St. Bonaventure University’s Jandoli School of Communication, already with a rich history of producing acclaimed sports journalists, will begin offering a bachelor of arts degree in Sports Media this fall.
New York’s State Education Department approved the program last week.
“Given the name recognition alone of the sports journalists this university has turned out, it makes perfect sense for us to offer a degree specifically geared toward students seeking careers in sports media,” said Aaron Chimbel, dean of the Jandoli School. “Plus, having a Division I athletics program creates a number of tremendous opportunities for our students without having to leave campus.”
Jandoli School students already broadcast the university’s Division I games on ESPN+ and a group of students recently went to Atlanta to cover Super Bowl LIII. Many student media members also covered the Bonnies’ NCAA men’s basketball tournament games in Dayton and Dallas last March.
Among SBU’s distinguished sports media alumni are Adrian Wojnarowski (’91), Chris LaPlaca (’79) and Tim Bontemps (’07) at ESPN; Mike Vaccaro (’89) at the New York Post; Rachel Axon (’06) at USA Today; Todd Dybas (’99) at NBC Sports Washington; Donna Ditota (’83) at the Syracuse Post-Standard; and Shannon Shepherd (’12) at Fox Sports West.
St. Bonaventure has also turned out many alumni who’ve gone on to successful careers in college sports information offices.
Students enrolled in the major will learn the same communications fundamentals as in the Jandoli School’s existing majors in journalism and strategic communication through the core Jandoli School curriculum, and then focus on sports-related classes, Chimbel said.
The combined course of study prepares them for communication careers in a variety of sports-related fields, including sports writing, sports broadcasting, public relations, marketing communications, and sports information.
“We consulted with some of our alumni on the need for the major and also solicited their ideas about the content of the program,” Chimbel said. “One thing they all stressed — that a focus on writing was particularly crucial.”
A higher education study showed strong student demand for bachelor’s-level sports communication programs, while national demand for sports communication professionals grew 29 percent from 2013 to 2017.