Topic: College of Communication Information and Media

October 17, 2017

Sports Link students working managing social media during NCAA tournament
Ball State is expanding a years-long partnership with the NCAA in which digital sports production students will manage social media content throughout the preseason, regular season, and postseason.

Students in Ball State’s award-winning Sports Link program and staff in the NCAA’s championships digital and social media group will collaborate during the 2017-18 year on social content development for NCAA championship sports properties.

The NCAA digital and social media group and Ball State have worked on various projects over the past seven years involving social media creation for the men and women’s basketball tournaments. Sports Link students now will have the opportunity to work with more NCAA championships and significantly enhance the quantity and quality of the content placed on various social media platforms. 

“Ball State has consistently delivered over the years, and this is the next step in the evolution of our relationship,” said Nate Flannery, NCAA director of digital and social media. “We see this project as an opportunity to grow the students’ professional portfolios, while providing our fans with more engaging content.”

As many as 28 digital sports production students in Sports Link will manage social content throughout the preseason, regular season and postseason. The students will get firsthand instruction on how to create strategies and tactics for social media management for the NCAA brand, and the content will be measured by total number of assets created, impressions and engagement rate of content.

“This enhanced collaboration with the NCAA is a pivotal growth point in our program’s future,” said Chris Taylor, senior director of digital sports production and lecturer of telecommunications at Ball State. “The skills our students are learning, in addition to the variety of digital content being produced, are highly sought after in today’s job market.”

Several students in the program also will have the opportunity to travel and produce content at team-assigned NCAA championships. Additionally, two students — Kaitlyn Young (Evansville, Indiana) and Adrian Jarding (Carmel, Indiana) — were selected to assist with the project from the NCAA national office in Indianapolis.

To facilitate the project, Ball State’s Department of Telecommunications has dedicated a student workspace in the Ball Communication Building to serve as the NCAA social collaboration center. Each NCAA sport will have a lead student producer assigned for the entire season. Sports for this year include baseball, basketball, Football Championship Subdivision football, ice hockey, lacrosse, softball, soccer, track and field, volleyball and wrestling. Also, the Sports Link program will turn the digital sports production center on campus into a remote social operation center in March to better mobilize students and staff to assist with social media duties for the men’s and women’s basketball championships.

Ball State’s innovative digital sports production track is the first program in the nation to offer students a four-year concentration in sports media production. The Sports Link program, which allows students to create content for distribution across multiple platforms with emphasis on storytelling, features, live events and social media production, has won numerous state and national awards.