Topics: Immersive Learning, College of Communication Information and Media, Emerging Media

July 26, 2010

Sports Link, an Emmy award-winning immersive learning program at Ball State University, has entered an exclusive partnership with the Mid-American Conference (MAC) to provide the league with video packages during the upcoming football season.

Sixty student-produced segments will be used by the MAC on a variety of platforms. The packages also will be available to MAC universities as well as cable networks broadcasting MAC football games, among them ESPN's family of networks and Fox Sports.

Created in 2008, Sports Link allows Ball State students to produce sports-related content for multiple platforms such as radio, television, and the Web as well as a variety of mobile communications formats.

"This arrangement will allow our students to gain incredible experience as well as bring their work into millions of homes during the football season," said Chris Taylor, the telecommunications instructor overseeing Sports Link. "This project also is a clear extension of Ball State's Emerging Media Initiative, which is geared toward providing our students with experience in working with various new technologies being employed by sports broadcasters."

Sports Link students will start shooting video July 30, when the MAC hosts its 2010 Football Media Day at Ford Field in Detroit. They plan to interview MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher along with all 13 head coaches and two student-athletes from each university team.

Other guests to be interviewed include Bill Hancock, executive director of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), and ESPN Game Day college football analyst Desmond Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner.

"We're very excited to work with Ball State and provide yet another opportunity for students to get experience in production for our Web site," said Ken Mather, MAC assistant commissioner. "This opportunity will be expansive, to include nearly 60 video features of football coaches and student-athletes from across the Mid-American Conference and running throughout the regular football season of September through December."

Taylor will lead Sports Link's remote production crew and be joined by Alex Kartman, a senior from Fort Wayne; Ben Wagner, a junior from Yorktown; and Pat Boylan, a sophomore from Indianapolis. All told, 16 students are enrolled in the program for fall semester.

Sports Link already has produced some 200 video features and logged nearly 15,000 hours of sports media production in 2009-10. The program won a regional Emmy this year for a feature story on Ball State basketball player Malik Perry.