How it Works: Getting a Sportscasting Degree at Full Sail University
Published on Mar 9, 2018 by Stephanie Rizzo
Full Sail has partnered with legendary sportscaster Dan Patrick to create a degree program unlike any other. Here’s how it works.
Do you ever find yourself watching your favorite sports personality and wondering, How did they get that job? Embracing any creative industry can be tough, especially when the path to success isn’t immediately clear. Thankfully, Full Sail University’s Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting provides students with a top-to-bottom overview of the sportscasting industry, along with clear strategies for breaking in.
“Part of the challenge is that sportscasting is a vast field,” says program director Gus Ramsey, whose previous experience includes more than two decades at ESPN as a producer. “The industry encompasses everything from podcasts and web shows, to eSports, to working for local affiliate stations or a national network. But that also equates to a lot of opportunities.”
Here’s what you can expect when enrolling in Full Sail University’s Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting.
Turning Practice into Progress
Gus worked closely with administration to design a diverse curriculum. Many key courses are interdisciplinary – meaning they operate across multiple degree programs. This provides students with a well-rounded education that touches on aspects of writing, production, and emerging technology, all of which are important facets of broadcast media.
New students begin with core classes to build a foundational understanding of the entertainment industry. From there, they’ll move on to more specific courses, such as Introduction to Sportscasting.
“This is where we’ll teach them how to build an A block of a rundown, which is the first segment of a show,” says Gus. “Everything starts with the rundown. By the end of the month, they’ll record themselves doing a lead-in and voicing over a highlight.”
Gus says this first project serves as a starting point to a goal. By the end of the program, grads will be able to compare their first attempt at voicing over a highlight to their last, providing evidence of their own growth over the duration of the program.
Portfolio courses threaded throughout the program offer students a chance to drill down and practice the skills they learn from month to month. For instance, the Project and Portfolio III course builds upon vocal training skills students learned in a previous course, Vocal Training for Sportscasting.
Faculty and Guest Speakers
When it comes to faculty, Gus has been able to leverage his deep ties to the world of sports media to bring in a staff of highly experienced professionals. And as evidenced by the name of the program, sportscasting legend Dan Patrick will be a frequent visitor to campus, acting as a visiting professor – and bringing along some of his friends.
“Our program advisory committee is composed of industry professionals such as Bill Simmons (ESPN, HBO, The Ringer) and Ed Goren (Fox Sports),” says Gus. “These people will not only serve as advisors, helping us shape our courses and providing direct insights into the industry, they’ll also provide our students with guest lectures and workshops.”
Other guests slated to appear are Kevin Negandhi (ESPN), Jay Harris (ESPN), and Sage Steele (ESPN), along with a host of special guest speakers who have yet to be announced. Besides a talented collection of guest faculty, Gus is building a permanent staff of veteran industry professionals to lead his classes.
“We’re hiring people like myself who have long careers in the industry. It’s our hope that they’ll be able to pass on as much of that experience as possible to our students,” says Gus.
The Flexibility to Learn Anywhere
For working professionals looking to make the leap into sportscasting, or for students who are unable to relocate to campus, the program offers a flexible online track.
While the campus program runs a total of 20 months, the online program takes 29 months from start to finish. The difference in length has nothing to do with content – the courses and amount of credit hours are exactly the same. Rather, online students take classes at a rate of one per month, while campus students double up in certain months. Online students will also have access to the same guest speakers and events as campus students through our online streaming services.
Whether a student chooses the online or campus degree program, they can expect support from Full Sail’s Career Development department throughout their career. And Gus’ experience as a producer has left him uniquely qualified to help prepare students for a competitive job market.
“As we’ve developed the program, I’ve asked myself, ‘If I was hiring a graduate of this program, what would I expect them to know?’“ he says. “Our students are going to be in a spot where they know as much upon graduation as someone who has spent a few months interning in this industry. We’re giving them the tools they need to succeed.”