As March Madness Begins, Sports Media Production Students Bring the Game to You

Manhattan College students are producing high-level basketball broadcasts on ESPN.

Students working in the ESPN mobile production unitAs basketball programs around the country gear up for March Madness the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments a group of Manhattan College students is working behind the scenes to capture the action.

Since 2019, students in the Manhattan College sports media production program have used a high-tech ESPN production truck parked outside Draddy Gym as their classroom. Inside the truck, a handful of students produce every one of the Jaspers’ home men’s and women’s basketball games on the ESPN family of networks. 

They continued their work at this year’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Basketball tournament in Atlantic City.

“We do everything live. It’s all hands on,” said Joe Ruggiero, the producer and director of ESPN productions at the College. “It’s not about papers. It’s not about tests. It’s about actual work in the industry.”

“We’re one of the schools asked to participate based on merit. I will put our broadcast up against anyone else’s in the league,” Ruggiero said. “Students have picked up on everything so fast. We have a good crop of students and it’s going to keep growing.”

The experiences students have received over the past three years has resulted in a variety of internships and jobs in the sports media industry. A recent graduate currently works in the NBA and current students have interned with the YES Network, MSG Network, the United Soccer League, New York Liberty and CBS Sports, which recently offered Samantha Gaddy ’22 a managerial position after graduation.

“None of that would have been possible without my experience working the basketball games,” Gaddy said. “The way our producer, Joe Ruggiero, throws you into the deep end and tells you to swim is one of the most adrenaline-inducing experiences I've ever had and one I will always cherish. He takes the time to explain the job at hand, and then places so much confidence in you that you have no choice but to rise to the challenge.”

The students have indeed risen to the challenge, producing broadcasts that look and feel like any other game broadcast one could see on ESPN during a month of wall-to-wall basketball action.

By Pete McHugh