Top 5 sports broadcasting schools in 2017

This Spring, I’ve devoted considerable time to evaluating the sports broadcasting work of college students across the country. It’s part of STAA’s annual Jim Nantz Award and All-America program. I enjoy seeing which college sports broadcasting programs are on the rise…and which ones are slipping.

top 5 sports broadcasting schools

What Makes A Great Sportscasting School?

Top colleges for sports broadcasting are strong in at least five of the following seven areas:

  • Quality of students’ work
    The best schools turn out the most students who are best prepared for the job market.
  • Internal competition
    Instead of being given on-air reps, students compete to earn them.
  • External competition
    A university with pride in its sports broadcasting program should encourage students to apply for national recognition like STAA’s All-America program.

    Competitive spirit. It makes you better.

  • Peer support
    Students helping, supporting, and genuinely caring about each other.
  • Teaching employable skills
    Things like play-by-play, sports anchor and reporting and digital media are employable skills. “Hot take” TV opinion programs are a waste of time. Positions on those shows go to established journalists, not recent grads.
  • Alumni support
    Receiving assistance from alumni who are working in the industry is a huge edge.
  • Sustained excellence
    Schools that consistently put graduates into the work force prove they are keeping up with the rapid changes in our industry.

With all that in mind…

The Top 5 Sports Broadcasting Schools In 2017

1. Syracuse

Students receive fabulous instruction, and the help they receive from alumni is second to none.

2. Arizona State

Turning out quality students in both radio and TV. Recent monetary gifts to the Cronkite School have ASU turning into the Syracuse of the West.

3. Ball State

Has burst onto the scene over the past four years and is getting stronger every year . . . Another great school for both radio and TV sportscasting.

4. Missouri

Have been great for a lonnnng time, especially producing TV talent.

5. Indiana

Between IU and Ball State, the Hoosier State is becoming as well known for great sportscasters as it is for great basketball players.

Four other schools that deserve mention are:

  • Hofstra
  • Boston University
  • Ohio U.
  • Nebraska

A Call To Compete

In 2013, we published a list of the Top 20 Sports Broadcasting Schools in the country. Many of the names on that list would not be on my Top 20 list today.

» Check the 2013 list here.

There are five schools that have traditionally been outstanding for sports broadcasting. However, their lack of participation in STAA’s All-America program in recent years is curious.

I hope that mentioning them here will stoke their competitive fires. They are…

  • K-State (Disappointed that my alma mater, a school at which I’ve spoken to a sports broadcasting class in the past, didn’t have a single applicant.)
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Miami
  • USC
  • Fordham

In addition to K-State, I’ve spoken in recent years to classes at Arizona State, Indiana, TCU and Western Illinois, among others.

I’m glad to help any school that would like me to share sports broadcasting techniques with students. Online or in person. No charge.

I’ll tell you what we look for in the Nantz judging so your students can apply it.

I hope to see your school well represented in STAA’s 2018 Jim Nantz Award and All-America program.

Many folks who read this will say, “My school is one of the country’s top schools for sports broadcasting.” If you believe that about your school, please explain your reasoning in the comments section below. I promise to reply to all of them.

49 Comments

  1. Dan Budick

    Ithaca College is starting to produce great broadcasters. Broadcasters who are not only talented but also smart and know how to present themselves on air. That is very important. Bomber Nation is starting to get love for sports broadcasting. I know they will be on this list in years to come.

  2. Brandon Cadiz

    Dominican University of CA! DII school really building a solid broadcasting program. Hands-on teaching being a private school. Lots of opportunities to broaden broadcasting skills, with multiple sports you can hop on to. Less students means more experience and opportunities for yourself. Connections with local Bay Area teams and professors in the industry. Look out!

  3. Mike McBride

    There was a time when North Texas ranked high on the list. Unfortunately, the combination of Bill Mercer’s retirement and the RTVF department not making it a priority to replace him has diminished its status. Good to see Mizzou up there in the rankings. When I was a student there in the early 90s, the J-School heavily emphasized hard news and a fair portion of its faculty members frowned upon the sports side of the industry. There were two campus radio stations, and neither offered play-by-play opportunities for students back in those days.

  4. Bret Leuthner

    I never went there as a student, but Liberty University has some good broadcast facilities, an ambitious athletics program, and is starting to churn out some good talent.

  5. Rigel Meketa

    I will always stand by the incredible amount that I learned at Palomar Community College in California. Can’t possibly keep up with the big schools, but early hands on experience made it an excellent start. Plus the professor had a pretty good track record of success….

