College football first began molding into the widely followed entity it is today because of media types like Grantland Rice. Matt Zemek of CollegeFootballNews.com discussed Rice’s impact on the game with me last summer.
The giants of the typewriter laid the foundation in the 1930s. Television’s advent launced the game into the stratosphere of public consciousness. In the 21st century, the internet’s impact on the sport’s presence and influence is just starting to be felt. When Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy in December, I wrote his coronation would not have been possible without social media. Web media will continue revolutionizing coverage dramatically, and as Griffin’s case proved, the athletic programs themselves will be driving forces.
Universities are beginning to utilize these vast resources more and more, publishing content that raises their public profile. A recent example is Rutgers, which took its audience behind the scenes of spring football practices.
Delaware introduced a web series called Blue Hens Beat. The finale is a comedic, reality show spin featuring a former UD football star and all-around good guy, Siddiq Haynes.
Navy and Army were able to take the concept of giving viewers a peek behind the curtain one step further, and in a much more serious manner. Showtime debuted “Game of Honor” in December. The documentary examined the rigors and rewards Cadet and Midshipmen football players face, serving their nation and playing for their academy. CBSsports.com aired vignettes of “Game of Honor” for weeks leading up to its debut.
Like all positives, there are negatives. When newspaper business was booming in the early 20th century, outlets became increasingly salacious in their efforts to attract eye balls, and thus purchases. This led to an era of yellow journalism.
Conference realignment has played out through the internet, beginning with the mass hysteria reported in June 2010. There was no shortage of unsubstantiated claims leaked to the public. Part of me vehemently believes such leaks were calculated manipulations to force conferences’ hands at the bargaining table. Maybe I’m being version of Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory, without the racism and creepy stalker tendencies.
Whichever the case, today’s revelation from TCU AD Chris Del Conte (and reported by Mac Engel of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram) that Florida State, Clemson, and Miami want in the Big 12 has me reaching for my tinfoil hat. FSU and Clemson have been speculated as possible targets for weeks now, but The U is a new name surfacing. Does the out-of-left-field mention of Miami indicate simple confusion, or is there more to the thus far idle chatter picking up volume?
Editor’s Note: Del Conte quickly clarified the nature of his statement as seen below.
TCU’s Chris Del Conte clarifies comments: I was referring to rumor mill, not confirming schools interest in #Big12.
— Stefan Stevenson (@FollowtheFrogs) May 23, 2012
The immediacy of web reporting allows information to get to consumers faster, but is susceptible to less vetting in the pursuit of timeliness.
The War Advertising Council coined the phrase Loose Lips Sink Ships during World War II. The drawback of internet accessibility is that it creates a Big Brother atmosphere, and things get out there quickly. Perhaps the motto is one conference brass should adopt in these tumultuous times.
Topics: Baylor Bears, Chris Del Conte, Clemson Tigers, Conference Realignment, Delaware, Florida State Seminoles, Media, Miami Hurricanes, Navy, Robert Griffin III, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Social Media, TCU Horned Frogs