About Me/Portfolio

An introduction to Connor Groel’s sports writing.

Welcome! This page was designed to allow me to introduce myself, as well as to provide a home base for work that I am especially proud of and that I feel best conveys my interests and writing styles. It is divided into sections and will be updated as necessary over time.

Who is Connor Groel?

I’m a 22-year-old writer, podcaster, and content creator from The Woodlands, Texas, currently pursuing a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University with a specialization in sports media. In May 2020, I graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management.

I’ve been writing on the internet since 2014, focusing mostly on sports content. My work is a blend of long-form creative storytelling, editorial-style issue analysis and data-driven research pieces. I enjoy thinking about the philosophy of sports, how to optimize sports from a structural perspective, and what sports might look like in the future.

One of my goals is to create unique and innovative content that can be appreciated by broad audiences. However, I also have more niche passion projects, such as my coverage of college basketball and bracketology.

In January 2020, I published my first book, “Sports, Technology, and Madness”, a collection of my work that is available on Amazon. The book is a great way to support me, but all of the pieces can be found on my Medium page and several are featured below.

Finally, I am the host of the Slept On Sports podcast, where guests and I tell interesting, lesser-known sports stories. My writing archives are available at toplevelsports.net and my video and podcast archives are on YouTube.

Here are some select works:

Major Projects

Let’s start at the top! These projects are me at my most unique and creative and are all among my favorite things I’ve published. As a fair warning, these are all quite lengthy, which makes me feel somewhat guilty about recommending them as entry points, but if you really want to know what I’m about, pick one that sounds interesting and jump in!

Adapt or Die: Technology is Forever Altering Sports

A wide-ranging exploration of the future of the sports industry and how advancements in technology are forcing sports to either adapt to the digital age or risk losing popularity.

An Overindulgence of Madness

Set in the year 2047, sportswriter Asher Raines follows the first annual Summer Madness tournament, a supplementary tournament to March Madness that features 368 teams and takes place entirely within 24 hours.

Can LeBron James Win With the Worst Teammates in NBA 2K20?

In this NBA 2K simulation and multimedia saga, King James faces his toughest challenge yet. As the namesake of the Jamestown LeBrons, he is tasked with carrying a new franchise to an NBA title. The only problem? The rest of the roster.

Out of the Dawg House: The Story of the 2018 Cleveland Browns

A detailed look at the history of the Cleveland Browns franchise through early successes and modern futility highlighted by a winless season in 2017 and their subsequent attempt at redemption in one of the most eventful and thoroughly unpredictable seasons of all-time.

Sports Philosophy/Editorials

Whether it’s thinking about possible rule changes, why certain aspects of sports developed the way they did, or how the media can improve, here are a collection of my thoughts and takes on sports issues.

A Sense of Where We Are

My examination of how the sports media has changed over time and the types of content I’d like to both create and see more of going forward.

Should the Format of the World Chess Championship Be Changed?

Inspired by the 2018 World Chess Championship between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, where all 12 classical games were drawn, I wrote about the effects of artificial intelligence on chess and evaluated changes to the World Chess Championship to bring more life into the game.

Don’t Treat Women’s Sports Like a Separate Category

Often times, women’s sports are lumped together in discussions of media coverage and fan interest. However, doing this turns gender into a niche and presents a barrier to true equality.

A Radical Proposal to Modify the NBA Three-Pointer

The three-point shot has completely overtaken the NBA. What if, to both combat this and add a new level of strategy to the game, teams were allowed to choose where to draw the three-point line on their home court?

The Burden of Information: Why Some Sports Are More Popular than Others

For decades, football, basketball, and baseball have been the dominant professional sports in the United States. I believe their use of statistics has something to do with it.

Is it Time to Get Rid of the Conference Tournament?

One of the great things about March Madness is that every conference is able to compete. However, by forcing automatic bids to qualify through conference tournaments, the best mid-majors often miss out on the Big Dance.

Research/Data Explorations

Sometimes, all it takes is a stat or an idea to lead you down an exciting rabbit hole. Here are some of my favorite pieces that have come from late nights spent researching who knows what.

(side note: the Slept On Sports podcast also fits in here.)

Beyond the Streak: The Iron Men of Sports

They say the best ability is availability. While other streaks measure performance in one way or another, the ironman streak is unique, requiring special levels of commitment and durability. Here are the stories of the greatest ironman streaks of all-time.

What is the Maximum Number of Home Runs a Player Can Hit in a Season?

Even with MLB home run numbers higher than ever, no one has come close to Barry Bonds’ record of 73 long bombs in a single season. Just how high could that record go, and why haven’t we seen Bonds’ mark go down?

Wins Above Bubble and the At-Large Case for Stephen F. Austin

The NCAA Tournament selection committee’s use of the quadrant system and emphasis placed on quality wins puts smaller schools at a significant disadvantage, regardless of how good they actually are. Wins Above Bubble (WAB) seeks to change that.

The 1961–62 NBA MVP Race Featured Some of the Craziest Stat Lines in League History

In the 1961–62 NBA season, Wilt Chamberlain scored 50 points per game and Oscar Robertson became the first player to average a triple-double. Neither won the MVP award. Here’s a video breaking down the historic individual performances that year.

He Went 17 Straight NBA Games Without Scoring a Point

Charles Jones spent 15 seasons in the NBA, starting more than 400 games and providing valuable minutes as a rim protector and enforcer. He also had a habit of almost never shooting the ball.

Let’s Talk!

Want to collaborate, ask questions, or get in touch? Message me on Twitter or send an email to connorgroel2021@u.northwestern.edu!

Sportswriter. Medill graduate student. Host of the Slept On Sports podcast. Relentlessly curious. My book: amzn.to/398nYk6.

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