  6. Douglas Linda

    David Letterman’s interest and financial support well over a decade ago coupled with corporate involvement from companies like ESPN have pushed the Ball State University program to one of the very best in the nation!

  7. Aaron

    Northwestern literally has a sports journalism program for graduate students: http://sports.medill.northwestern.edu/ and I went there for undergrad and WNUR Sports gives more opportunities earlier to students to broadcast BIG TIME college sports than any school I know of!

  8. Zach Langston

    Are there any other colleges in Alabama that you would recommend? Also, what major should I choose? Communications, journalism, or some other major?

  9. Michael Dion

    Just out of curiosity why is Western Illinois not on your top five list? Is there a particular category they fall short in?

  10. Dax McCoy

    Washington state?

  11. Carlo Jimenez

    Any Jesuit schools you would suggest for sports broadcasting? One of my parents works at a Jesuit school and as a benefit through an exchange I can get any Jesuit school with tuition free. Please Respond.

  12. JJ

    What do you think of University of Oregon? Smaller program but seems to allow reps.

    • Jon Chelesnik

      Hi JJ — Oregon is an interesting one. I was totally unaware of their broadcasting program until several years ago. Since then, I’ve had 2 or 3 of their students who have submitted impressive samples of the work for our annual Jim Nantz Award. The Ducks are definitely worth a look.

  13. David Thatcher

    Any Texas schools? Also, how is Emerson these days?

  14. Tyler S

    Any good Carolina school for sports broadcasting? I am currently in high school doing an internship for broadcasting.

  15. Khalb Mesfin

    I live on the east coast, and I’ve heard UMD and UNC are good sports broadcasting schools, would you recommend any others?

  16. Kyle Figueiredo

    I know you put Indiana on your list. What would you say about IUP as I’m in PA and it would be a much better commute for me

  17. Carson

    Hi Jon,
    I was wondering if you could go into a little more depth on the drop off of USC and Miami. These are both schools that I’m interested in, but if their sports broadcasting programs are no longer elite I have no interest, so I’d like to know what’s going on before making further decisions.
    Thank you,
    -Carson

  18. Brooke Tyburski

    Hi Jon,
    I live in Virginia and was wondering what the best schools for sports broadcasting in Virginia are.
    Thanks,
    Brooke

  19. Brooke Tyburski

    Jon,
    Thanks for answering my question. One more: do any sports broadcasting schools that you know of have more of a focus on football than other sports? Thanks.

  20. Carlo Jimenez

    Hey Jon,
    I was curious to know why the Fordham program has dropped off in the recent years?
    Thanks

  21. Josh

    Hello Jon,
    I was wondering if Penn State is still a top tier school for sports broadcasting. Thank you

  22. Jackson Valente

    Hey Jon,

    I was wondering if you have any input on University of Maryland and if they have been climbing up the list?

    Thank You.

  23. Jason Breese

    Hi Jon, Great info. My son recently applied to Marshall as they are showing a Sports Broadcasting Major. Is this a school worth looking at?

  24. Marcia Cruz

    Hi Jon, for Missouri…. did you mean University of Missouri or Missouri State?
    Thanks

  25. Dan Wort

    Hi Jon – What advice would you give to a high school student wanting to learn more about Sports Broadcasting as a possible career?

  26. Trish Lawlor

    Hi Jon, my son is looking to transfer to 4year college as a sports broadcasting major. We are in the eastern part of PA. We have looked at Monmouth University in N. Jersey as they have a specialized radio/tv broadcasting communications major with a minor in sports communications. It looks like a really good program with a lot of connections with NY sports teams. Any other suggestion in PA or NJ? Maybe something closer to Philadelphia? Thanks!

  27. Conor McGill

    Hi Jon, What colleges on the west coast do you recommend I tour that have strong Sports Broadcasting programs?This summer I attend a camp at ASU and absolutely loved it but I am looking at other options other than just one school.

  28. Shane Griffin Purcell

    Hi Jon, I appreciate your articles I’ve taken them into serious consideration in searching for schools. I want to get as far into sports broadcasting as possible as it is by far my passion. I sort of have my heart said on U of Miami but looking into their actual programs they don’t offer a specific sportscasting program, only broadcast journalism with sports media courses. I am also interested in jounalism, but my question is, if I really want to get into sportscasting is it more worth it for me to look into schools with more specific sport oriented programs? Or is U of Miami perfectly as capable of getting me to where I want to be in that field?

