Course schedule
(subject to change, so don't print out once and treat as gospel; refer back regularly)

Class session
Texts, Readings, Resources

Week 1: Jan. 10

Course introduction

Sports, media & hegemony

Kaep, the NFL, and video: The role of communication

National Baseball Hall of Fame internships | BC's Wendell Smith papers at the Baseball Hall of Fame | First female manager in pro baseball

For Wednesday, read "Should you care what athletes think?" and consider Aaron Rodgers and Kyrie Irving

For Jersey Friday, read: Plato's Living In a Cave

For Wednesday, Jan. 19, read: Wayne Booth's What's supposed to be going on here? AND LeBon's The Crowd

Week 2: Jan. 17

Fans, crowds, TRIBES

Fan motivations | MEDIASPORT

Artifact: Dying for football

For your first submitted assignment: a model of good work | another good model | Dr. Carroll's memo to COM 205 writers

Artifacts: LSU promotional video | UGA promotional video

No class Monday: MLK, Jr. Day

Due Wednesday: takeaways/residuals for Plato AND Booth (integrate them)

For Jersey Friday, read: Sanderson's sports fans, Facebook and social identity threats AND make sure you've read LeBon's The Crowd. (My apologies for any confusion.)

Week 3: Jan. 24

Jesus, Plato and Self-education ("Can I get an 'Amen'?")


Artifacts: Super Bowl Activity Pack for Women | Pepsi's crop circles | Advertising for SB 50 | Apple ad '1984' for SuperBowl that year | Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh | Recording of first Super Bowl | footage of the 1951 Princeton football team | Super Bowl ratings (TV) | Cost of SB ads over time | Ad central

Due Wednesday: takeaways/residuals due for Real's Super Bowl as Mythic Spectacle


Week 4: Jan. 31

Super Bowl advertising

ESPN-sports symbiosis: MEDIASPORT

Artifacts: Adidas sneaker scandal | The Daily Show on adidas scandal | Times's reporting on the scandal | WaPo follo on adidas scandal

Case study: Division I college football and the gravy train

Case study II: NFL & CTE

Other artifacts: NHL gender barrier breaker dead

Read for Wednesday: first of NYTimes series on ESPN & football, Part One

Read for Jersey Friday: Part Two and Part Three; AND takeaways/residuals DUE for at least Part One, but feel free to incorporate Part Two and/or Part Three as you wish.


Week 5: Feb. 7


The rise of ESPN and its functional monopoly (hegemony)

"We shall never forget": But what will mediasport help us remember? The shadows and images of "healing"

Artifacts: Pentagon "reunions" | Bleacher Report on Take A Knee | The whitewashing of #TakeAKnee | NFL ad response | How Protest Works | | WaPo update on 'take a knee' controversy | NAIA moves championship over anthem | U.S. spending on defense | Monuments, Louisiana football and taking a knee | Malcolm Jenkins on activism | Andy Griffith's What it was was football | How Sedona Prince became an activist | Bluefield College and student expression

Read for Wednesday: Butterworth's reading on 9/11 remembrance

Due Jersey Friday: Takeaways/residuals due for "Political Football," incorporating Butterworth, as well

THIS SUNDAY, Feb. 13: Watch the Super Bowl with a group/tribe/crowd for a writing response due in a week (required) >> here's that prompt: Writing response #1

Week 6: Feb. 14

Sports, Religion & MYTH

Lebron & Nike: The NBA is here!

Where Lebron's marketing came from:

Artifacts: "Life is a Ball Game" Sister Wynona Carr | Simone Biles, GOAT

Due Wednesday: Writing response #1 -- a Super Bowl safari

Read for Friday: Mocarski's Manufacturing a Messiah

Noon, Saturday (optional): Larry Lester on the East-West All-Star Classic

Week 7: Feb. 21

Myth, Race and Mediasport

WEDNESDAY: Special guest via Zoom, Larry Lester, author, baseball researcher, co-founder of the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City

The integration of sports | Jackie Robinson, journalist | Your professor discussing Black baseball | NY Times Magazine on baseball, Hank Aaron and segregation

THURSDAY: Talking Baseball with Dr. Carroll, from the Baseball Heritage Museum, 6pm LIVE, with host Justice Hill

Artifacts: Key & Peele's White-sounding Black Guys | Key & Peele's A Capella (uncensored) | The Race Draft (Chappelle) | White running backs | Does race explain disfavor toward paying college athletes? | Key & Peele closet racist sportscast | Sports betting brings big money to New York

Due Monday: takeaways/residuals due for Mocarski's Manufacturing a Messiah

Read for Monday: "That Other Talk" on race and gender; AND, only if you're interested OR a baseball fan OR both: My blog post on Aquinas, faith and reason

