No topic is out of bounds.
Thus reads the subheading of The Sideline Post, a new platform created by rising sophomore Kayla Padilla of Penn women’s basketball. Padilla created the site in April 2020 and has already published four articles.
Padilla, 2019-2020 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and a leading scorer for the Red and Blue, is an avid follower of Derek Jeter’s The Players’ Tribune, a media company where athletes publish original articles and content.
“I’ve been following [The Players’ Tribune] for a while, especially since it’s the platform [where] Kobe [Bryant] announced he was retiring,” Padilla said. “I just thought it was super interesting that that platform was able to capture the backgrounds of a lot of professional athletes that you wouldn’t really know much more [about] besides their stats or how they did in a game.”
When he first started The Players’ Tribune, Jeter wrote an article outlining his plan for the site.
“So I’m in the process of building a place where athletes have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel. We want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter. [...] My goal is for the site to ultimately transform how athletes and newsmakers share information, bringing fans closer than ever to the games they love,” Jeter wrote.
The Sideline Post is modeled after The Players’ Tribune.
“I was always wondering why there wasn’t a platform for college athletes to do the same thing,” Padilla said.
Padilla wanted to create a platform for college athletes to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at their careers and lives. The Sideline Post currently has a staff of almost 10 people, divided into player outreach, social media, and writing teams. Padilla hopes that she will be able to grow her staff, which already includes athletes from Penn and other universities.
Padilla was able to publish the first story on the site through a connection of a friend at Penn.
“Right now, [we’ve been receiving] all the featured stories through [the] connections that we’ve made in our personal lives,” Padilla said. “As we’re going, we hope that eventually people will be wanting to reach out to us instead of us reaching out to them to write the stories, but we recognize that as we’re growing, we’re going to have to seek out the athletes first.”
Among the articles published on The Sideline Post is one entitled “The Marathon Continues” by graduated Penn men’s basketball senior Devon Goodman.
Goodman’s junior season was his breakout year, as he was thrust into a more important scoring role while teammate Ryan Betley recovered from an injury. That season, Goodman averaged 13.9 points per game, a drastic change from his 4.3 and 3.8 point averages his freshman and sophomore year, respectively. Goodman started in all 27 games this past season, and was averaging 13.6 points per game, second only to fellow senior AJ Brodeur. He finished 998 career points.
In “The Marathon Continues,” Goodman writes about his success, but he also recounts his reaction to the cancellation of the Ivy League Tournament ー the end to his final season with the Red and Blue. The Quakers had just clinched a fourth-seed spot in the Tournament, overcoming Cornell and Columbia in their last Ivy Weekend of the season.
For Padilla, The Sideline Post presents an opportunity for athletes to write about their sport from a more personal perspective. In “The Marathon Continues,” Goodman reveals in his own words how he has coped with the abrupt end to his final season.
“I think just the whole first-time experience of the players actually writing themselves makes [The Sideline Post] way more authentic than someone just reporting about another person,” Padilla said. “You kind of get to capture their spirit and their personality in the article. I think that [aspect] of writing it themselves makes it so much more genuine.”
Padilla believes that The Sideline Post can be a unique space for athletes because it will allow them to connect on one common platform, rather than only in their respective schools’ editorial sections. She hopes that The Sideline Post will also give DII or DIII athletes ー those that don’t generally receive attention from big media outlets ー to share their writing with people outside of their school community.
As for the future of The Sideline Post, Padilla wants to feature content from a more diverse range of athletes. With articles from athletes at four different schools already up, she is heading in the right direction.