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Ben Parris is the 2024 Ron Balicki Scholarship Recipient

Ben Parris Pictures

NORMAN, Okla. - The GCAA announced today that Ben Parris is the recipient of the 2024 Ron Balicki Scholarship. The Sports Journalism sophomore minoring in Political Science at Arizona State University will receive a $5,000 grant.

“Being honored with the Ron Balicki Scholarship means so much because it represents an investment in my future as I try to pursue a career in golf media and communications,” the Denver, Colo., native said. “I’m so lucky to have access to incredible opportunities while attending the Cronkite School at Arizona State and with my internship at the USGA and it’s exciting to have that recognized.”

A student with a 4.0 cumulative GPA who has made the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication Dean's List all three of his semesters so far, Parris has been deeply involved in golf and sports media. The 19-year-old’s resume includes positions with the USGA, Arizona State Athletics, Walter Cronkite Sports Network, and more. 

As a Digital Media Intern for the United States Golf Association (USGA) last summer, Parris was on site for the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club, U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links, U.S. Girls Junior Championship at United States Air Force Academy Eisenhower Golf Club, and U.S. Amateur Golf Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club creating highlight packs and designing motion graphics for on-course videoboards. He also worked remotely during additional USGA championships.

“Growing up, like most golfers, every shot I would hit while practicing or during a round was to win the Masters,” said Parris. "I always wanted to play college and professional golf, but ultimately that wasn’t an opportunity for me.”

Parris has worn multiple hats thus far with Arizona State Athletics. He assists 2022 Ron Balicki Scholarship recipient Alex Gelman and well-known Sr. Associate AD for Media Relations Doug Tammaro with social media and communications for Sun Devil Men’s Golf. He also serves as a Play-By-Play Voice, Analyst, and Sideline Reporter for Pac-12 Network/Arizona State Athletics streams, and an In-Arena/In-Game Host at select ASU Athletics events.  

Parris is also the Web Director for Blaze Radio, the Arizona State University student radio station, and an Anchor, Reporter, and Studio Host for Cronkite Sports Live, the weekly “Sportscenter-style” show for Walter Cronkite Sports Network. 

“I was involved with First Tee in Denver and it really showed me how golf could have a larger role in my life even if I wasn’t playing,” Parris continued. “Golf has provided me with so many lessons in character and judgment and has been a major factor in shaping the person I am. It has become my goal to have a career in golf and give back to the game in the same way, and luckily enough I’m able to do that through media and journalism which have allowed me to be a part of some really cool moments.”

About the Ron Balicki Scholarship

The Ron Balicki Scholarship for aspiring golf journalists is dedicated to the memory of Ron Balicki for his lifelong commitment to covering the game of golf.

Few individuals have done more to bring exposure to college golf than Balicki. Since practically inventing the college golf beat while at Golfweek in 1983, Balicki became part of the fabric of the college and amateur game. He covered his first golf tournament in 1980 while with the Florida Daily News. He won first-place and third-place in Golf Writers Association of America writing contests and won four first-place and numerous honorable mention awards with the International Network of Golf. Balicki also won three first-place awards from the Texas Golf Writers Association. He was a winner of the Golf Writers Association of America Jimmy D’Angelo Award and the Northwest Florida Sports Association Al Byrne Award, both of which are presented to a person for contributions, devotion, and service to the organization and the community.

A 2010 inductee into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame, Balicki covered every NCAA Championship dating back to 1985 and every GCAA National Convention since its inception until 2013, when the cancer that claimed his life prevented him from traveling. Dubbed "Wrong Ron" for his propensity to incorrectly pick the winner of the NCAA Championships and playfully teased for his uncanny ability to bring the rain with him to events he covered, Balicki was truly fond of the sport and people he covered and was loved back by the players, coaches, and everyone involved with college golf. Truly one of the kindest men one could ever meet, Ron is greatly missed.

The first Ron Balicki Scholarship was awarded for the Spring 2018 semester with a $2,500 grant awarded to Luke Hendry from the University of Texas. A $5,000 grant ($2,500 per semester) has been awarded since the 2018-19 academic year.

Past winners of the Ron Balicki Scholarship include Carson Racich (Florida Gulf Coast University), Alex Gelman (Arizona State University), Cade Tjomsland (Palm Beach Atlantic University), Brayden Conover (University of Oklahoma), Tracy Peyton (Palm Beach Atlantic University), and Hendry.

Any college/university student at the undergraduate or graduate level or high school journalist may apply for consideration. A recipient is only eligible to receive the Ron Balicki scholarship once during their college career.