Due Wednesday: Bring questions to pose to Mr. Larry Lester (will turn in questions afterward for a participation grade)

Due Friday: Three residual questions (NO TAKEAWAYS) for the author in response to any ONE of the following:

Week 8: Feb. 28

Finish out Mocarski | Naomi Osaka as living brand (intersectionality)

Naomi as bridge to gender equity, identity negotiation and mediation

Keala Kennelly, gender and sexuality (and mediation)

Artifacts: Tayla Harris | Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw on lived equality | Really? Really! | ESPNW and removing the female apologetic | Run like a girl?!? | Serena on "best athlete" | NCAA 'Enough' | WNBA ad | Colbert: USA Soccer | Being a female sports journalists and dealing with hate | Heroes for girls | Nike & the Arab World | Womens Sports Foundation | Women's pro hockey league coverage (NYT) | Girl Power | Stephen Curry on his daughters | Hazards of being a female sports reporter: Erin Andrews | A1 story in last week's Times | Virginia hires black female AD | first football scholarship to a female | first female GM in baseball? | First female editor of a national sports publication (see what she says about "heroes") | Equity in America Data report on salaries in college athletics


For Monday: Soft Power on Naomi Osaka (New York Times); if you're interested, also The One and Only (The Undefeated)

For Wednesday, ONE takeaway from Daniel Duane reading (make it a good one!) | PDF version | Optional: Keala Kennelly's TEDx Talk | Drone look at big wave surfing



Week 9: March 14

Berry Volleyball as Spectacle

Wednesday: Caitlyn Moriarty, head coach, volleyball (indoor & beach); and Angel Mason, Berry AD

March Madness gender equity update: Men's and women's weight rooms contrasted | Men's and women's SWAG bags contrasted (Thank you, Kennedy!) | We Should All Be Feminists Ted Talk (Thank you, Capri!)

In the news: High school basketball & the anthem

Due Monday: Read Utah Gymnastics (short article); a group activity depends on doing the reading.

Due Wednesday: Three dynamite questions for our guests on the topic of real, authentic, lived gender equity the the realms of sports and sports media

Due Jersey Friday: Comment on the gender post at Wandering Rocks

Week 10: March 21

Finish up gender

Pay for play? Exploitation of Div. I college athletes

Artifacts: March Madness: One Shining Moment | Kyle Korver on white privilege | The life of a sportswriter | New NFL TV deal

Due Monday: Residuals only due for Feder reading (and an update: Figure skating uniforms)

Due Jersey Friday: Residuals only due for Butterworth's Race in the 'Race' (McGwire & Sosa)

Week 11: March 28

Monday: Why baseball? The church of baseball

Wednesday, Friday: Able-ism & Identity

Artifacts: The documentary | Canada v. Australia (gold, 2012)

For Wednesday, takeaways/questions due for Murderball reading

Week 12: April 4

MEDIASPORT business models, media side

>>Nothing due?!?

Week 13: April 11

MEDIASPORT business models, pro sports side


Artifacts: Ryan Sheckler | P. J. Ladd's Wonderful, Horrible Life | Yeah Right! | Baker 2G (1999) | Fantasy Sports Trade Assn. | Thanksgiving at the Bobbys | The growth of UFC | Sedona Prince strikes again | The Handshake (Shuba and Robbie) | We Play Real | Central Florida and QR codes


Week 14: April 18

Finish business models, including Andrews reading

Crisis communication & Apologia

Due Monday: takeaways and residuals for Andrews reading (toughest reading of the course -- you can do this!!)

For LAST Jersey Friday, read They Cheer, And Rake In Ad Dollars on the Side

Week 15: April 25

For our last day:

  • Your takeaways and residuals for the entire course.
  • Impersonations
  • Ballpark fare
  • Jersey Friday grand champion award ceremony

Some last day links:

For Monday (last day):

  • At least a couple of meta-takeaways from your entire course experience
  • At least one golden residual as you exit the course
  • One impersonation somehow related to our course (athletes, broadcasters, etc.); be creative



>option A: Read Dr. Carroll's Take a Knee chapter that was written for an upcoming book from the University of Mississippi Press. Then follow these specific instructions.

>option B: Write opinion piece for Viking Fusion on a topic of your choosing from all of those we covered this semester. Length: About 750-1,000 words. Some examples:

>option C: Marion Jones 30-on-30 essay, using Dr. Carroll's prompts

Exam deadline (for all three options): 11am, Friday,
April 29, submitted to Dr. Carroll in his office or in his mail slot

pepp patty

keep your eyes on the prize!

Some digital sources:


Course Description: An introduction to and overview of the sports communication field, including media organizations, marketing and advertising firms, and team and leagues. Topics covered include sports journalism; digital media, including social media; broadcast and publishing; team and league media relations; college sports information; and marketing, promotions and advertising.

