Sports directors may work in two very different positions. The job title can refer either to a coordinator of sports coverage at a news outlet or to a person who manages sports at a school or facility. People working in journalism usually need formal journalism training and may have some experience in sports, either as journalists or athletes. Those who manage sports programs may also have formal education as well as athletic experience to coordinate activities and events.
In the journalism field, the sports director is responsible for managing sports coverage at a newspaper, radio station, or television station. The job can include hiring journalists, setting standards for the department, and deciding which stories to cover. Sports directors can send personnel to major sporting events, arrange interviews with athletes and leaders in the field, and solicit footage from freelancers to fill coverage gaps. These members of the staff coordinate with other departments to determine how much space is available for sports coverage.
Sometimes, the job may involve coordinating across multiple departments for a story. For example, a sports director might decide to do a story on head injuries among athletes, which could require working with the person who covers health and safety on the piece. It is also important to think about overall coverage at the station or publication, so the sports coverage is balanced and appropriate. Some stories may not transition smoothly, as for example if an investigative report on abuses in dog racing runs right before a positive feature on dog races.
At schools and facilities with sports programs, like community centers, the sports director administers the sports offerings. This can include hiring coaches and other support personnel, ordering equipment and supplies, and determining what kinds of classes and opportunities should be available. Sports directors may work with members of the community to provide supplies, transportation to games, and other benefits. They can also meet with sponsors, sit on scholarship communities, and engage in similar activities.
In this scenario, the sports director makes sure the facility meets health and safety standards. If people compete in organized sports, it may also be necessary to confirm that athletes meet eligibility guidelines. For example, amateur athletes cannot accept pay for their work, and wrestlers need to fall within specific weight classes. Sports directors work with coaches to make sure athletes receive support and meet guidelines, to reduce the risk that someone might be disqualified from an event. In some cases, the sports director also works with directors of educational programs to train coaches, physical therapists, and other people who work with athletes to provide them with access to the facility.