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‘U’ of Miami, Other College Programs Expanding Engagement Strategy With Infographics

Whether it’s football, basketball, or any other college sport, box scores are pretty bland to say the least. They don’t really tell a story maybe like, let’s say, an infographic does.

For the University of Miami (Fla.) and other college athletics programs, that’s exactly where they’re headed as they expand engagement with fans, alumni, and students through informative infographics following certain games; other infographics are devoted to the entire athletic department.

According to Director of Communications, Chris Yandle, the infographics have certainly grabbed fans’ attention, so much so that now they expect them after games.

“We then started telling fans that the Canes win wasn’t “official” until we released the infographic and branded it as #InfographicU,” Yandle explained to BusinessofCollegeSports.com.

But the infographics aren’t really that brand new to the University. Prior to Yandle’s arrival on campus last summer, Miami utilized infographics off and on as a way to engage with its following. Before the Canes’ college basketball run this past season, Yandle consulted with Brian Bowsher, Digital Media Strategist, in order to revive the athletic department’s use of the creative feature.

“All of our inforgraphics are done in-house. Brian took elements he liked from various other infographics and I would forward him anything I liked. With our new graphic designer on staff, we have some more options of creativity that we’re really excited about moving forward,” Yandle said. 

So what makes a great infographic? Well, as Yandle stated, it first starts with a clean look. Then, throw in some heavy graphics with clip art, icons, and several photos. If it flows pretty easily and the amount of graphics is greater than text, then you’re making great headway.

As of late, Miami along with the University of Michigan, Rhode Island, and the University of Oregon are teams currently excelling in the digital space and generating attention-grabbing content.

“There is so much static being shared among social media channels so a fan’s attention span may be only 15-30 seconds. That’s not enough time to read a game recap or a box score,” Yandle said. “But, if you make it aesthetically pleasing and pretty — like an infographic — then you can tell your story graphically and reach an entirely different audience that may not read the game recap afterwards.”

With infographics, there then comes the possibility of adding another revenue stream for athletic departments, even if it is relatively minimal. If you look closely at a few of the Miami infographics, you’ll notice a GMC logo in the bottom right-hand corner.

“If your infographics are getting a tremendous amount of hits, likes, traffic, etc., then it could be beneficial for them to be sponsored,” Yandle said.

Follow Mark on Twitter for more #SportsBiz talk.

How Much Did the BCS Top 25 Spend on Recruiting?

As I continue to write about the financial aspect of college athletics, I find myself wondering about things like how much money plays a role in winning. Is there one place where you can spend more money and increase your odds of competing for a championship? Or is the Athletic Director more of a conductor choosing which instruments to highlight and when in order to produce the best sounding symphony?

I thought it would be interesting to see how much spending on recruiting plays a role in football success. The numbers reflect recruiting expenses for the 2009-2010 school year.

One thing to note is that recruiting dollars are not broken down by sport, so the numbers you see below reflect the total amount spent on recruiting for all male athletes. Since football has the largest recruiting class and we can safely presume most schools spend the majority of their recruiting dollars on football, I think the numbers still paint an interesting picture.

Below you will see recruiting dollars spent during the 2009-2010 school year for each school in the 2010 BCS final standings, when presumably the athletes recruited with 2009-2010 dollars were then members of the team:

  School Recruiting Expenses % of Total Expenses
1 Auburn $1,129,984.00 1.24%
2 Oregon $844,235.00 1.29%
3 TCU $438,422.00 0.84%
4 Stanford $754,689.00 0.92%
5 Wisconsin $473,897.00 0.53%
6 Ohio State $676,966.00 0.65%
7 Oklahoma $1,010,570.00 1.14%
8 Arkansas $1,187,216.00 1.65%
9 Michigan State $677,958.00 1.10%
10 Boise State $158,355.00 0.63%
11 LSU $741,762.00 0.73%
12 Missouri $596,738.00 1.12%
13 Virginia Tech $625,207.00 1.24%
14 Oklahoma State $414,655.00 0.69%
15 Nevada $216,920.00 1.00%
16 Alabama $1,257,128.00 1.47%
17 Texas A&M $532,641.00 0.77%
18 Nebraksa $685,361.00 1.00%
19 Utah $466,532.00 1.46%
20 South Carolina $565,967.00 0.72%
21 Mississippi State $416,333.00 1.15%
22 West Virginia  $669,844.00 1.18%
23 Florida State $581,923.00 0.77%
24 Hawaii $272,078.00 0.93%
25 UCF $354,264.00 0.99%
       
  Averages $629,985.80 1.01%

Boise State is spending the paltry sum of $158,355, which is just 25% of the average. Only 26 of the 115 on the Broncos 2010 roster hailed from Idaho, with a huge percentage coming from as far away as California and Texas. Impressive that Boise State recruits so well on such a limited budget.

