-Tiffany Babb, Contributing Writer
Students at Mississippi College will now have the opportunity to support the school and prepare for a career in sports media in the form of a new extracurricular activity known as the Sports Media Team. Students involved in the team will have the opportunity to attend and perform media functions for MC athletics both on, and in some cases, off, campus. The team currently has a total of twenty members. Even though there are no more positions available on the team at this time, there will be future interest meetings when more students will be invited to join. The group is currently meeting on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. in Aven Hall. They sit in with the Sports Media Practicum class because the content relates to both groups.
Members of this team put in more work than one might think. At many of the athletic events they arrive two hours early and do not leave until long after the game has ended and the fans have left the stadium. Reid Vance, an instructor in the communication department, is in charge of the team. “It’s a full day’s work,” said Vance. During the games, each person has a specific task for which he or she is responsible.
Students do have some choice in the matters concerning which jobs they would like to work in. Earlier in the semester, each student was given the opportunity to state what he or she would like to do on the team. Students are trained extensively in one particular area so they can excel in that particular aspect of sports media. Vance said, “Each student concentrates on one job while they are learning until they get comfortable. Then, if needed they can be moved to different jobs.”
During the games, four students are each assigned to a camera, and an additional student is left in charge of the video board. Hidden in the dome, there are three more students and each one is responsible for graphics, controlling camera displays, and instant replays. The team is also responsible for streaming online when ESPN is not streaming. The on-field camera and crew also conduct post-game interviews. The team handles all of the social media associated with the team such as the press box and tweeting. Members of the team who are assigned to cover the away games are in charge of operating the cameras, conducting interviews, and aiding in radio broadcast much like they would do at home games.
The benefits of this team are far-reaching. Students gain real-world experience with the sports industry that they would not have had otherwise. Vance said, “The skills they are learning are transferrable and can be used for future resumes.”
Many students are already reaping the benefits of this great program even though there is currently no credit or pay promised to the students who are involved. Vance said, “ We are working toward in the future getting these students credit or a small amount of pay.” Andy O’Brien, a sports communication major, said, “It is a great way to get involved in Choctaw athletics. I highly recommend it to anyone, if they are preparing for a career in sports or are simply just a curious fan who is wants to know what takes place behind the scenes.”