Marist Student Part of The Classroom Crew's Iron Bowl

Broadcast Live From Alabama

Marist senior sports communication major Michael Wallace had the kind of special opportunity that is a hallmark of the college's Center for Sports Communication when he traveled to Tuscaloosa, Alabama recently to help produce the center's ESPN Radio show The Classroom as it broadcast from the University of Alabama on the morning of the fabled Iron Bowl, the yearly rivalry game between Alabama and Auburn and one of the biggest game in all of college sports. 

Wallace handled technical production of the show, which featured co-hosts Keith Strudler, Director of the Center for Sports Communication, and Geoff Brault, the voice of Marist football and women's basketball broadcasts. The broadcast from Tuscaloosa, home of the No. 1 ranked and 2016 Iron Bowl winning Alabama Crimson Tide, marks the first time The Classroom broadcast from another university and only the second time it has broadcast remotely, away from its home studio in Marist's Lowell Thomas Communications Center. The Classroom at the Iron Bowl

The show was broadcast from the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences, whose faculty partnered with Strudler to make the show possible. Two faculty members from Alabama’s Program in Sports Communication joined the Marist team for the show: Andy Billings, Director of the Alabama program and the Ronald Reagan Chair in Broadcasting, and University of Alabama sports statistics expert James Cochran.

(Listen to The Classroom Iron Bowl broadcast here).

"Broadcasts like these give Marist students unique experiences that will serve them well in their professional lives," Strudler said. "They also show prospective students what kind of special, real-world opportunities are available to all Marist students, and Sports Comm students, in particular." 

On the program, the crew discussed the future of football, particularly considering the recently released HBO/Real Sports Marist Poll, conducted in cooperation with the Center for Sports Communication. That poll found that mounting concern over brain injury risks is a factor for an increasing number of Americans when considering whether to allow their children to play football.

(RELATED: Watch Keith Strudler on "Three reasons little kids shouldn't play football" on the PBS NewsHour).

Other topics covered on the show included the use of advanced statistics to play smarter football and looked at recent scandals in major college football programs.

After the program, Strudler, Brault, and Wallace watched the game from the Alabama press box, seeing some of the top industry professionals covering what many consider the nation’s most storied football rivalry. Among the special sites was watching from the press box as legendary television broadcaster Verne Lundquist called the final regular season college football game of his storied career. They also watched Alabama graduate Joe Namath interviewed during the game's broadcast.

The Classroom crew then watched the final few minutes of the game from the sidelines, below the more than 101,000 fans who packed the stadium. Future episodes of The Classroom will broadcast from other remote and university locations.

Listen to The Classroom live each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon in New York's Hudson Valley on ESPN 1220/97.3 or watch the show live (or archived) at Marist’s Livestream site. Podcasts of past shows are available on iTunes and at Podomatic.

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