||36th NACDA Convention|
Salt Lake City, Utah
June 10-13, 2001
NCAA Division III Breakout Session
Managing the Athletics Department through the Web
Tuesday, June 12, 9:00 - 9:50 a.m.
I'm Nancy Bals, assistant director of athletics at Westfield State College and a member of NACDA's Executive Committee. Before we begin, we would like to recognize Southwest Recreational Industries, who is our audio-visual sponsor.
Our session this morning is entitled Managing the Athletics Department through the Web. Speaking will be Terry Kelly. Terry recently joined Nelligan Sports Marketing from Pivotal Communications, where he was appointed senior vice president of business development in December 1995. While at Pivotal, Terry managed collegiate accounts with SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac10. His emphasis was on growth opportunities between the company and the professional sports clients. He was instrumental in bringing in the Major League Baseball and PGA Tour accounts. He is a frequent speaker at conventions and meetings discussing the web, it's relevance to sports and the media.
Prior to joining Pivotal, Terry ran Kelly, Riley and Smith Public Relations in Virginia Beach for four years, heading up accounts for GTE Cellular, Executive Sports, Ernst & Young and many resort properties. He sold the business in 1994 to work for Montgomery Sports. There, he focused on incremental revenue programs, corporate partner relations and business development as the national marketing director for College Football USA. He also worked closely with NACDA, the American Football Coaches Association, the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour and senior tour events and a number of marketing advisory roles from 1991 to the present with an emphasis on sales and marketing.
Terry is a graduate of Youngstown State University and served his country as a Navy public affairs officer and currently serves in the U.S. Navy as a reserve officer. Terry.
Thanks Nancy. Thanks for having me. I've been involved with NACDA on some of these technical issues for seven or eight years. It's amazing how far this has come. I'd like to talk to you today about what you can do on the world wide web, the Internet, as I refer to it, and better managing your athletics departments. Not to say that you're doing a bad job now, not to say that you're doing a great job now, but I just want to make you aware of some of the resources that are out there that can help you. When I talk to you today, we'll go through a few things.
We're going to teach you how to navigate the Internet quickly and the application for any type of business that can be found. You're going to find, as you start looking through certain things, as you start digging, that there are a lot of things that can help Division III schools. When I was at TeamLink, we used to create what were called processed efficiencies. That is taking something you're already doing that's costing you manpower, taking people away from other jobs and being able to manage it thorough the Internet or computer software. When we used to take these processed efficiencies we would work with things like scheduling, media credentialing and a variety of things, especially sports information. You are only limited by your own imagination on the Internet and how to use it in a World Wide Web.
Today, as we talk about managing some of your athletics departments through the web, keep in mind some of this is going to be very simple, some of it might get a little technical. If it gets too technical, raise your hand and I'll explain. I promise you I'm probably the best person in our company to talk to you about this, because I could care less about servers, I could care less about how they talk to each other. I'm only interested in the end result.
Somebody told me I had to tell a joke first. I was told I need to stay away from racism, stay away from drinking, gambling, don't focus too much on one sport, because you are all athletics directors. I thought, "This is tough." The best one I came up with was that Tiger Woods and Stevie Wonder are sitting in a bar. They're talking about different things. Stevie said, "How's your game going?" Tiger said, "Aw, Stevie, my swing has gone wrong. I just don't know what to do." Stevie tells him, "Whenever I have trouble with my golf swing, I stay away from it for three or four days." Tiger looked at him and said, "What, you play golf?" Stevie, said, "Sure I play golf." Tiger asked, "How do you play golf?" Stevie said, "I get my caddy and tell him to go out about 270 yards from the tee and he yells, 'Over here Stevie.' Bang right down the middle usually every time because I'm not focusing on everything around me. I know what I have to do." Tiger said, "Well, that's incredible, but how do you put?" He said, "Well, my caddy will get up and lay down by the hole and say, 'Over here Stevie.' Usually, I'm a one-, two-put guy." Tiger said, "Well, that's great. We'll have to play sometime." Stevie said, "Not so fast. I like to gamble when I play. I don't know if you like to gamble. I've played for $10,000 a hole." Tiger said, "You want to play me for $10,000 a hole?" Stevie said, "Sure, I'll play you for $10,000 a hole." Tiger said, "I'm in." Stevie said, "Pick any night you want and we'll play." You're limited by your imagination on what you can do.
Today, we want to give you a better understanding of how to search for your needs, how to share information with each other and let you know what the Internet can do for you. At the end, I'll talk about some interesting applications. We had some problem in this room hooking up, but we've adapted and overcome and, hopefully, you'll be able to understand. The other thing I will do, please write this down, it's my e-mail address. I will e-mail you this whole presentation so when you get back to your universities, you can distribute it. I don't do handouts on purpose because I want you to get used to navigating the net. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you send that to me and request it, I'll make sure I send it to you.
