Sean Fitzgerald

News Intern

Sean Fitzgerald is a senior journalism major at Kent State University. Sean has been with Black Squirrel Radio, Kent State's student-run radio station since the spring of 2018 as a sports show host and co-host, a web article contributor and now serves as the sports department director for the station. Sean hopes to pursue a career in sports journalism once he finishes school. 

Ways to Connect

Erik Drost / Wikimedia Commons

The Cleveland Browns will try to re-group on their home field Thursday, as they host the Bengals less than a week after an embarrassing season-opening loss in Baltimore. And they'll have 6,000 fans in the stands cheering for a win. WKSU’s sports commentator Terry Pluto said the team has some work to do. 

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield

The Cleveland Browns begin the NFL season Sunday. The team has had little time to get adjusted under new coach Kevin Stefanski because of the pandemic. WKSU’s sports commentator Terry Pluto said the Browns face a tough opening game against the defending AFC North Champion Baltimore Ravens on the road.

A photo of the Cleveland Indians pregame

Major League Baseball decided that no fans would be allowed to spectate at games this season, and only the teams' staff and the media would be let in. I ended up being one of the lucky few to be inside the Cleveland Indians press box so far during this COVID-19 pandemic.

a photo of Mike Clevinger

The Cleveland Indians are in the hunt for the playoffs during this pandemic-shortened season.

The team made waves earlier this week when it shipped ace pitcher Mike Clevinger to the San Diego Padres in return for a handful of younger players and promising prospects. 

WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said the trade may not be splashy, but it makes sense for the Indians. 

a photo of Progressive Field

The Cleveland Indians are halfway through the most unusual season in history. After 30 games, WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said the Tribe is in contention, but what’s been happening off the field has gotten the most attention during this pandemic-shortened 60-game season. 

Photo of Goodyear's IntelliGrip concept tire

The third day of the Democratic National Convention for Ohio Democrats has been partially fueled by a tweet from President Trump calling for a boycott of Goodyear Tires over the Ohio-based company's ban on employees wearing political attire, which includes MAGA hats. 

Ohio Democrats fired back calling the president's actions "despicable." 

Several state leaders from the Democratic party slammed Trump's tweet urging people to boycott the Akron-based company.

A photo of the University of Akron.

A long-time professor at the University of Akron is leading an effort to assess the campus for its diversity and inclusivity.  English professor Sheldon Wrice is co-chairing a 22-member working group. Wrice has been at Akron for 28 years and says he has seen progress, but there is room for growth when it comes to equality and inclusivity.  Wrice says the group will look at curriculum, faculty and staff development and recruiting and retaining both faculty and students of color. 

tombstone of Ray Chapman

It was 100 years ago this week that a tragic moment in baseball history centered on Cleveland. Tribe shortstop Ray Chapman was struck and killed by a pitch. He’s the only player in major league history to die while playing the sport.

WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says Chapman's legacy carries on in Cleveland to this day. 

A photo of the University of Akron.

The University of Akron’s Board of Trustees passed a budget Wednesday that includes 178 layoffs; 96 of the layoffs are union faculty.


Kent State, Akron and the rest of the Mid-American Conference won’t be playing sports this fall. The MAC became the first major conference to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Big Ten conference officially scrapped its season on Tuesday. 

WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says the decision is an opportunity for the MAC to take a step back and address schools' huge football program deficits. 

Picture of Akron Zips Football game.

For months, college football adminstrators and universities expressed cautious optimism on their ability to play safely in the coranaviris pandemic.

However, two conferences have decided that they won't be playing this fall. On Saturday, the Mid American Conference announced it would postpone the fall sports season until spring 2021. This followed earlier news of FBS independent UConn canceling its football season last week.

A photo of Sen. Rob Portman.

An Ohio Senator says the chamber’s failure to pass a new stimulus bill to help Americans adversely impacted by the coronavirus is disappointing. Senator Rob Portman says Democrats and Republicans want similar things in the bill. “Everybody seems to be for the $1,200 rebate checks, the PPE expansion people are for that is for small businesses.” Portman says tax credits to help people and businesses are also receiving widespread support as are more resources for healthcare workers and increased testing.

Erik Drost / Wikimedia Commons

The NFL season starts September 10 when the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans.

