Approvals delay sports broadcasting major until fall 2010

Students looking to major in sports broadcasting will have the opportunity fall 2010, a university official said.

David Whillock, dean of the College of Communication, said college officials plan to offer the major by next year. Whillock said the major was set to be offered this year, but difficulties with being approved by all the appropriate committees delayed it.

“(Members of the department) were under the assumption that it had gone through all the committees,” Whillock said. “It had not completed the undergraduate committee.”

Whillock said the Undergraduate Council, whose members are representatives from each college, still needs to approve the major, which may need further approval from the University Council. The University Council is made up of all the deans, as well as various faculty and students.

Students will be able to begin taking classes to count for a sports broadcasting major in January 2010, Whillock said. Currently, the film, television and digital media department offers a production emphasis in sports broadcasting. Many of the courses are in the course catalog.

Richard Allen, chair of the FTDM department, said the work being done this year on the major was a formality.

“It’s been approved on certain levels, but there’s a couple of university-level committees that still need to approve it as I understand it,” Allen said. “We’re in the home stretch, to use a sports analogy.”

Melissa Schroeder , associate dean of the College of Communication, said the departmental curriculum committee, the college curriculum committee, the Undergraduate Council and the University Council must approve a major.

Allen said each university department has a departmental curriculum committee that consists of faculty and staff from the respective department. The college curriculum committee consists of faculty and staff from all three departments in the college of communication.

Charles LaMendola, a FTDM instructor who helped with the creation of the major, said the first part of the curriculum will include an introduction to remote sports and sports broadcasting. Students will take courses covering audio for sports production, post-production for sports, radio operations and global sports as well as six hours of an internship.

LaMendola said students taking sports broadcasting courses this fall will produce programming for three university volleyball matches that will air on the MountainWest Sports Network, which will provide the equipment to deliver the programming to a national audience.

The opportunity for students to show their material on The Mtn. will give university sports broadcasting graduates an edge, LaMendola said.

“Nobody else has the ability to have stuff shown live on national television,” he said. “That’s completely unique to this program, and that’s thanks to our relationship with The Mtn. network.”

LaMendola said he hoped to have students producing material for volleyball, women’s soccer and women’s basketball games next fall.

Shayna Fawcett, a junior FTDM major, said she thinks adding a program like this will benefit students. The major will give FTDM students exposure to more areas in film and television production, she said.

Scott Kull, associate athletics director for external operations, said students will gain more opportunities to participate in the production of university athletic events as the sports broadcasting program grows.

“The way we see it is athletics should be a laboratory for the students to learn and grow and reach their potential,” Kull said.

Whillock said the sports broadcasting program will serve as a recruiting tool. Students’ material shown on The Mtn. will give the university coverage in states in the Mountain West Conference, he said.

“I think more and more there are colleges and programs at TCU that have become destination points for high school students,” Whillock said. “This is one of them.”