In April, the South Dakota State athletic department inked a three-year contract to keep NeuLion as its Web host. But there will be changes - already have been, in fact.
For starters, TheJackrabbitWay.com was created as a way to get in line with something other NCAA Division I schools like Nebraska are doing. It’s a recruiting-based site, a way to give prospective student-athletes and their parents an inside look at the teams within the department. The men’s basketball page, for example, has a video showing highlights, samples of national exposure and coach Scott Nagy talking about the things the program values. Eventually, all 21 varsity programs will have their own pages with information about facilities, conferences and support services.
“The coaches can put their own unique spin on it,” senior associate athletic director Leon Costello said.
There’s also an iPad app on the way, an extension of the previously established iPhone app. The GoJacks.com site will be redesigned later this summer. And a new adaptive streaming feature should improve future Web video broadcasts, pushing quality near high definition. Previously, SDSU used the web to launch a new site aimed at boosting donations for the forthcoming indoor practice facility.
Don’t be surprised to see these types of broad changes or minor tweaks every couple of years; it’s part of the contract and the way things are going in technology and college sports.
SDSU is the largest university in its home state and gained relatively large amounts of national exposure in the last year due to Division I tournament berths in football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. It invests considerable time, effort and money into making sure people - recruits and fans - are aware of the product. But there’s no way to reach everybody, and there’s no way to know who might be interested. Some percentage of the people have to come to you.
That’s where the Web comes in. It’s there all the time … just in case.
“You hate to say it, but a lot of what we’re really doing is trying to sell the program,” Costello said. “What this does is put out a positive image of what our programs are and what our department is. I think we try to improve on some of those services we can provide. It’s selling, but it’s also ver informative.”
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.