By Liam Beatus ’18
Philip Merrill College of Journalism
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (April 14) – I do not like to ask Scott Van Pelt (SVP) for favors, especially not monetary favors. However, as a part of the WMUC Sports Launch round 2, the station needed to reach out to more alumni to hit our goal of raising $8,000. As of yesterday – April 13 – the station was $1,255 short of our benchmark. Today we passed our goal and are still collecting donations through the rest of Friday.
Van Pelt is a friend of mine whom I have met at several Povich Center events throughout my three years here at Merrill College. When he went to the Povich Symposium in 2014, I just wanted to keep in touch with one of my favorite role models. SVP generously gave me his email, and the first few times I reached out to him, I sent him a picture of us so he would recognize me in the future.
By the second time I met him, when Maryland’s men’s basketball team stormed the court in an upset victory against Wisconsin, Van Pelt knew exactly who I was when I said hello. Now, when I see him at various sporting events, we always make small talk and I send him an email afterwards asking him to keep in touch because hey, you never know who could give you your next job.
When I sent out the Tweet yesterday morning, it was a last-ditch effort. It was not the first time I reached out to him for the fundraiser, but I knew he was extremely busy. It didn’t bother me when he did not respond, but this week he was on vacation. Jackpot.
Later that night, he emailed me asking how to donate. At this point, I was at the Capitals game, interning for Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic, and I told him to just call me whenever he got the chance, and I gave him my cell phone number. Later that night I got the call, he completed the donation and I could not thank him enough for his contributions.
I insisted I would buy him lunch over the summer and that his donations were not helping my generation of broadcasters, but the futures of the freshmen and high school seniors. He insisted that that is why he did it in the first place, to allow aspiring broadcasters like myself to get the lucky break he once got. He said I reminded him of a younger him and he wanted to help out the cause.
WMUC Sports wanted to replenish the money we spent in previous years since our first launch, and to expand our coverage of away games. Contrary to earlier reports, WMUC Sports is not a dying station, in fact, we are doing quite well. This year we sent our broadcasters to Detroit for the Quick Lane Bowl, Indianapolis for the Women’s basketball Big Ten Tournament, and to Orlando for the men’s NCAA basketball Tournament, and many other games along the way. Thanks to SVP’s contribution and the many others received, this station will continue to flourish.
About Liam Beatus: Liam is a junior journalism major at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. He is a play-by-play broadcaster for WMUC Sports, is a contributing member of The Left Bench sports blog, Sports Illustrated’s Campus Rush Maryland Correspondent, interns for Comcast Sportsnet, and writes for the Diamondback student newspaper among many other pursuits.
There’s more information about the WMUC Launch fundraiser at launch.umd.edu.