Sports broadcasting major could be part of fall catalog

Editor’s note: This story and its headline were revised for accuracy at 3:43 p.m. Monday.

A proposed sports broadcasting major in the radio-TV-film department stands a chance to become part of the fall 2009 class lineup, a university instructor said.

The major will teach students sports video production in coordination with the athletic department, said Charles LaMendola, an instructor in the RTVF department and the main professor behind the sports broadcasting movement.

Although the sports production major remains unofficial, they expect notification from the University Council by the end of the semester, he said.

The members of the University Council include all deans in the university, and a variety of faculty and students.

The proposal, which has already received approval by the college curriculum committee, will now go before the Undergraduate Council and then the University Council, which meets sometime before May, he said. If the council approves the proposal, it will be added to the school catalog as a new major, he said.

Sports broadcasting classes currently featured in the catalog will create the basis of the new major where students will receive hands-on training in video production, LaMendola said.

It will also include journalism and communication classes, he said.

Richard Allen, head of the RTVF department, said the sports broadcasting classes that were offered gave students hands-on experience, but with the creation of the sports broadcasting major, students can present their portfolio in a visual and auditory manner.

If added to the curriculum, TCU will become one of the few colleges in the nation to offer an emphasis in sports media, LaMendola said.

Sports television experienced more than a 400 percent growth in the television business in the last 10 years, LaMendola said.

The presence of the TCU alumni currently working in the sports business will increase the amount of internships available for prospective students, Allen said.

“We hope the alumni already in sports broadcasting business are just the beginning in a long line of students coming out of this program,” he said.

The addition of Mike Martin, liaison between the athletic and RTVF department, solidified the development behind the major, said Allen.

Mike Martin, instructor of the remote sports production class in the RTVF department, said the new major will give students the chance to enter the growing sports media business with confidence.

“I think there’s a lot of opportunities for students to want to pursue a career in sports broadcasting, whether it’s in front or especially behind the camera in production,” Martin said.

The remote sports production class enables students to produce and direct live broadcasts of TCU sports events, as well as operating the video board. LaMendola said at least two new classes will serve to expand Martin’s remote sports production class as part of the sports broadcasting major.

LaMendola said he hopes to create new classes and expand faculty as the major progresses.

The sports broadcasting major will offer a much more comprehensive emphasis to the sports media than the classes currently offered, LaMendola said.

With the sports broadcasting major, students will eventually receive the opportunity of producing sports shows for the MountainWest Sports Network, a DirecTV network specializing in college division sports, LaMendola said.

Martin said he hopes the major will provide more content to the MountainWest Sports Network.

Projects will air nationally and give students a real-world experience, he said.

Constance Fullerton, a sophomore RTVF major, said she thinks the new major will interest many students, especially those entering the college population.

“I think it would be amazing, we’d bring a lot to Texas schools,” Fullerton said. “With this, maybe smaller schools could look to TCU as an example.”

Kimberly Little, a junior RTVF major, said she enjoys sports and would have seriously considered majoring in sports broadcasting if had become available earlier.

“[Sports broadcasting] is something that will never get old,” Little said. “People watch sports all the time. It’s something that is in high demand.”

LaMendola anticipates 20 to 50 students majoring in the new program due to demand.

“The ultimate goal is to make it an interdisciplinary degree,” LaMendola said. “But the first thing we want to do is get it on the books.”