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Winners of the 2014 College Sports Media Awards — a highlight of SVG’s College Sports Summit — were announced during a ceremony last night at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Sponsored by Ross Video and PROMISE Technology and presented by SVG and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the CSMAs celebrate the best in video production at all levels of college sports, from students and university athletic departments to regional and national networks.
“The College Sports Media Awards have been a really integral part of building out not just this conference but, as I see it, college sports production in general,” said Tom Buffolano, chairman of the College Sports Media Awards. “And every year, we get more entries; this year, [we got] the highest number of entries ever: over 300.”
Before recognizing the night’s winners, SVG paid tribute to Michigan State’s Rick Church in what has become another highlight of the Summit: the third-annual SVG College Sports Summit Pioneer Award. Florida State’s Mark Rodin, last year’s Pioneer Award recipient, presented the award to Church.
With more than three decades’ experience in sports video, including nearly two decades working full time with the Spartans, Church has been an influential personality in broadcast-technology infrastructure and in-venue video entertainment. And throughout his tenure, Church has stressed to his students that working in this industry might be hard work but it also should be fun.
“The way I look at it, we’re in college athletics. College athletics is a game. Games are not as important as the students’ being there to become graduates [and enter] the real world,” said Church. “It’s a college game, so, if we’re not in it to have fun and have a good time, we need to be doing something else.”
Currently in their sixth year, the CSMAs included a number of firsts. Half of this year’s award winners, selected from a record-breaking number of entries, were first-time recipients. And the awards ceremony had a new look, with ESPN’s Rece Davis hosting the ceremony for the first time.
The award for Outstanding Promotion, PSA, Tease, or Marketing Campaign began with a win for University of South Carolina’s Gamecock Productions, which took home the award in this category for the third straight year. Fox Sports South was honored for its Black History Month Campaign, and Turner Sports/NCAA.com won for a death-defying March Madness promo shot over the Grand Canyon.
Like those who preceded him in the category, Purdue University’s Stephen Hall was quick to thank his entire staff for their hard work and dedication on Purdue Football Open, not only to the project but to the university as well.
“Everybody who was on the production team that made that particular video was either a current Purdue student or a past Purdue student,” said Hall, Director of Purdue University’s Hall of Music Productions. “When it’s all said and done, when you can pass the torch to the next generation and help the students go on and take their place in this business, that’s a good legacy to have.”
Next, Outstanding Special Feature took center stage, with awards recognizing the University of North Texas in the Collegiate Athletics division and Longhorn Network in the Regional/Local Networks slot. Since launching in 2011, Longhorn Network has taken home five CSMAs.
Ball State Sports Link secured the Special Feature award in the Collegiate Student division for the fourth straight year, while Fox Sports 1 received its first-ever CSMA for its Beat Michigan special feature.
“[For] a 13-year employee of ESPN before Fox, it feels pretty good beating four other ESPN features,” quipped producer Rick Thomas. “But, with a story like this, as the great [ESPN reporter] Tom Rinaldi told me several times, just don’t get in the way. Let the family tell their story, and do it right.”
Continuing its CSMA dominance in recent years, Ball State Sports Link took home its second award of the night for 3rd Down Chirp in the Outstanding Program Series category, the university’s sixth all-time win. Drew Adamson, who serves as executive producer of the show and accepted the award, thanked the man who has transformed the program into the perennial powerhouse it is today: Ball State Director of Digital Sports Productions Chris Taylor.
“I’d like to thank C.T. especially,” says Adamson. “We’ve had a long time going here for three years now, and it’s been a great ride.”
Rounding out the category were three first-time CSMA recipients: 3 Penny Films for its University of Notre Dame Strong and True series; Mind Over Media for Penn State’s Hockey Valley series; and University of San Francisco for its To Be a Don series.
“I sure as heck hope this gets my first full-time assistant working for me,” laughed Katie Morgan, director of creative video, University of San Francisco. “Above all, [I’d like to thank] the student-athletes, who are just so amazing. I’m so glad, for a mid-major school, I can finally give them a voice.”
In a shift from ceremonies past, the award for Outstanding Live Game and Event Production was the final category of the evening rather than the first. Middle Tennessee University and University of North Carolina secured first-time CSMA wins in the Collegiate Students and Collegiate Athletics divisions, respectively, and Fox Sports South took home its CSMA for Kentucky vs. South Carolina football.
CBS secured its first CSMA in this category since 2010, when it won for the memorable NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game between Butler and Duke. This year’s winner? Another memorable, down-to-the-wire game: Auburn’s improbable last-minute Iron Bowl win over Alabama.
“Our production crew is a very tight-knit and hardworking family, so I’m really excited to be able to take this back and share it with them,” said Julie Keryc, who served as AD for the production. “We love what we do, and it’s because we get to work on SEC football week after week.”
CLICK HERE to watch all nominated videos, which can be viewed on Vimeo. A full list of winners follows.
Stay tuned to Sportsvideo.org and the SVG Insider newsletter next week for video of the full ceremony.
OUTSTANDING LIVE GAME AND EVENT PRODUCTION
CBS Sports | Football – 2013 Iron Bowl: Alabama vs. Auburn
Fox Sports South | Football – Kentucky vs. South Carolina
University of North Carolina | Baseball – NCAA Regional Game 7: Florida Atlantic vs. North Carolina
Middle Tennessee State University | Men’s Basketball – Middle Tennessee State vs. East Carolina
OUTSTANDING PROGRAM SERIES
3 Penny Films (for University of Notre Dame) | Strong and True
Mind Over Media | Penn State Hockey – Hockey Valley series
University of San Francisco | To Be a Don
Ball State Sports Link | 3rd Down Chirp
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL FEATURE
Fox Sports 1 | Beat Michigan
Longhorn Network | Case McCoy
University of North Texas | From War Vet to Defensive End
Ball State Sports Link | One Drive – James Blackwell
OUTSTANDING PROMOTION, PSA, TEASE, OR MARKETING CAMPAIGN
Turner Sports/NCAA.com | NCAA March Madness – The Killers “Shot at the Night” Promo
Fox Sports South | Black History Month Campaign
Purdue University | Purdue Football Open
University of South Carolina/Gamecock Productions | 2014 South Carolina Softball Intro
Brandon Costa contributed to this report.