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On Saturday, December 10th, 2011 the UW-Whitewater Warhawks football team had a tremendous opportunity to host the semi-final game against the University of St. Thomas, whom they have not played since 1990, before some of the players were even born.  The game was broadcast live on ESPN3, the sport network’s online streaming site, which was an amazing opportunity for UW-Whitewater since no major broadcasting network has ever come to campus to broadcast a Warhawk sports game.  This provided opportunities for the College of Arts and Communication in association with the cable news station, as ESPN3 needed help on game day with communication and analysis of the game.  Three students from the College of Arts and Communication –Kyle Wallace, Britin Kastein, and Jason Nichols were given the opportunity to see how a major sports network broadcasts a game.

Kastein is senior broadcast journalism major and Wallace is a senior broadcast journalism major with a public relations minor.  Their experience as the Warhawk’s basketball and football announcers, combined with Wallace’s internship at 540 AM ESPN’s Milwaukee station the past three summers, made them a perfect fit for the job.  Kastein was in charge of gathering stats for the booth announcers from the field for the game.  This opportunity coincided perfectly with his goal to become a play-by-play announcer for a major sports network.  The announcers, who normally don’t cover division III football, relied heavily on the students’ involvement on providing them with stats for both teams.  Wallace spent the game up in the booth between the two announcers with headphones on and was able to listen to all the communication on the field.  Kyle was acting as a talent statistician and kept track of the big players and potential big plays that were made, which parallels with Wallace’s carrer track of being a live sport analyst.

Spectators may have noticed a man dressed in red on the field during the game, this was Nichols, who was responsible for being the communication between the referees and the booth.  This was particularly important for this game because they had to work the game around ESPN3’s commercials that they aired, not usually a factor when UWWTV broadcasts games.  This experience prepared students for future jobs because as Wallace said, “I received a lot of great contacts from working with ESPN3, it was a great networking opportunity.”  Britin’s comments were similar, “This was the greatest opportunity that I could have going to college for my future career.

Not only was this a positive experience for the students but the ESPN3 crew and affiliates were also grateful for UW-Whitewater as they said in a letter to the Athletic Director, “UW-Whitewater has what other Division I and II schools could only dream of.”

These opportunities turned into victories for both the students involved in the behind the scenes work and for the Warhawks football team by going on to win the football game (20-0) putting them in the finals against Mount Union, who they defeated again (13-10).  In the end it was a win-win situation for students attending the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on and off the field.