Course schedule
(subject to change, so don't print out once and treat as gospel; refer back regularly)

Class session
Texts, Readings, Resources

Week 1: Jan. 8

Course introduction

ESPN-college football symbiosis

Artifacts: LSU promotional video | UGA promotional video | Clemson's new $55M football complex | Top programs running HUGE deficits (whole series here) | Pentagon "reunions"| College Media Sports convention in Nashville next month

For Wednesday: NYTimes series on ESPN & football (3 articles: one | two | three)

For Friday: Real reading

Week 2: Jan. 15

No class Monday: MLK Day

College football & religion | The SuperBowl as Mythic Spectacle

Where to spend all that Div I cash? Putt Putt and laser tag | Support staff | Videoboards and stadia | Million dollar assistant coaches | Super Bowl Activity Pack for Women | Monuments meet Take A Knee | TFI/ESPN Sports Documentary Grant

Due Wednesday: takeaways/residual questions for the three NYTimes articles on ESPN-Louisville (here's a model for how to do this well; and another model -- Maggie Stansell's); read this Bleacher Report on Take A Knee

For all your takeaways & residuals, this list of titles our library has put on reserve for this class.

For Friday: read/view this ESPN report on Louisville basketball

Week 3: Jan. 22

Sports media, sports media as innovators

SPECIAL: Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2-2:45pm, Collin McHugh speaking to only COM 205 guests | And a photo to prove it

Superbowl advertising and "the corporate orgy"

Artifacts: Jerry Rice for Mercedes (the second ad) | Pepsi's crop circles | Advertising for SB 50 | Apple ad '1984' for SuperBowl that year | Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh | The Sports Business Daily | Ed Cunningham's mic drop | Nick Saban, sponsored by Coke, Dasani, AT&T (thanks, Shayne!) | database of football coach salaries (USA Today) | a coach's actual cost to the institution | Holding big-time college football accountable (and FSU's response) | ESPN public editor Jim Brady on Snapchat, attribution policies, esports & WWE

For Monday: Takeaways/residual questions for the Real reading.

For Wednesday:

  1. Wall Street Journal on exploiting college athletes
  2. O'Barr reading

For Friday:

  1. Comment to BC's blog post on sports and identity ( found in Ch. 1)
  2. Plato's Living In a Cave

Week 4: Jan. 29

Is Div I college football commercial exploitation? And what is media's role in all of this?

John Oliver's take | Football majors? | | A degree in athletics?

The Cave, education, freedom and the good life (and the Super Bowl)

Friday: Special guest Bob Ryan of ESPN, The Boston Globe

Artifacts: Empathic capacity | The Players' Tribune, Derek Jeter, founding publisher | Problems with Nielsen ratings & Netflix | Recording of first Super Bowl | ECT: NFL's existential threat | PBS Frontline's League of Denial | Simulation of effects of a big hit

For funsies: Puppy Bowl update | footage of the 1951 Princeton football team | USA Soccer Foundation fellow position | Domingo Ayala: How to hit like Tim Tebow | the relief pitcher 'yog'

Read for Wednesday: LeBon reading; Sanderson reading

Takeaways/questions due Wednesday for either LeBon OR Sanderson (pick one)

Week 5: Feb. 5

Fans | Brooklyn Dodgers: Ghosts of Flatbush

Mythology and Ritual

"Life is a Ball Game" Sister Wynona Carr | How Nike lost Steph Curry | Aztec golf tricks

For funsies: Zeus and his many 'gods' | Sabermetrics course on EdX | Boston U. F2F version

Read for Monday: Butterworth reading and Manjoo (very short); takeaways/residuals due for Butterworth

First writing response due Friday at the beginning of class (no emailed submissions). Instructions here.

Week 6: Feb. 12

"It's gotta be the shoes!": Race, religion, mythology and Lebron

The social construction of race: Key & Peele's White-sounding Black Guys | Key & Peele's A Capella (uncensored) | The Race Draft (Chappelle)

Where all this came from: "It's Gotta Be the Shoes" with Mars Blackmon (1991) | "I am not a role model"

Lebron & Nike:

For funsies: SI's 'plus-size' model? Really? | Jeter's last game | Jeter's walk to the ballpark | SportsCenter in a better world (Key & Peele) | Premier League headed for trouble?

Read for Monday: Mocarski reading on LeBron

Due Wednesday: takeaways/questions for Mocarski reading

Read for later (and for now): What's supposed to be going on here? (Wayne Booth)

Jorie's 10/10 Mocarski

Week 7: Feb. 19

Finish Mocarski | Key & Peele closet racist sportscast

Adidas sneaker scandal

NFL, the national anthem and protests: The Spectacle & The Brand | NFL ad response (thanks, Nick!)

