash instead of a hyphen for scores, records, and number ranges. They lost 5—6, not 5-6. Use hyphens in player or team statistics. He completed 18-29 passes. If you are usin the ASoB editor, use two serial dashes "--" as an en-dash.

  • There is no need to replace hyphens with en-dashes in tables.

  • For a span of years, the 2005-07 format is acceptable.

  • Player height should be written out, or can be numbers with prime marks. Hyphenated format, such as 5-10, should be change to 5'10" or written out.

  • Figure and Table titles should be initial-capped on each word. Figure and Table captions should be set sentence style.

  • Avoid use of "I", "me", etc. except when absolutely necessary.

  • Spell things out in quotes: "100 percent" not "100%"; "He threw two and a third innings"; "He throws 91 miles per hour" (Note: I violate this rule all the time).

  • When calling out specific sports within a school athletic program, the name of the sport should generally not be capitalized, i.e. "Kentucky football, not "Kentucky Football," or Kentucky women's basketball, not "Kentucky Women's Basketball."


  • okay, not OK

  • offseason, preseason midseason postseason:

    off-season(adj.); offseason(n.)

  • pregame postgame:

    pre-game (adj.), pregame (n.)

  • rulebook

  • press box

  • website (lower case, one word). Never Website, web site, or Web site.

  • Stadium capped when referring to an official name (e.g. New Yankee Stadium), otherwise lower case

  • pregame postgame

  • match-up (I violate this one all the time)

  • lbs. or lb. should only substitute for the term "pound(s)" if it is used in context of reporting a players height and weight as a statistic.

  • Hall of Fame, Hall of Famer. Capitalized, no hyphens.

  • leaderboard

  • a.m., p.m. *(Note - AM, PM is also acceptable)

  • homestand

  • Always use numeral and symbol for percentages, 1% not one percent.

  • skill set

  • ticket holder, suite holder, etc.

  • Cities and States:

    KC, NY, and Washington DC without periods

    L.A. with periods

  • left-handed, right-handed

  • lefthander, righthander

  • lineup

  • free agent. No hyphen in any cases

  • home-field advantage

  • backup


  • Down-and-distance:

  • first-and-lO, second-and-3, third-and-15, fourth-and-4

  • first down (n.), first-down (adj.)

  • SEC Championship Game

  • Super Bowl, Super Bowl champions, NFL champions

  • NFL Championship Game (pre-Super Bowl)

  • kickoff, kicked off

  • goal line, end line, end zone, midfield

  • goal-line stand

  • goalpost

  • PAT, extra point

  • play calling (n.), play-calling (adj.), play caller (n.)

  • play-action pass

  • check off, check down

  • no huddle, no-huddle offense

  • QB and DB are the only acceptable position abbreviations. All others should be written out.

  • ball carrier (n.)

  • placekicker (n.), placekicking (y.)

  • playmaker (n.)

  • handoff (n.)

  • running back, fullback, halfback

  • defensive back,cornerback, safety, free safety, strong safety, defensive backfield

  • linebacker, defensive lineman

  • non-conference

  • NFL Draft

  • Bowl Championship Series is upper case and BCS is capped without periods

  • All-Big Ten

  • red shirt, red-shirt freshman (I blow this one all the time, too)

  • Pac-10, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC/Southeastern Conference, Conference USA/C. USA, Mid-American Conference/MAC, Mountain West Conference

  • Associated Press Top 25 poll/AP Top 25 poll, USA Today Top 25 coaches' poll/Coaches' Poll, Harris Poll, computer rankings, BCS rankings

  • There is no such thing as an NCAA football champion or championship. The NCAA does not sponsor the BCS, and does not crown a champion in football. Refer to the BCS champion in past years, and from now on, the College Football Playoff champion.


  • three-point (spell out 3). 3-point is also acceptable, i.e. "3-point shot" It is preferable to use the spelled-out version, but that can sometimes become very tedious.

  • NBA Draft

  • NCAA Tournament, NCAA Tournament championship, NCAA Tournament champion

  • SEC Tournament, SEC Tournament champion, SEC Tournament championship.

  • Technically, there is no such thing as an NCAA championship as such. The correct reference is "NCAA Tournament championship." "NCAA championship" is a suitable substitute for an NCAA Tournament championship as long as the context is clear.

    Note that in no case is championship capitalized. The proper name of the NCAA Tournament is "NCAA Division (I/II/III) Men's Basketball Championship, but NCAA Tournament is a good substitute. Unless you are using the proper name of the event, don't capitalize champion or championship. Same for women's basketball and all other collegiate sports.

  • "Scholarship" is not capitalized in a sentence unless it refers to the proper name of a scholarship, i.e. the Rhodes Scholarship.

  • Don't capitalize "president" unless it refers to the head of a country and immediately precedes the person's name. There are many different rules for this depending on where you are, but this is the one we will adopt. Thus, "NCAA president Mark Emmert said today ..."

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