Ball State University suspended all in-person classes for the duration of the Spring semester. In-person classes will be replaced with virtual instruction and other alternative learning options.
“Obviously this started fairly bizarre and becoming a little bit more cinematic, it’s straight out of a movie,” Amin said. “Every storyline, every news, every sports thing you’ve seen over the last two weeks feels a little bit like how a movie would play out.”
Amin and his ESPN colleagues were about to start a month of NCAA Basketball broadcasts from postseason tournaments to the the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball National Championship. The sports world paused on March 11 and officially stopped March 12.
“We were in Fort Worth for the American Conference Tournament getting the news about Rudy Gobert, about the NBA suspending the season and the Tom Hanks news broke about that time as well, ” Amin said. “All of these things were happening back-to-back-to-back. We were in such a whirlwind with all of these sporting events being cancelled.
“Since then it’s been very strange. I’ve done the same thing everyone else has being doing, sitting by myself in my apartment for the last two weeks. I’m playing the ‘one day at a time’ game like everybody else because it’s hard to look too far ahead into the future the right now.”
In this moment of quarantines, isolation and social distancing, the ESPN play-by-play man thanked the Sports Link students for the setting and shared ways to be grateful among the global pandemic.
“This makes me happy talking to you guys,” Amin said. “I think trying to maintain a certain level of regiment, a certain level of schedule. I hope you guys recognize that even being in class and doing this stuff, assignments you have a deadline for, there’s some blessing in having that schedule. All of a sudden, everything I had on the calendar for the next two and half months is wiped.”
Amin also shared valuable insight on his journey to becoming one of the national network’s youngest talents at the age of 24 in 2011. While students tend to have a career path planned from point A to point B to point C, the now veteran broadcaster noted how the industry they are training for always is changing.
“Having an idea of how fluid this business can be is important,” Amin said. “You might have something pop in front of you that you would never even thought would be a possibility of job. Often times what you have planned changes very quickly based on what you’re doing in a current job. Every job is a possibility and there is no exact or direct route to get to them. There’s a lot of zig zags that take place all the way through a career.”
When asked by Sports Link junior Ryan Klimcak what was one piece of advice Amin knows now that he wished he knew when he was a college student, the answer may have shocked the 50-plus virtual classroom.
“I had very lofty goals and I was scared that I wasn’t going to reach them,” Admin said. “I’m glad I pushed myself and put in the work that maybe others didn’t, but I wish I wouldn’t have beat myself up over a lot of that stuff. It is more important where you are at in 20 years rather than 10. And it’s probably more important where you are in 30 years than where you are in 20. So knowing it’s a marathon and not a sprint.”
As national, state and local authorities have ordered or defined “essential or non-essential” work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amin also provided hope to the class.
“What we do in sports in a lot of senses, is non-essential and that’s by whoever’s definition,” Amin said. “I think what we’ve realized in the last three weeks has proven to us is, that sometimes when real life happens, a lot of what we do gets pushed on the back burner.
“I’ve also come to realize what we do is more essential than I ever even realized. As non-essential as we can be in this job, what’s essential about this job is very obvious — people crave information, content, debate, competition.
“While it’s not the most important thing in the world, what we do in this business does have some value to it. So having that perspective and understanding, I think, will probably serves us well when we look back at this particular spring”
And what does Amin believe will happen once the lights come on at sporting venues across the nation and of the role future young sports media professionals have?
“Whenever sports comes back, it’s probably going to be the best day most of this country can remember because it will just be a sense of normalcy,” Amin said. “You provide that in some way, shape or form. It is a lot of fun and brings a lot of joy to a lot of people. I appreciate that now much more than I did 12 days ago.”
Amin has been a play-by-play commentator for ESPN since joining the company in 2011 at age 24, immediately becoming one of the network’s youngest game-callers.
Calling a multitude of sports and events, he serves as an announcer for Thursday night college football on ESPN, the Women’s Final Four, college basketball, NBA and MLB coverage, and has been on play-by-play and hosting duties for the Women’s College World Series, the McDonald’s High School All-American Games, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, and NCAA wrestling, volleyball, and baseball championships.
Amin is also one of ESPN Radio’s lead announcers for NBA, NFL, and MLB broadcasts throughout the regular season and playoffs. He holds the distinction of being the youngest play-by-play announcer to call a New Year’s Six Bowl Game after working on ESPN Radio’s coverage of the 2016 Fiesta Bowl.
A native of Addison, Ill., Amin graduated with a degree in television and radio from Valparaiso University where he was twice named Indiana Collegiate Sportscaster of the Year by the state association of broadcasters. In 2009, he was a finalist for the Jim Nantz Award and honored as one of the top five collegiate sportscasters in America.