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Sports communication major in the works for Illinois State University

Written by on February 25, 2024

NORMAL, Ill. – The School of Communication at Illinois State University has been given authority for a new major of sports communication, it was approved Board of Trustees approved at their meeting on Feb. 16.

The next step for this major is getting approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) for it to come to ISU. The IBHE will need to make sure the program is up to their standards and the timeline of this is still unknown.

Professor Peter Smudde, Ph.D., and other ISU School of Communication professors drafted the idea in the spring of 2022.

The main reason behind this idea was from statistics of ISU’s admissions.

“There were lots of prospective students looking on ISU’s website for Sports Communication and not finding it,” Smudde said. “Pretty much hundreds on a daily basis.”

If approved, roughly 40 students are estimated to pick up the major in the first year. Around the fifth year, approximately 250 students are expected.

“We’re in a pretty good place because what started out in the earliest stages as a germ of an idea, to a fully articulated program that is now being finalized by IBHE,” Smudde said.

The program will feature new courses for students to take with those being Com 341 – Media Society in Sport and Com 259 – Strategic Communication in Sports. The required courses for all School of Communication majors will still play a part in the program – Com 111, Com 161, etc.

“There will be room for electives and two of those are in different departments. One is in Kinesiology and Recreation and the other is in Sociology,” Smudde said. “The objective is to enable our students in those fields because they are so germane to the subject of Sports Communication,” he added.

It is not certain whether the IBHE will approve the major but Smudde and his team remain hopeful.

“The School of Communication has done extremely well in all of its pursuits,” Smudde said. “By adding this program well be able to support not only the school’s value to the university, but serves so many more students that give back to society for their profession.”