Top 20 sports broadcasting schools

It’s been five years since we published our list of the top five sports broadcasting schools in the U.S. It’s been nine years since our initial Top 20 ranking in 2013.

It’s time to update the list.

The list of top sports broadcasting schools has remained largely the same over the past decade. There are some new additions, and some schools have risen or fallen slightly. Still, though, largely the same.

Excellence is rooted in consistency.

Traits of top sports broadcasting schools:

1. Quality instruction

The best instructors are those who are, or have been, sports broadcasters.

2. Campus radio and/or TV stations

Having a place to get reps is mandatory. A perk of Big 10, SEC and ACC schools is being in conferences whose TV networks provide professional-quality broadcast opportunities for students.

3. Alumni involvement

The best schools have alumni who return to campus to mentor, teach, and help graduates get jobs.

Read our 2017 ranking of the Top 5 sports broadcasting schools for more tips on what to look for when choosing a good one.

The Top 20 sports broadcasting schools:

  1. Syracuse
  2. Arizona State
  3. Ball State
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Virginia Tech
  6. Indiana
  7. Ohio U.
  8. Missouri
  9. Oklahoma State
  10. Maryland
  11. St. Cloud State
  12. Penn State
  13. Bradley
  14. Northwestern
  15. Kansas
  16. Miami
  17. Hofstra
  18. Florida
  19. Ohio State
  20. Fordham

Honorable Mention top sports broadcasting schools

Schools are listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Emerson
  2. Gonzaga
  3. Iowa
  4. Ithaca
  5. Michigan State
  6. NAU
  7. Oregon
  8. TCU
  9. Washington State

A special note about Big Ten, SEC and ACC schools

Schools in the Big Ten, SEC and ACC are worth an additional look, regardless of their placement on our lists. The reason, as mentioned at the top of this page, is because of the relationships they have with their respective conference broadcast networks. Each of the three conferences streams broadcasts produced entirely by students, including the on-air talent.

The games are in big-time settings and the production quality is high. Everyone steps their game up and it looks great on a demo reel.

Since the webcasts reflect the quality of each school’s sports broadcasting curriculum, these schools generally provide excellent classroom instruction.

Schools with a sports broadcasting, sports communications or sports media major

These schools take the education of sports broadcasters seriously enough that they’ve created majors, or at least sports media concentrations, that are more specialized than a general broadcasting major.

Schools are listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Arizona State
  2. Austin Peay
  3. Belhaven
  4. Clemson
  5. Evansville
  6. Indiana
  7. Ithaca
  8. Marist
  9. Marshall
  10. Morehouse
  11. Nebraska
  12. Newman
  13. Oklahoma State
  14. South Carolina
  15. South Dakota
  16. Southeastern Louisiana
  17. Syracuse
  18. TCU
  19. Texas
  20. Waynesburg
  21. Western Illinois

Two more factors to consider when choosing a sports broadcasting school


You can’t put a price on happiness. Choose to live someplace you are going to enjoy.


Not every school is going to be in everyone’s budget. Don’t sweat it, though. Read on . . .

You can launch a successful sports broadcasting career from anywhere. Though a ton of sportscasters have graduated from Syracuse, their number is far surpassed by sportscasters who went elsewhere.

Your success will depend upon the degree to which you take advantage of the opportunities provided to you. If you are at a school where the quality of instruction is less, seek outside mentors. If you aren’t getting the reps you want, create your own opportunities doing webcasts of local high school and small college games.

Success will depend most upon the opportunities you create for yourself beyond the school curriculum, having mentors to critique your work and what you do with the opportunities you are given.

The most successful sportscasters are the most invested — the most disciplined and hard working.

I’m glad to help

We’ve advised hundreds of students — and parents of students — about what colleges might be best for them.

Do you have questions or comments?  Please leave them below. I enjoy helping!

Jon Chelesnik,
Owner, STAA

The most memorable day in my sportscasting career

Photo by LobShots
Photo by LobShots

When Jeanne Zelasko called me one morning in October 1993, I felt like my big break had finally arrived.

Three months earlier, I had moved back to my hometown of San Diego after three years of entry-level radio in McPherson, KS. For the final two of those three years, I had been trying unsuccessfully to get on board at San Diego’s XTRA Sports 690 – just the second all-sports station in the country at that time.

Finally, I decided if I was going to get a job in San Diego, I had to live in San Diego. So I moved west, introduced myself to station PD Howard Freedman, and told him I was interested in future opportunities.
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ASU’s Gange wins Jim Nantz Sports Broadcasting Award

For the first time, an Arizona State University student is the winner of the Jim Nantz Award. Sundevils senior Scotty Gange takes the trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sports broadcaster by Sportscasters Talent Agency of America.