  29. Caleb

    Hi Jon, What schools in Texas would you recommend for sports broadcasting? I’ve been looking at Texas the most but I want to know what my other options are, thanks.

  30. Justin

    Quinnipiac has Sports Journalism major and make some pretty impressive claims about it, any reason they did not make your list? I am in the NY metro area and am lucky enough to be looking at QP, Fordam and Hostra.

  31. Luigi Smith

    So Indiana is a good choice? I am interested in going there but haven’t seen them on other lists besides this one. Thank you for what you do! I am very ignorant about all this so forgive me.

  32. Carson

    Hi Jon,
    I just visited the University of Miami and their facilities looked good, and I found that they have a couple (although not tons) or sports specific classes online. I was wondering if you knew anything specific about quality of instruction, opportunities etc. that I couldn’t find elsewhere because it can be tough to research such a specific topic. Thank you, you’ve helped me a lot throughout this whole research process and I really appreciate it

  33. trey redfield

    Hey Jon. I’m a junior in high school and I’ve been interested in sports broadcasting since I was 5. Would Elon University in NC be a good choice?

  34. Thomas Chiaravalle

    Hey Jon. I’m a Sophmore In high school and I have heard that Penn state is a good school for sports broadcasting. What makes the Syracuse and Arizona state stand out from Penn state.

  35. Mason d

    Hi Jon, I was hoping you might have some information on Southern Miss. It seems as though they have a good program with practical experience and internships. Thoughts…?

  36. Ms. Richards

    Hello Mr. Chelesnik

    I appreciate this blog all the wisdom you’ve been proving!! I’m most thankful that you’re actually taking the time to reply back!

    My daughter is a current senior in High School, she wants to be an ESPN sports broadcaster or have a sports Radio show like Mike and Mike. She would also like to become a sports agent.

    So far, I’ve heard no mention of UCF. Where do they stand in regards to sports boradcasting? I hear that Emerson is a good program and has been excepted, but cant attend due to the high price of out of state tuition fees. She want to go of state to some of the schools you’ve mentioned, but are they worth the debt for an undergrad?

    You mentioned on a previous blog, that the hands on experience the school offers is more important then the actual major. What’s the best way to approach finding the best undergrad or grad school.

  37. Evan K

    Mr. Chelesnik,

    Currently I am a junior in High School in New Jersey and am highly involved with my local TV studio doing broadcasting, live play by play and sideline reporting, as well as anchoring a local sports talk show. I am looking to major in broadcast journalism or journalism in college. I was wondering how Georgia, Indiana or Florida State’s program’s (as well as studio’s) compares to Arizona State, Syracuse, Mizzou. Do you know if freshman get an opportunity (or can audition) to be in front of the camera at any of these schools. Finally, do you know anything about Wisconsin-Madison or Ohio State. Thanks for the articles and the help!

  38. Paul Batastini

    Hi Mr. Chelesnik,

    I’ve been researching and I saw that Clemson has a major in Sport Communication, do you have anything to comment on this particular major or Clemson as a whole when it comes to sports broadcasting?

  39. Matthew McKeon

    Hello, I found your article very informative but I was wondering if you knew anything about sports communication at the university of Cincinnati. I really like the school but am unsure if they have a good program there. Thanks

  40. Drew Vozza

    Hi mr. Chelesnik I would like to go into sports radio talk show. What would be the top 5 best schools to go to for that?

  41. OLGIE PROSPER

    Hi Jon! What would be the difference between sports broadcasting degree vs. sports management degree vs. sports analytics
    Im confused because Syracuse now has a BAS in all 3, at the Falk School and Newhouse 2.

    I hear STAA has a program but I don’t see them mentioned here. What would be the difference between STAA and let’s say Syracuse?

  42. Elizabeth Goedde Reid

    Jon, My son is interested in sports broadcasting . He plays sports football and Lacrosse . He is hoping to continue to play in college . Is that possible and still get a broadcast degree?

  43. Mari Pava

    Hi Jon,
    Which schools would you recommend for a graduate degree? Thanks!

  44. Judy

    Don’t you pretty much have to be previous athlete to do sports broadcasting. Really that’s all you see. What are your thoughts on this?

  45. Brittany Gorby Gilla

    Hi, Are there any schools in Colorado that you would recommend?

  46. Gabby Pelster

    Hi! Any good options in Canada that you’re aware of?

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