Ball State University and its College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM) recently celebrated the accomplishments of a graduate whose influential career in sports journalism continues to serve as an inspiration to students.

On Thursday, CCIM unveiled its new Betsy M. Ross Sports Link Studio, where students enrolled in the nationally renowned Ball State Sports Link program will continue to engage in innovative, collaborative, and professional productions.

“Through her professional and civic accomplishments, Betsy has illustrated what we desire for all of our students: that the excellent education they have received at Ball State will prepare them to have fulfilling careers and to lead meaningful lives,” Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns said at Thursday’s dedication event. “Betsy, you are a role model for our students. Today we honor your many accomplishments, and we express our gratitude to you for all the ways in which your contributions have made an impact on our University.”

Ms. Ross, a 1972 Ball State graduate, has worked as a copy editor, Emmy award-winning broadcast reporter, ESPN anchor, and professor before founding Game Day Communications, a sports and entertainment firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2002.

“I continue to be impressed by the facilities and the opportunities Ball State students now have at CCIM,” Ms. Ross said. “The extraordinary experiences offered here prepare them for outstanding careers in the ever-changing field of communications. I am honored to be a small part of the process as Ball State continues to give students the tools they need to succeed.”

A native of Connersville, Ind., Ms. Ross was just 17 years old when she arrived on Ball State’s campus. Eventually, she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism after exploring career options through her sorority, the former Alpha Sigma Tau, and through various writing and public relations roles for campus organizations. She worked as a copy editor for the South Bend Tribune from 1973-78, earning her master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1977 and accepting a position at the South Bend NBC affiliate on campus a year later. She eventually moved on to WLWT-TV in Cincinnati before being hired by ESPN as a weekend “SportsCenter” anchor, becoming one of the first women to break into national sports news.

After five years on ESPN’s airwaves, Ms. Ross moved back to Cincinnati and launched GameDay Communications with her business partner, Jackie Reau. She also serves as a freelance sports reporter for Cincinnati’s FOX 19 and calls men’s and women’s basketball games for various outlets.

Ms. Ross has also remained a steadfast supporter of her alma mater—engaging with students, providing generous philanthropic support to the University’s mission, and serving on the Ball State University Foundation‘s Board of Directors and the Women of Beneficence Leadership Council.

“Betsy’s generous investment in our program and studios will guide Sports Link for years to come,” said Chris Taylor, senior director of sports production and associate lecturer in Ball State’s Department of Media. ”We will originate new programming and podcasts, plus additional collaborations with Ball State Athletics, from the Betsy M. Ross Sports Link Studio starting this Fall.”

Ball State Sports Link, an Immersive Learning experience, connects audiences with the 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.

Transatlantic Storytelling 2024
Ball State Sports Link, in partnership with Cardiff Met Sport Broadcast, on Thursday also premiered its feature-length documentary, Transatlantic Storytelling 2024.

The documentary is the result of a semester-long project centered around a 12-day journey taken by 16 Sports Link students to Cardiff, Wales. During this trip, students from Ball State and Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Sports Broadcast program collaborated to profile eight diverse subjects, including current and former Cardiff Met student-athletes and sport directors. In addition, the students produced live sports updates from various locations on the Cardiff Met campus.

Beyond their production work, the students engaged in cultural immersion experiences in and around Cardiff, including tours of BBC Wales, Cardiff Castle, and Principality Stadium, the home of Welsh Rugby.

According to Cameron Clift, the film’s executive producer and director, “Working on this documentary has been an incredible journey.”

“I am genuinely excited for everyone to see the final product,” said Mr. Clift, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies from Ball State in May. “The stories of our subjects are truly inspiring, and I believe they will resonate with the audience in a profound way.”

Following its digital premiere, the documentary is now being edited into a second cut, released for linear television stations and film festivals—along with additional digital platforms—in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Transatlantic Storytelling continues an ongoing exchange of pedagogy, global sports production trends, virtual guest lectures, and student connections.

In 2019, Ball State University and Cardiff Metropolitan University agreed to a five-year understanding which recognizes the mutual benefits of an educational partnership, which in part will lead to collaboration, opportunities, and faculty/student engagement.