What’s going on over on West End?
This morning, multiple Vanderbilt beat writers reported that the school has fired its athletics communications staff and is absorbing the roles within the university’s communications department. The Tennessean has confirmed the news, citing emails sent to the employees on Monday. VandySports’ Chris Lee tweeted that existing employees will be allowed to reapply for jobs, but the move will give the university even more control over athletics, the latest in a series of puzzling moves by the Commodores.
Why should you care? Maybe you don’t (it’s Vandy after all), but to those of us in sports media, media relations/athletics communications staffs are essential. Folks like Tony Neely, Susan Lax, Eric Lindsey, Deb Moore, Evan Crane, Stephanie Guy, and many others work tirelessly to keep the UK Athletics machine rolling, scheduling and organizing media opportunities; grinding out press releases, game notes, quotes, and promotional materials; running social media accounts; and fielding interview requests and questions from reporters around the clock. Athletics PR — even at Vanderbilt — is an industry all its own, completely different than a traditional public relations job (the hours alone are grueling).
But, Vandy gonna Vandy.