What Does a Sports Information Director Do?
A sports information director essentially works behind the scenes for an athletic program. He is usually responsible for covering all of the sports that a college or university participates in. This means big sports like football and basketball, as well as smaller ones like swimming and tennis. Some of the primary duties of a sports information director include attending and summarizing sporting events, recording statistics, arranging interviews and reporting to the media.
An essential aspect of this job is attending sporting events and providing a summary afterward. During each event, a sports information director is responsible for paying attention to player accomplishments. In addition, he will record the scores and overall happenings of the game. This information will be distributed to various media outlets afterward.
Another big part of the job is to consistently record accurate statistics from sporting events. For example, if a sports information director attended a baseball game, he would record information like each hitter's batting average and each pitcher's earned run average. If he attended a football game, he would record information like a quarterback's passing yards and touchdown completions. This information is valuable and can affect the future of both athletes and coaches. It's therefore imperative that everything recorded is completely factual and accurate.
Arranging interviews between the media and coaches or players is another responsibility of this position. Basically, a sports information director serves as a middle man between the media and athletic teams. To this end, he will set up a time for interviews to be conducted and provide media with statistics from each athletic event.
He is also often responsible for arranging any type of special event that involves the athletic department. Some examples include autograph signings and hall of fame inductions. In turn, this helps to publicize the athletic department's accomplishments and helps it to achieve notoriety. This is important because it can affect the department's budget. Getting attention, especially on the national level, can consequently help funnel more money into the school's program.
Additionally, consistently reporting to the media is common practice. Any pertinent information like player statistics, game scores and highlight plays are documented and shared with the media. Sometimes this information is distributed to a magazine, and other times to a website or online publication. If he works for a big name school, information might also be given to a television or radio show as well. As a result, it's important for a sports information director to be organized and possess effective communication skills.
@matthewc23 - To answer your question there are not majors or anything like that out there specifically for Sports Information Directors, and the major they would usually take to fall into some type of position like that would probably be Sports Management or some variation of that major.
I will say that you do not have to go to school for this job in order to specialize in it. I have noticed that most of the time it comes down to experience and climbing the ladder and who you know. I know a guy that was a theatre major in college, but played a sport and after he got his masters in theatre he was hired as the Sports Information Director at a small college because they needed someone desperately and he was capable of doing it.
I say it revolves around your connections and who you know and how capable you can be. Some people are hired because they can handle the media and have good communication skills and are able to create good press releases.
I have to wonder if there is any type of special schooling that is needed in order to become a sports information director.
I would think that there are college classes out there that provide what is necessary for someone to become either a sports information director or a an assistant sports information director, but I do not know of very many types of majors or classes provided for people looking to fall into this type of profession.
@kentuckycat - You're right -- just imagine if it was a big time University. That is when the Sports Information Director has to handle the media and press releases on top of the normal duties of his job.
I found helping out a Sports Information Director to be a fun job, that requires a lot of work. Because I also went to a small college it was normal for the people who kept the stats, most of the time being student workers, to be off a little bit on the statistics and that is when people like me helping or the Sports Information Director himself, to review the video, if available, of the game and determine what needed to be added or subtracted.
This is a major issue sometimes with small college Sports Information Directors as the statistics have to be as accurate as possible with the NCAA.
I often helped assist a sports information director at a small Division III college and I can say that he did quite a bit of work and needed the help.
His job required him to not only send off stats to the NCAA, it also required him to go to as many athletic competitions as he could. This became a problem when there were multiple sports playing at the same time and he usually had to send someone like me over to assist him and we would eventually show up to oversee everything.
Many times he had to travel between multiple sites that were hosting sports competitions and I could tell that it was fairly stressful.
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