After being approved in October, the new sports communication major has already generated more than 60 applicants.
Director of Admissions Marketing and Communication Tom Richmond said this is a good number for a new program. In comparison, well-established majors such as advertising and public relations usually only have around 40 applicants.
The new program will educate students in all aspects of the sports industry such as sports journalism, advertising, entertainment, broadcast production, sports public relations and promotion.
“One of the myths I’m trying to dispel about this major is that it’s not a sports radio and TV play-by-play major.” Communication Department Chairman Paul Gullifor said. “We’re trying to expose students to all the aspects of a sports-dedicated society.”
There are many different versions of this major offered at other universities nationally, but Gullifor said Bradley is one of few offering such a diverse form.
“It puts us in front of many institutions,” he said. “This is not a common offering at other schools and it’s an idea that is just gaining traction.”
Richmond said he agreed.
“I think it’s interesting to note there are very few sports communication majors,” he said. “We’re probably the only school in the Midwest who will be offering the major. There are sports management or sports broadcasting majors. But, sports communication is very rare.”
The program was approved by the University Senate in October 2008, and the Communication Department has been accepting applications ever since. The program has generated the interest of about sixty applicants.
He also said he thinks Bradley and Peoria offer many opportunities which will allow students internships and experience in this field.
“It’s much easier to get experience with minor league sports, and we have many Div. I sports here in Peoria,” Richmond said. “The next level under that would be high school sports which are popular here and we of course have college sports. Very few cities can offer all that.”
Also, the addition of this major is necessary because many students have expressed interest in the field, Gullifor said.
There have also been many graduates from Bradley who go into jobs in the field.
Senior public relations major Aurora Felty said she experienced this firsthand when she got to participate in an internship with the Chicago Bears.
Bradley alumnus Matt Black, the advertising and events coordinator for the Bears, informed a professor about the position and after rounds of interviews selected Felty to be a Game Day intern.
“This internship was very valuable,” she said. “As a Game Day intern, I was able to see what it takes to make the Bears experience great for fans. I experienced everything from premium distribution of promotion items, to helping stage a half-time show.”
She also said she thinks the major will be in high demand.
“If sports com had been available, I definitely would have majored in it,” Felty said. “I think the addition of a sports communication major is fantastic. There is a lot of interest in this field right now, and I think the addition of a sports com major will allow Bradley to attract a lot more students in the future.”