June 21, 2010

Is this the new currency in NCAA FB recruiting?

An interesting blog post last week from the excellent college sports blog over at The Chronicle for Higher Education details the success of the University of Oregon's video production department, hailing the athletic department's video coordinator Steve Pohl as "the Speilberg of College Sports."  The first video below, from Pohl and UO with the help of digital film production house Pushplay Productions, recently won an award at the 2010 College Sports Video Summit, where it took home the prize for best college sports video of the year.

Big deal, you might say.  But considering the video went up against entries from ESPN (promo work for the College Baseball World Series) and CBS (the 2010 NCAA basketball championship game between Butler and Duke), well, it actually is kind of a big deal.

What makes it an even bigger deal is that productions like this and university employees like Steve Pohl are considered unnecessary by the committee charged with helping the NCAA rein in spending, the Knight Commission.  Considering these video producers and products do nothing to help the health or mind of the student-athlete, there's no arguing that they are superfluous economically.  However, the question is, how important are slick videos like this for satiating both the fans and potential recruits?  While I hope an 8-minute season montage won't be the deciding factor for standout high school football athletes, it has become just one more perk in the long list at the University of Oregon, where being the best means having the coolest stuff: the close relationship with Nike founder Phil Knight, the country's wildest athlete academic center, and an almost-innumerable amount of uniform combinations.

Oregon Football 2009 Season Highlights from Pushplay Productions on Vimeo.

Watching the video does make me wonder, however, if "the medium is the message" for both recruits and fans.  Also, I always love watching videos like this just to see what gets omitted.  Where's LeGarrette Blount, the running back who sucker punched a Boise State University player and had to be restrained and escorted off the field by police after a game in Boise last September?  Or the team's dreadful graduation rate (49%)?

Anyway, I guess I should be thanking my lucky Title IX stars that the video production team isn't all about football.  Here's a slightly-less inspiring video about the Ducks' 2010 Track and Field team.

Oregon Track and Field 2010 from Pushplay Productions on Vimeo.

Yeah.  Can you believe they (Pushplay Productions/Oregon) have the music rights to Phoenix?  I guess after you saw the shattering opponent football players in the first video, you're ready to believe anything. Like, that they spelled "Field" wrong in the Track and Field video.

Um, yeah. What about those graduation rates again?

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