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MSU Sport Studies & Sport Administration Students Work with Production of ESPN College GameDay

By Jackson Pullen, senior sport studies major

MSU Sport Studies & Sport Administration Students Work with Production of ESPN College GameDay

The Mississippi State Bulldogs and Auburn Tigers have competed on the football field 88 times, meeting every year since 1955. It was the most recent contest on Saturday, October 11, however, that had the most electrifying atmosphere and the highest stakes. This particular matchup was the first time that Mississippi State University had hosted ESPN’s iconic college football Saturday preview show, College GameDay. This gave several students from the MSU Sport Studies and Sport Administration program the opportunity to work behind-the-scenes of the GameDay set. Said Jay Lee, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sport studies, “The Gameday atmosphere was amazing from start to finish. I think most people were just as excited about College GameDay being in town as they were about the football game. The experience of seeing the students rushing towards me to get a good spot was unforgettable. The overall energy of the crowd when GameDay had the countdown Coke zero fan section was incredible!”

Robyn Coleman, a senior sport studies major, shared her experience working with GameDay: “My time at College Gameday was an absolutely amazing experience. I got a chance to meet the ESPN anchors as well as everyone that works behind the scenes. I was able to get a better understanding of the job by talking to the people who work for GameDay and hearing what it is like for them on a daily basis. I was able to see first-hand how fast paced everything is and how it takes a team effort to get the job done. My role was mainly setting up College GameDay and assisting the anchors with anything they needed. I also helped with painting signs for the crowd behind the anchors, so it looked like we had a ton of huge signs representing our school on television. My most memorable experience of the weekend was going on the GameDay bus. I was able to see what it looked like and how they market the bus. I also found it very interesting seeing the media bus’ technology that brings the whole show together. I’m truly blessed I had the opportunity to work with College GameDay, and it was amazing meeting different people who make it all come together. I was told a quote that really stuck with me, and I feel like it matches my journey, ‘Your career is what you’re paid for but your calling is what you’re made for.’”

While the thrill of working with one of college football’s iconic shows and seeing the electric atmosphere it helped provide Starkville was rewarding in itself, the experience helped several students establish professional connections in the industry as well as provide them insight about what they want to do with their careers in the future. Will Rudolph, a sport administration master’s degree student, says that one of the things he learned working for ESPN was that they use an outside company called Octagon to manage their different sponsorships. “I worked closely with those employees over the weekend, and I was able to establish connections in the industry and also learn about internship opportunities available through Octagon,” Rudolph said. “During my down time, I found myself constantly asking the staff questions regarding activation and the other clients that Octagon works with.”

John Crawford, another MSU sport studies student, also talked about his positive experience working with ESPN and College GameDay and how it has helped him consider potential career paths in the industry. “My experience was incredible. I enjoyed every minute working with ESPN College Gameday on Friday and Saturday,” Crawford said. “It was a surreal feeling getting to go behind the scenes of a program that I would watch every Saturday growing up. After having such a great time working with them, it is definitely something I will consider doing as a career once I graduate.”