But because of the pandemic, there are new safety protocols, limited practices and no pre-season games this year.

WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says this season could be a rough one for teams led by new coaching staffs like the Cleveland Browns.

A photo of Joe Biden.

Former Vice President Joe Biden kicked off a statewide virtual tour of Ohio Tuesday with a roundtable discussion in Kent. The goal is to promote Biden’s “Made in America” plan and presidential campaign promise: a commitment to fight for American workers and to create more than five million new jobs in areas such as manufacturing.  Kent City Councilwoman Gwen Rosenberg, who’s a local businesswoman, participated in the discussion.

Image By and Shared from The Cleveland Browns

This season, the Browns have joined an elite group of five NFL teams. These teams are among a few in the league that now have women in key positions on the coaching staff. 

For the Browns, it's Callie Brownson, hired by new head coach Kevin Stefanski to be the chief of staff. 

The 30-year old Brownson grew up in Virginia and blazed a trail to her current position.

A photo of Sherrod Brown at the Press Club

A new stimulus bill in the Senate may benefit a group that missed out on stimulus checks in March.  College students did not necessarily benefit from the CARES Act. A high number of students are still claimed as dependents and were therefore unable to qualify for the checks. Others qualified but were still claimed anyway and did not receive payment. Sen.

Sean Fitzgerald / WKSU

Major League Baseball’s pandemic-shortened season is just getting started, but if television ratings are any indication, sports-starved fans are hungry for major league sports.

According to WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto, without fans in the stands at Progressive Field, TV viewership is key this year for the Cleveland Indians.

A photo of the University of Akron.

The University of Akron is facing an August 3 deadline for contract negotiations with the professor’s union.  If the vote fails, the deal goes to arbitration for a final ruling.  The two sides are at odds after more than 170 staff were laid off, including nearly 100 union workers.  We spoke with the head of both sides: university president Gary Miller and union president Pam Schulze. 

Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons

After a four-month delay because of the pandemic, the Cleveland Indians begin their shortened season Friday. They’ll play 60 games between now and the end of September. WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said this shortened season comes with a lot of challenges.

a photo of Akron Art Museum

The Akron Art Museum reopens to members Thursday, July 16 and the general public a week later.

Interim Director Jon Fiume says they plan to provide visitors with a contactless experience. Visitors will have to register for timed entry to limit crowds, and everyone must wear a mask. 

“We are of course increasing our cleaning and sanitizing procedures and processes. We also have signage throughout the museum that will guide visitors along a path that helps to ensure social distancing.”

Progressive Field

Now that the NFL’s Washington Redskins have dropped their nickname, the spotlight has moved to other pro sports teams to make changes amid a nationwide movement calling for racial justice.

But don't expect the Cleveland Indians to act as fast. Just last year, the team finally abandoned the Chief Wahoo logo. Last week, WKSU's sports commentator Terry Pluto suggested a new name might come next season. Now he says it likely won't be until 2022. 

a photo of the exterior of Akronym Brewing

Craft beer has been a growing part of Ohio’s economy, but the pandemic struck bars and restaurants hard.

Some of Akron’s largest craft brewers have weathered the situation well, and how they’ve done it may be a model for others. 

Akronym Brewery in Akron found a way to expand its services during the pandemic. General Manager Joey Greising said Akronym started offering food on its menu and added three more employees because of increased business.

a photo of a baseball with the Indians name and logo

The Cleveland Indians will likely have a new nickname in 2021. The team late last week issued a statement that it will discuss the best path forward in response to recent social unrest. They've been the Indians since 1915. 

WKSU’s sports commentator Terry Pluto says that while he personally doesn't have a problem with the Indians name, current social unrest prompts a change. 

a photo of Terry Francona

Major League Baseball players begin reporting for spring training Wednesday, with a shortened 60-game season beginning later this month. It caps months of contentious negotiations between players and owners to start the season amid the pandemic. The MLB used its right to implement a season where the players receive 100 percent of their salary for each game played. 

On Monday, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona addressed the media, and WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said he had some tough words about the state of the league.

photo of Akron Water Reclamation plant

Help is being made available for Akron water and sewer customers struggling to pay utility bills due to economic hardship from the effects of COVID-19.