Austin Peay Turns CSVS Into An Assignment

By Carolyn Braff
inaugural College
Sports Video Summit (CSVS) will be held June 9-10 in Atlanta, and academic and athletic programs
across the country are taking advantage of the unique opportunity CSVS offers
to learn from the experts in all aspects of college sports video production.
For students at Austin Peay State University in Clarkesville,
Tenn., however, CSVS will be more
than a series of seminars — it will be a two-day assignment. Caroline Downes,
instructor of sports broadcasting at Austin Peay, is bringing eight students
from her sport broadcasting-focused communications course to CSVS, where they
will be charged with a series of assignments designed to improve the quality of
their own sports productions.
eight students are our upper-level sports production students,” Downes
explains. “These students have all participated significantly in our sports
broadcasting productions.”
The eight juniors
and seniors who will attend CSVS are members of a class entitled “Special
Topics in Communication,” which is focused on sports broadcasting.
“They had
to get special permission to take the class, so I knew that they had spent time
in this area instead of just walking in and saying that sounds fun,” Downes
explains. “They are our cream-of-the-crop group and they’ve all been working in
the program for at least three years.”
Many of the
students Downes sees at Austin Peay believe that sports broadcasting consists
of little more than the play-by-play announcers whose voices they hear, and the
SportsCenter anchors whose faces they
see. By bringing the students to CSVS, Downes hopes, they will learn more about
the behind-the-scenes aspects of sports production and understand that even if
they are not a play-by-play announcer, there is a job in the sports industry
for them.
“This event
is going to solidify in their minds that sports production is a huge industry
and that there is a ton of potential for them once they graduate college,”
Downes explains. “We’re also hoping that they will take away knowledge from
industry professionals that we haven’t had a chance to expose them to. We are
in a very small town, just 100,000, so we don’t have a huge sports industry
other than the university. I’m hoping that this will give them access to talk
to people who work in the industry.”
Downes has
relationships with the Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans, both of which she
says have been very accommodating, but even Nashville is not Houston or Chicago. Many of
the opportunities available to students in larger cities are not available to
Austin Peay students simply because of geography, and Downes is hoping CSVS
will help overcome some of that disadvantage.
“We want
them to learn, but we also want them to be able to take that knowledge back and
put it into our program,” Downes explains. “One of the things we’re requiring
them to do is to choose some aspect from one of the seminars they go to at CSVS
and implement it in our production in some way. I’m hoping that they will learn
something, and they’ll be able to use that information and turn it into
something positive that they can take ownership of.”
students will also attend the Atlanta Braves baseball game the night before
CSVS, where they will be required to analyze the video board production during
the game.
“I’m really
excited to bring the students to more of a professional conference, as opposed
to the educational-based conferences they usually get to attend,” Downes says.
“I think this is going to be a really good professional education situation for
Downes and
her students are already familiar with the Sports Video Group, as she relies on
the SVG newsletter and Website to serve as reference materials during her
“There are
not a lot of textbooks on sports broadcasting — and there probably shouldn’t
be, because it’s such a transitional field,” Downes says. “I really use SVG
stuff as almost a textbook in the class, so I’m very excited to give the
students the opportunity to experience the things that SVG writes about.”
Austin Peay
has a Student Success program that awards a certain dollar amount to each
department to put towards events in that program’s related field. Coupled with
SVG’s Sponsor Rewards Program, those Student Success dollars were enough to
cover the costs of attending the conference — and staying in the conference
hotel — for eight students and two professors.
The entire college sports video
community can still take advantage of the Sponsor Rewards Program, which offers
a free hotel room-night and all meals with each $75 event registration. For
more information and to register, visit

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