Ball State University's College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM) is celebrating recent national recognition for two of its standout programs. 

Ball State’s esports program was named the “EsportsU Collegiate Community of the Year” by Collegiate Sports Management Group. Also, Ball State ranked No. 3 on the “Top 20 Sports Broadcasting Schools” list released by the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (STAA)—a highly regarded and well-recognized organization backed by famous sports broadcaster Jim Nantz. Ball State has been in the top three of this list since STAA began compiling and releasing its rankings five years ago. 

"We are honored to be recognized for our cutting-edge, innovative programs that we provide for our students, preparing them for career opportunities in these industries," said Dr. Paaige Turner, CCIM dean. “Our programs’ success stems from our dedicated faculty and staff—who are skilled and highly knowledgeable leaders in their fields—and the hard work of our students.” 

Esports honor
Collegiate Sports Management Group announced Ball State’s esports program as the EsportsU Collegiate Community of the Year during the group’s recent Coaches and Directors Summit 2022. 

“I'm ecstatic to have our Ball State Esports program honored with this award,” said Dan Marino, director of Ball State’s esports program. “A core value of our program is our culture. Being inclusive, kind, and supportive of others are foundational pieces of that culture—and to have it be seen and recognized after only a year of our program's existence is a testament to our students, and the work they are doing towards building a positive and welcoming community.” 

Ball State began its varsity esports program as part of CCIM in January 2021, becoming a founding member of the Esports Collegiate Conference. The conference fields teams in League of Legends, Rocket League, and Overwatch divisions. In April 2021, Ball State officially opened its state-of-the-art Esports Center within the Robert Bell Building on campus. 

There are more than 800 students participating in Ball State’s student-run Esports Club. That includes more than 50 student-athletes on its varsity esports team, which is led by Mr. Marino. 

Another major component of Ball State’s esports program is the Esports Production academic concentration, under CCIM’s Department of Media, which delivers hands-on instruction for students to develop their skills in the field of esports media. Students in the program learn the history of esports, video production, streaming, and live event broadcasting. The Esports Production concentration offers four years of courses, allowing first-year students to earn credit in Esports Production as soon as they begin their studies at Ball State. 

Since its formation, Ball State’s esports program has attracted major strategic partners—including Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL). Established in February, this partnership led to the creation of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Scholarship, which provides a $5,000 scholarship to two members of Ball State’s varsity esports team each year from the 2022-23 through 2025-26 academic years, advancing the program’s mission of recruiting and retaining the top esports talent in the world. 

Aside from the partnership with RLL, Ball State maintains a separate partnership with Gen.G Global Academy—a high-caliber international esports organization with competitive teams in South Korea, China, and the United States. This collaboration expands Ball State’s global influence and role as an innovator in the emerging industry of esports, while offering unique opportunities for student-athletes within Ball State’s esports program, and for GenG’s student-athletes. 

Sports broadcasting honor
Ranking No. 3 on the “Top 20 Sports Broadcasting Schools” list—and being in the top three schools on since STAA began compiling and releasing its rankings five years ago—is a reflection of the work that goes into and comes out of Ball State’s nationally renowned, award-winning Sports Link program. 

Housed within CCIM, Ball State Sports Link, an immersive learning experience, connects audiences with the University’s athletics community, delivering exclusive content on far-reaching platforms to showcase sports at Ball State. Sports Link showcases Cardinal student-athletes’ accomplishments on the field, in the classroom and within the surrounding community. 

“The No. 3 ranking from STAA validates the exceptional opportunities our students have at Ball State University and within our Sports Link program,” said Chris Taylor, senior director of Sports Production and associate lecturer of Media at Ball State. “From streaming, radio and television, and on-air talent, our students have consistently kept our program in the Top 3 of the STAA rankings. Congratulations to our past, present, and future students. This is another recognition for our unique program." 

Ball State Sports Link has earned many awards, accolades and distinctions through the years. This Summer, the program was honored at the 14th Annual Sports Video Group (SVG) College Sports Media Awards in association with National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Ball State’s CCIM students captured two Best of College Sports Media Awards—bringing Sports Link’s total wins to 13 since 2012. Sports Link’s 54 total nominations are an SVG record. The 2021-22 Men’s Basketball Creative Intro earned Outstanding In-Venue Production and The Tip (Women’s Basketball) earned Outstanding Program Series.