“Scotty’s been on our radar since his freshman year,” says STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik. “Back then he was much more style than substance. Now, though, he’s found a terrific balance.”

Gange ranked 16th in last year’s voting. He earned honorable mention as a sophomore in 2018.

Ironically, Gange is a graduate of Torrey Pines High School in Del Mar, CA – the same high school alma mater as Chelesnik.

Also earning honors are five 2020 STAA All-Americans:

  • Evan Hughes (Virginia Tech, Jr)
  • Jonah Karp (Syracuse, Sr)
  • Mary Kate Hamilton (Indiana, Sr)
  • Brendan Hartlove (Maryland, Jr)
  • Emmanuel Berbari (Fordham, Jr)

Karp is an All-American for the second straight year. Berbari’s inclusion is the first time since the initial All-America class of 2009 that Fordham is represented in the AA class.

This is also the first time students from Virginia Tech and Maryland have earned All-America honors.

The Jim Nantz Award has been presented annually since 2009 by Sportscasters Talent Agency of America as a way to encourage collegiate sportscasters to strive to achieve their best. The award is named in honor of the award winning CBS sports broadcaster.

View the complete Top 20 and Honorable Mentions

Judges for the 2020 Jim Nantz Award included Chelesnik and former Nantz winners Josh Appel, Adam Cavalier, Katie Emmer, Alex Faust, Kevin Fitzgerald, Eric Gallanty, Nate Gatter, Ross Lippman and Bill Spaulding.

STAA Aligns With The Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting

picture shows dan patrick working with full sail students

When I hosted on ESPN Radio from 1999 through 2003, there was a rule that TV talent had to make occasional appearances on the radio network. One night, the door to my studio opened shortly after midnight. In shuffled Dan Patrick. It was the end of a long evening for him hosting SportsCenter yet he went out of his way to do a segment with me.

Now, Dan and I are connected again.

Two years ago, Dan started the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting in collaboration with Full Sail University. At STAA, we are proud to announce a relationship with the Dan Patrick School. We are offering STAA services to DPS students and making occasional virtual classroom visits to help prepare them for sports broadcasting success.
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Carter Wins 2019 Jim Nantz Award

Drew Carter, a senior at Syracuse University, is the winner of the 2019 Jim Nantz Award. The award is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sports broadcaster by Sportscasters Talent Agency of America.

It’s the fourth time in the 11-year history of the award, and the first time since 2015, that the trophy has been earned by a Syracuse student.
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Top 30 Sportscasters Under 30: 2018 Edition

In 2014, STAA compiled a list of the top 30 Sports Broadcasters in the U.S. under 30 years old. Ryan Ruocco was our No. 1 and continues to flourish.

In the ensuing years, we’ve been asked repeatedly to publish an updated list.

Finally, we have.
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STAA members showcased on network radio, TV

Last weekend was one of my more memorable sports TV weekends.

staa members on air

Friday night, I DVR’d Fox Sports West’s telecast of the Mission Viejo High School – San Clemente football game. I spent eight years in Mission Viejo and still enjoy following their powerhouse football program. Anyway, I turn on the game and STAA member Sam Farber is doing the play-by-play. Eventually, he tossed it to sideline reporter Courtney Sweet, another STAA member!
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Jon Chelesnik didn’t start STAA; this guy did

This week’s holiday got me thinking about someone for whom I’m grateful for his role with STAA.


Before STAA, I was in a business partnership. My partner was a smart, enjoyable individual but his skill set didn’t fit the business model. Yet, his share of the profits was equal to mine.
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Top reasons to enter the STAA All-America Program

Applications for the 9th annual STAA All-America program open in March. If you’ve been on the fence about whether you should apply this year, I have 5 reasons why you absolutely should be submitting your demo for the Jim Nantz Award.

apply to STAA all-america program

1. Have your demo seen by the best

The Jim Nantz Award winner and All-Americans are selected by a panel of top sports broadcasters and industry professionals.

Previous judges include Tom Boman, Learfield Sports Broadcast Manager; Mark Boyle, Indiana Pacers; Wes Durham, Atlanta Falcons & Georgia Tech University; Chris Ferris, VP-Broadcast Division IMG, Paul Keels, Cincinnati Reds & Ohio State University; Chuck Swirsky, Chicago Bulls; Mike Keith, Tennessee Titans; Bob Licht, New Orleans Hornets; Chuck Barrett, University of Arkansas; and Bill Roth, Virginia Tech University.
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