The Associated Press Sports Editors winter meetings and contest judging got off to an early start this year because of a limited number of judges (70) and a lot of work to do.

APSE first vice-president Garry Howard passed out contest assignments Saturday evening in Las Vegas. After a cocktail reception, judges could begin their work. Judging continues Sunday-Wednesday.

Howard gave the judges their assignments at the end of a two-hour executive committee meeting that covered a multitude of important issues affecting APSE’s future. Among the key issues:

■ There is a proposal from Tim Franklin, director of the Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University, on the table for IU to become affiliated with APSE and offer its support and resources as part of a partnership. The executive committee members met with Franklin Sunday afternoon.

■ Student membership was approved for APSE.

■ The future of the winter meetings and contest judging and its current form was a big topic of discussion. There was discussion about not meeting in the winter and doing judging in a different way. Then more focus and resources could be shifted to the annual convention to make it more of a training opportunity.

Those issues will be discussed in more detail over the next four days and members will be updated at the closing meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The minutes of the opening meeting with more detail can found by clicking here.

Contest results will be posted online as they become available. Look for the first results Monday.