As an interesting side note, Boise State spends nearly as much on female recruiting as male, with female recruiting costs coming in at $123,287. That’s 44% of the total recruiting expenditures. Compare that to the leader for male recruiting expenses on this chart, Alabama, who only spends 26% of their recruiting expenditures on female recruiting. To complete the data needed for comparison, Alabama has 10 women’s teams and Boise State has 9 (with all track-related sports combined into one in each total).

The other thing that stood out to me was that Utah spent above average in terms of the percent of their total expenses advanced towards recruiting. In fact, they rank fourth overall in terms of percentage of total expenses spent on male recruiting. I was also surprised to see Ohio State and Michigan State from the Big Ten spending so much less than Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn from the SEC. The latter three make up the top three spenders overall on the list. Did this help them in their quest to move from a non-AQ conference to an AQ conference?

What surprised you from this list? If your school is on this list, how do you feel about what’s being spent on recruiting?

Did Texas Tattle on Oregon for Suspicious Recruiting?

Thursday night, Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports reported that University of Oregon expense records show money going to two men who are tied to “multiple recruits who signed letters of intent with the school.”

For those unfamiliar with how this aspect of recruiting works in college football, scouting services are run all over the country by people who are not affiliated directly with any one school, or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.  They act as outside scouts for programs who can’t send their own recruiters to see the athlete in person. Often, they put together tapes and other information on recruits and provide it to colleges who might be interested in the player.

According to Oregon coach Chip Kelly, “Most programs purchase recruiting services.”  This in itself is not against NCAA regulations.

What is against NCAA regulations is paying someone to influence a player’s decision on where to play. These are the allegations now surrounding Oregon’s relationship with a man named Willie Lyles.

Oregon financial documents show a $25,000 payment to Lyles just days after highly-touted recruit Lache Seastrunk signed a letter of intent with the school. The payment was made for recruiting services, but far exceeds the $5,000 a handful of football coaches polled by ESPN yesterday say that recruiting services typically charge. In the previous two seasons, Oregon paid Lyles $16,500 or his recruiting services.

Perhaps most surprised by the news was Lache Seastrunk’s mother, Evelyn. She told ESPN, “Willie said he was a trainer. Now Oregon says he’s a scout? Is he on Oregon’s payroll? If Willie Lyles collected $25,000 off my son he needs to be held accountable. The NCAA must find out for me. I don’t know how to digest someone cashing in on my son.”

New information made available today on ChuckOliver.net from a source who used to be a business associate of Lyles suggests Lyles has a habit of preying on athletes with single  mothers, like Seastrunk.

Ingram Smith, author of the ChuckOliver.net story, makes an interesting point about the origin of the story. Last night the story broke on Yahoo! Sports, ESPN and Sports Illustrated, leaving Smith to wonder if the same source didn’t tip off all three media outlets.

Smith has sources who tell him that the University of Texas has been growing suspicious of Lyles for awhile. Says Smith, “Inside the Longhorn’s program there is tremendous suspicion regarding Lyles’ influence on some of the state’s top talent and how many of the state’s best players that were associated with Lyles, like Seastrunk, are leaving the state at an historically high rate and under fishy circumstances.”

There seems to be a growing number of instances where schools are rumored to be “tattling” on other schools. Remember that both Mississippi State and University of Florida were rumored to have pointed the finger at Cam Newton initially. Instead of being like a fraternity who protects its members at all costs, it appears college football is splintering as schools battle for top recruits and championships. Given the number of coaches and assistants who move around each and every year, taking with them inside knowledge of their former programs, look for this phenomenon to continue to grow.

This article offers the personal observations of Kristi Dosh, and does not represent the views of her law firm or its clients.  Any information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. Consult your own attorney for legal advice on these matters.

Pac-10 Financials Show Little Athetics Profit

After writing about the football finances of the SECBig Ten, and ACC, it’s the Pac-10’s turn.  The numbers are drawn from schools’ reports to the U.S. Department of Education on the state of their athletic departments’ finances for July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. See the note at the end for more details on the data.

For comparison’s sake, the Pac-10 stacks up more like the ACC than the SEC or Big Ten in terms of football revenue, as you can see:

Football Revenue:

SEC ($49.9m)

Big Ten ($40.6m)

Pac-10 ($24.6m)

ACC ($20.9m)

Probably not coincidentally, the average size of football stadium in each conferences lines up in exactly the same order:

SEC (78,348)

Big Ten (75,447)

Pac-10 (64,546)

ACC (58,880)

I was a little surprised to see who generated the most football revenue in the Pac-10. Read the rest of this entry