Course Purpose & Objectives: By the end of this course, my goal is for students to --  

  • Understand the evolution and development of sports as an industry
  • Become aware of the various careers in sports communication
  • Understand the history and development of sports journalism
  • Appreciate the ethical issues specific to sports that face the communicator and/or journalist covering sports
  • Understand the agency of U.S. media with regards to race and gender
  • Better understand crisis management specific to sports industries

What you may want (recommended but not required):

  • A subscription to Sports Illustrated
  • Daily access to ESPN’s SportsCenter
  • Roger Caillois, Man, Play, Games
  • Eduardo Galeano, Soccer in Sun and Shadow
  • Allen Guttman, From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports
  • Gustave LeBon, The Crowd 
  • Orin Starn, The Passion of Tiger Woods

Stuff you need to know:

Professor: Dr. Brian Carroll
Office: Laughlin Hall 100
Office phone: 368.6944
Home page:
Blog: Wandering Rocks

Office hours: MW: noon-2 pm, 3-5 pm; Th: 1-3 pm | by appointment | walk-ins are welcome


  • Attendance: Attendance is a part of your grade. Be here every day on time, just as you would for a job, surgery or even a haircut. Everyone gets one unexcused absence or late arrival, maybe two, with no questions asked. Stuff happens. After that, unexcused and/or unexplained absences (and/or lateness) will result in point deductions from the "professionalism and participation" portion of your grade -- one point for each unexcused absence and/or late arrival. What is excused is at the instructor's discretion, so you are best served by discussing situations and extraordinary circumstances prior to class whenever possible.
  • Distractions: This instructor is easily distracted. Ringing, buzzing or vibrating mobiles, therefore, will be lobbed out of the classroom window and/or run over with a truck. Chatter during lecture will result in "professionalism and participation" point deductions, as will Facebooking, texting or any other use of unauthorized devices during lecture or topic presentations, particularly after a warning has been issued. Do homework for other classes somewhere else. Leave your laptop at home. If you have to arrive late or leave early, clear it with the instructor beforehand whenever possible.
  • Preparation: Complete the assignments, do the readings and be ready to tackle the activities of the day. Be ready to discuss, even to debate.
  • Academic integrity: Because academic integrity is the foundation of college life at Berry, academic dishonesty will result in automatic failure on the assignment in question. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following: cheating, unauthorized collaboration, plagiarism, fabrication, submitting the same work in multiple courses, and aiding and abetting. For definitions of these terms, please consult the instructor. Additionally, violators will be reported in writing to the Provost. Students who are sanctioned for violating the academic integrity policy forfeit the right to withdraw from the class with a grade of “W.”

How you will be graded:

Dailies (quizzes, responses, takeaways) 90%
Professionalism and participation 10%

For daily projects and blog posts, grades of check plus, check, check minus, and zero will be awarded. Roughly translated, check plusses = As; checks = Bs; and check minuses = Cs. The wide variability of subjectivity of these daily assignments, such as “bring in three examples of metonymic symbolism,” preclude a more precise grading scheme. The check system also facilitates a faster turnaround time.

To compute your final grade, add up your point totals, apply the appropriate percentages, then refer to the grading system summarized here:

59 and below

Definitions of the grades can be found in the Berry College Bulletin. “A” students will demonstrate an outstanding mastery of course material and will perform far above that required for credit in the course and far above that usually seen in the course. The “A” grade should be awarded sparingly and should identify student performance that is relatively unusual in the course.

Berry Viking code
Academic dishonesty in any form is unacceptable because any breach in academic integrity, however small, strikes destructively at the college’s life and work. The code is not just policy, it is foundational to the academic environment we enjoy and in which scholarship thrives. It is in force in this classroom.

For the complete Viking Code, please consult the student handbook. In short, each student is “expected to recognize constituted authority, to abide by the ordinary rules of good conduct, to be truthful, to respect the rights of others.” The College’s mission, in part, commits to a community of integrity and justice. During an era when ethics are sometimes suspect, there seems no higher goal toward which students ought to strive than that of personal honor.

Students with special needs
If you have special needs of any kind, including learning disabilities, please let me know. Come discuss it with me. I want to make sure on the front end that we prevent any problems associated with the course. The Academic Support Center suggests the following: “Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodation in this course are encouraged to contact the Academic Support Center in Memorial Library as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.”

Finally, I believe we are here for a good time, not a long time, so let’s have some fun!

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Who were the Cuban X Giants? They were one of the very first professional black baseball teams, playing in New York City around the turn of the 19th century and made up of -- you guessed it -- mostly former Cuban Giants. They were good, winning the 1903 Colored World Championships behind the pitching of the legendary Andrew "Rube" Foster, who won four of the five games.