The whitewashing of #TakeAKnee | The Daily Show on adidas scandal | Times's reporting on the scandal | WaPo follo on adidas scandal | Alex Morgan in the Times | Alex Morgan bio vid (thanks, Jenna!) | Alex Morgan in a Nike ad

Due Wednesday: Writing response #2

Due Friday: takeaways/questions for Feder reading

Week 8: Feb. 26

Gender & Race

Friday: Berry volleyball, No. 1

>> Figure skating uniforms? | TIDES Race and Gender Report Cards | White running backs | Does race explain disfavor toward paying college athletes? | Cam Newton puts size 12 shoe into mouth | Alex Morgan kicked out of Disney | Really? Really! (thanks, Morgan!)

Being a female sports journalists and dealing with hate | Heroes for girls | Nike & the Arab World (thanks, Anna!) | ESPNW and removing the female apologetic (thanks, Lauren!) | Run like a girl?!? (thanks, Sara!) | Serena on "best athlete" | NCAA 'Enough' (thanks, Haiden!) | WNBA ad -- Sheryl Swoopes

Womens Sports Foundation | Women's pro hockey league coverage (NYT) | Girl Power

Due Wednesday: takeaways/questions for Bridgeman reading

Read for Friday: Utah Gymnastics

Week 9: March 5

Finish up gender

UNC fraud: Who was fired | Colbert: USA Soccer

No class next week: Spring Break

Due Monday: Writing Response #3: Booth & Plato

Due Wednesday: takeaways/questions for Blackistone

Week 10: March 19


Social media & sports communication

Hazards of being a female sports reporter: Erin Andrews | A1 story in last week's Times

Death of local sports coverage? The Athletic | How Protest Works | Virginia hires black female AD | WaPo update on 'take a knee' controversy | NAIA moves championship over anthem | YES Network (Yankees) buys into e-sports property | The life of a sportswriter

Due Monday: read another Butterworth, on McGwire & Sosa, to get us ready for the World Series; comment on the gender post at Wandering Rocks

Read for Friday: Social media & Kentucky's Calipari; U.S. National Women's Hockey team

Week 11: March 26

Social media, Heroes, The Black Press

For funsies: Another reason the NCAA is evil | U.S. spending on defense | MLB players underpaid?!? | First female editor of a national sports publication (see what she says about "heroes") | Muscular femininity (from Jenn) | The growth of UFC | UPDATE: NFL and CTE

No class Friday: Good Friday

For Monday: takeaways/residuals for Carroll reading

For Wednesday:Murderball reading; takeaways/residuals for this reading

Week 12: April 2

Sports & Identity, Sports & 'Ableism'
Murderball | The documentary | Canada v. Australia (gold, 2012)

Business of sports: Skateboarding (and Ryan Sheckler)

John Oliver on stadia (from Michael) | Reaction to Las Vegas stadium deal (from Hunter) | "Does Football Have a Future?" from the New Yorker magazine | UNC's success/failure

Due Wednesday: Takeaways/questions for Jenkem reading

Week 13: April 9

Business models

  • NFL
  • NBA
  • Nascar

MLB 'holiday' unis (thanks, Hunter!) | Golfweek's 'noose' cover (thanks, Cole!) | Thanksgiving at the Bobbys

Due Monday: Takeaways/questions for Andrews reading.


Week 14: April 16

Monday: Finish NFL; begin Nascar

E-sports, Fantasy Sports, Gaming & Gambling (the commodification of the sports fan and, especially of the uber sports fan)

Fantasy Sports Trade Assn. | Who's involved? | first female GM in baseball? (thanks, Jesse!) | first football scholarship to a female (thanks, Sara!) | NASCAR internship

Wednesday: Crisis Communication & Apologia
>Baker Mayfield after obscene jesture to KU fans
>Cam Newton for sexism
>Maria Sharapova after drug test
>Tiger Woods after his accident
>Ray Rice apology
>Roger Goodell sort of apology
>A Rod in ESPN The Magazine (no quotes)
>The actual piece
>Key & Peele "You Can Fly" (except that you can't, literallly)

Read for Wednesday: Wingfield reading on "e-sports"

Due Friday: Takeaways/questions for Billings & Ruihley reading

Week 15: April 23

Last day of class: Your takeaways and residuals for the entire course.



>final: take-home due TBA (printed out, stapled, with honor pledge, under my door or in my box in main office)

pepp patty

keep your eyes on the prize!

Some digital sources:


Course Description: An introduction to and overview of the sports communication field, including media organizations, marketing and advertising firms, and team and leagues. Topics covered include sports journalism; digital media, including social media; broadcast and publishing; team and league media relations; college sports information; and marketing, promotions and advertising.

