Why are DII play-by-play jobs so hard to find?

Have you ever lost your car keys? You know they are somewhere in the house, yet you can’t find them.

Finding NCAA Division II play-by-play jobs can be similarly frustrating.

Aspiring NFL and major college play-by-play broadcasters often see DII as a step towards their goal. Finding those jobs, though, is hard.

Why are DII jobs so scarce?

One reason they’re elusive is because they aren’t advertised as play-by-play positions. Local radio stations employ most DII broadcasters. That means the openings are part of larger position description featuring news, a daily air shift and/or sales.

A second reason for the relative scarcity of DII openings is that they rarely turn over. You would think turnover would be consistent as guys try to move up. It’s not the case.

To help understand why turnover at the DII level is minimal, I asked several DII broadcasters.

Their hypotheses were eye opening.

1. Facilities

Facilities and fan support at the DII level are usually pretty good, so folks hang onto the positions. Many DII voices are in their 40s and 50s; they’ve been there awhile and they’re probably going to be there a while longer.

2. Ceilings

One broadcaster told me he believes a lot of guys doing DII are at their ceilings. He said, “I’m not trying to be mean when I say this but it just may be they’re not going to get any better.”

3. Tough moving up

It’s so difficult to make the jump from DII to DI. Maybe you’ve heard me reference “writing the press release.” DI schools must be able to sell their new voice to the fans. It’s harder to sell somebody coming from DII than it is from someone from another DI school – even if they were just the women’s basketball voice.

There are many talented broadcasters at DII who maybe don’t get the chance because it’s difficult to write the press release. DII resumes don’t carry the same weight in the eyes of decision makers as something with DI attached to it.

How do I move up from DII?

Moving up from DII is challenging, but not impossible.

1. Always be improving

It sounds trite but nobody has ever hit their ceiling unless they stopped trying to improve.

2. Never take a game off

You don’t know who’s listening. Someone might be driving through your community hearing you for the first time thinking, “I love this guy!”

3. Build relationships

Upward mobility is often more about who you know than what you know. When that DI job opens, be sure you have people in your corner who will go to bat for you.

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