– Jeannine Edwards, on the SC “BMOC” selection process
“Big Man on Campus,” SportsCenter’s feature that debuted after the first week of the current college football season, is an exercise in teamwork and coordination.
The segment, which usually premiers in the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on Tuesdays, features a player who was a big story from the previous weekend’s slate of games. But due to the short turnaround, getting the features shot, edited and on the air creates a set of logistical challenges.
“To me, what’s so fascinating about these pieces is how everything comes together so quickly,” said Jeannine Edwards, ESPN bureau reporter, who works with producer Greg Mullen in the field to shoot the segments each Monday.
Edwards said the selection process begins with roughly eight people on an email chain on Saturday while the majority of the games are being played. Players are nominated and ideas are pitched.
By late Saturday night, the list is narrowed to two or three potential candidates, at which point Matt Weeks, director, coverage area unit, will start contacting the sports information directors of the finalists.
“And then the SID of whomever among the finalists gets back to us the quickest, and whoever is willing to give us the best access, is where we’ll go,” Edwards said. “Obviously, we want these pieces to offer the best and most unique access we can.”
It’s a quick turnaround for Edwards and Mullen to book flights. A local camera crew must be hired for a shoot that starts early Monday morning.
Then, after shooting all day, Edwards and Mullen feed video to ESPN. Content associate Alex Brewer watches the hours of video as it comes in and then edits and assembles the piece on Tuesday.
“It’s impressive how many people coordinate behind the scenes to make this happen,” Edwards said. “From the assignment desk to the people who hire the camera crews, the people that get the equipment shipped, it’s a ton of behind-the-scenes scrambling.
“Matt is up very late Saturday night and then early Sunday morning trying to nail everything down for us,” she said. “Greg is a fantastic field producer wearing two hats for these pieces as he also shoots our second camera. And Alex has done a tremendous job weaving an enormous amount of footage in some very creative ways.
“It’s a team effort and I’m really proud of the team.”