Course Purpose & Objectives: By the end of this course, my goal is for students to --  

  • Understand the evolution and development of sports as an industry
  • Become aware of the various careers in sports communication
  • Understand the history and development of sports journalism
  • Appreciate the ethical issues specific to sports that face the communicator and/or journalist covering sports
  • Understand the agency of U.S. media with regards to race and gender
  • Better understand crisis management specific to sports industries

What you will need (required):

  • Billings, Andrew C., Butterworth, Michael L., and Turman, Paul D., Communication and Sport: Surveying the Field, 3d edition (London: Sage, 2018).

What you may want (recommended but not required):

  • A subscription to Sports Illustrated
  • Daily access to ESPN’s SportsCenter
  • Roger Caillois, Man, Play, Games
  • Eduardo Galeano, Soccer in Sun and Shadow
  • Allen Guttman, From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports
  • Gustave LeBon, The Crowd 
  • Orin Starn, The Passion of Tiger Woods

Stuff you need to know:

Professor: Dr. Brian Carroll
Office: Laughlin Hall 100
Office phone: 368.6944
Home page:
Blog: Wandering Rocks

Office hours: MWF: 2-4pm; T: 1-5pm | by appointment | walk-ins are welcome


  • Attendance: Attendance is a part of your grade. Be here every day on time, just as you would for a job, surgery or even a haircut. Everyone gets one unexcused absence or late arrival, maybe two, with no questions asked. Stuff happens. After that, unexcused and/or unexplained absences (and/or lateness) will result in point deductions from the "professionalism and participation" portion of your grade -- one point for each unexcused absence and/or late arrival. What is excused is at the instructor's discretion, so you are best served by discussing situations and extraordinary circumstances prior to class whenever possible.
  • Distractions: This instructor is easily distracted. Ringing, buzzing or vibrating mobiles, therefore, will be lobbed out of the classroom window and/or run over with a truck. Chatter during lecture will result in "professionalism and participation" point deductions, as will Facebooking, texting or any other use of unauthorized devices during lecture or topic presentations, particularly after a warning has been issued. Do homework for other classes somewhere else. Leave your laptop at home. If you have to arrive late or leave early, clear it with the instructor beforehand whenever possible.
  • Preparation: Complete the assignments, do the readings and be ready to tackle the activities of the day. Be ready to discuss, even to debate.
  • Academic integrity: Because academic integrity is the foundation of college life at Berry, academic dishonesty will result in automatic failure on the assignment in question. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following: cheating, unauthorized collaboration, plagiarism, fabrication, submitting the same work in multiple courses, and aiding and abetting. For definitions of these terms, please consult the instructor. Additionally, violators will be reported in writing to the Provost. Students who are sanctioned for violating the academic integrity policy forfeit the right to withdraw from the class with a grade of “W.”

How you will be graded:

Dailies (quizzes, responses, takeaways) 90%
Professionalism and participation 10%

For daily projects and blog posts, grades of check plus, check, check minus, and zero will be awarded. Roughly translated, check plusses = As; checks = Bs; and check minuses = Cs. The wide variability of subjectivity of these daily assignments, such as “bring in three examples of metonymic symbolism,” preclude a more precise grading scheme. The check system also facilitates a faster turnaround time.

To compute your final grade, add up your point totals, apply the appropriate percentages, then refer to the grading system summarized here:

59 and below

Definitions of the grades can be found in the Berry College Bulletin. “A” students will demonstrate an outstanding mastery of course material and will perform far above that required for credit in the course and far above that usually seen in the course. The “A” grade should be awarded sparingly and should identify student performance that is relatively unusual in the course.

Berry Viking code
Academic dishonesty in any form is unacceptable because any breach in academic integrity, however small, strikes destructively at the college’s life and work. The code is not just policy, it is foundational to the academic environment we enjoy and in which scholarship thrives. It is in force in this classroom.

For the complete Viking Code, please consult the student handbook. In short, each student is “expected to recognize constituted authority, to abide by the ordinary rules of good conduct, to be truthful, to respect the rights of others.” The College’s mission, in part, commits to a community of integrity and justice. During an era when ethics are sometimes suspect, there seems no higher goal toward which students ought to strive than that of personal honor.

Students with special needs
If you have special needs of any kind, including learning disabilities, please let me know. Come discuss it with me. I want to make sure on the front end that we prevent any problems associated with the course. The Academic Support Center suggests the following: “Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodation in this course are encouraged to contact the Academic Support Center in Memorial Library as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.”

Finally, I believe we are here for a good time, not a long time, so let’s have some fun!

bc home | berry home | email the prof

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