Sports Link video to be featured on ESPN U

Overcoming adversity is at the center of three Ball State University students' sports package on junior men's basketball player Malik Perry.

Their package will take center stage on ESPNU, a station in the ESPN network focusing on college athletics.

Seniors Seth Tanner and Nick Yeoman and sophomore Ben Wagner produced "The Malik Perry Story" last semester as part of Ball State Sports Link, an immersive learning project where students produce sports media projects across multiple platforms. It follows Perry's struggles in escaping South Philadelphia and beating the odds to attend college and play basketball.

Perry's story is detailed in the novel "Black Men Can't Shoot" by Scott Brooks, a professor at California State University. This served as a starting point for the students' package.

"We were randomly assigned the package and then I read the book," Tanner said.

From there they conducted interviews with Perry, head coach Billy Taylor and Brooks.

However, this wasn't without its difficulties.

"Getting a hold of the author was a bit of a challenge," Yeoman said. "Plus, [the basketball team] is in season now, so there were time issues to balance."

Wagner said there was a shortage of pictures, and getting permission to use them also was difficult.

Together they completed the package last semester, at the same time balancing other live productions for Sports Link.

Chris Taylor, instructor of telecommunications and sports immersion and media, said he was pleased with how the package came together.

"Seth, Nick and Ben took the initiative to make the story what they wanted it to be," he said. "I'm very proud this has a Sports Link tag."

Taylor said the package making its way to ESPNU is proof the Sports Link program is something special.

"The recognition that we're getting on a national level has become unsolicited," he said. "There are many eyes watching what we're doing here."

He said the content Sports Link produces is regularly shown in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Terre Haute.

"We have external validation now that they want to use what our students are producing," he said.

They all agree it's important that people see this package.

"The real story is his story and the decisions he's made," Tanner said. "It's an inspirational story and makes you realize how fortunate most of us are."

Yeoman said the package allows people to learn exactly who Perry is.

"The story portrays that no matter what, you can make it out and become a successful student in the classroom and on the court," Wagner said.


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