Ball State To Produce MAC Football Highlights

Ball State University’s Sports Link has entered into an exclusive partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) to produce a series of football highlights and feature packages. The student-operated program is already in production for material that will be available to all MAC schools as well as to local and regional broadcasters and cable networks.

“Sports Link is immersive learning, which is one of the cornerstones of our university,” explains Chris Taylor, Instructor of telecommunications for sports media at Ball State. It is the only one of its kind in the country, according to Taylor, who runs the program: “No one is doing immersive learning for sports-media production.” Last year, the program’s first full year, students produced approximately 200 packages and 18 live events. A feature story on a Ball State basketball player garnered an Emmy award.

Production of the features began last week at the conference media day, where 41 interviews were shot in a single day. He calls the partnership with MAC a “validation of what we are doing. It puts credibility behind the idea of student production.”

The MAC packages will “not necessarily be game highlights,” he says. We’ll do “feature-driven stories from players and coaches in the league.” Produced packages as well as raw and edited sound bites will be available to all MAC schools and to local media outlets. Sports Link will also work with the schools and media to acquire B-roll and additional footage.

The students’ efforts extend beyond video. “We work on multiple platforms,” Taylor points out. “We do audio production, Web production, iPhone, and iPad.” He adds that “the thing that is really unique is the live television productions, where we use [the university’s] 40-ft. HD production truck to produce a two- or three-hour sporting event.”

Ball State created the Sports Link program in 2008. For the fall semester, he expects to have “up to 18 students who are enrolled for academic credit for the semester or the year. They’ll be earning from three to 12 credit hours.”

Taylor stresses that all produced and live events are completely student-run. Sports Link, he says, “is hands-on, real-life experience.”

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