First of all, we have to learn how to search the web. The first thing is to find the right search engine for you. Once you find the right search engine, that's when you get into trouble. For some of those who have done this before, you'll probably found you came up with some 155,000 different items. I'm going to show you how to narrow that search. I'm going to show you how to initiate that search and sort out the results. Choose a search engine. There's a whole bunch of them out there. A lot of you are familiar with Yahoo. These were the hottest search engines on the web -- Yahoo, Google, Excite, Steady Web, Artists ClearingHouse and Web Crawler. When you hook the presentation up that I send you, you'll actually be able to click those on.
There is a zillion of them. I did an alphabetical search of search engines and came up with 1,400. These are the first ones I picked. Number one comes up as 123 World.com. If you type in search engines, it's going to tell you what each search engine will do for you. I suggest you take one hour and read through the whole list, because you could find some search engines that lets you search specifically for what you need. It might be travel. It might be insurance. It might be anything you need in managing your athletics department. Here's are some more - Galaxy, Gendor. I did this particular slide to show you how in depth it can go. If you want to go global online, you can search shopping, phone services, global TV/radio and then global online directory. Does it ever stop? No.
Type in your own name and see what comes up. You'll be surprised. I found out once I had an unpaid parking ticket. Stay away from the pay-per-clicks. You don't need that. There's enough help out there with the good search engines. Directories are always good. There are a number of guides to different directories. If you're looking for somebody, something in particular, there's about 60 of them out there.
The first thing to begin your search is to pick your engine. Then enter your topic. When you enter your topic, there's a clue to doing that. Put plus signs between everything to narrow your search. If you put in college sports medicine with spaces in between, you'll get every reference to college, every reference to sports and every reference to medicine. If you type in college, with no space, plus sports plus medicine, you will only get college sports medicine. That is called a string and you will only get those in your site. That's very important to do. It's going to save you some time and help you narrow the search you want.
What will you find out there? Things that will help you every day in the administration of your departments. You can find people. Looking for somebody to fill a job? Statistics? Believe me, there are a lot less sites out there than a year ago at this time. Sports applications, when I show you a couple of these, you'll be impressed. You're going to want to go hunting as quickly as you can. Department applications are in there. There might be something in there just for a lacrosse team.
Tracking software? How many people are showing up at your intramural programs? How many people have signed up? How many people are actually there at the end? Fees? Everything you need to run those particular programs is in there. Rules interpretations from the NCAA and the National Association of Sports Officials do a great job of taking rules, breaking them down and telling you about exceptions and certain rulings that have been made.
Basically, everything you're going to find is going to make your life a lot easier. You're not going to have to pick up the phone in the beginning and talk to a person. You know what happens? It's going to be a half hour. This is a time-efficiency tool.
Looking for people? You're going to find job applicants. You can find athletics department job postings, referees and officials. You might be short in your area. You might need somebody in a pinch. It's amazing that the couple of sites we found that can fill those needs quickly. Security consultants can be found. You're looking for student-athletes. A lot of high school kids have their information on web sites. A lot of the Internet service providers are going. They are letting you do your own personal web sites. Student-athletes are taking advantage of this and marketing themselves. You can find fund raisers, marketing pros, Internet providers. There's a lot of companies out there doing fund raising applications that can certainly help out. You don't have to search through the Yellow Pages. Your own peer can be found. You'll be able to contact anyone in your sport that can help you out.
We want to talk about how the interaction can help. First of all, statistics. If you're looking for some statistics on a student-athlete, all the high school athletics associations, with the exception of three states, have web sites that track this information. All you have to do is go to that web site. There's usually a search feature. Type in the name, Tom plus Jones, and it will take you to any information that exists on that person. Again, personal web sites. Do a personal search from that student-athlete. Type in their name and see what comes up. You might get lucky. Sometimes there are scouting services out there that will post that information for you.
University sports statistics are in there. Through TeamLink, FANSOnly, sports web sites from other universities that are doing them, as well as direct links, will just click you to the exact information you are looking for. As a collegiate sports administrator, you guys can use this free. There is a fee for outsiders that use it. This will give you game notes, daily/weekly reports, conference information and schedules. What TeamLink has done at the Division I and II and a couple of III, they have taken and collected all of the sports information they can through game notes, stats, conference statistics, news releases. It's there for you to go pick out. How does that help you? You may want to teach somebody, maybe your SID. Go look at what the University of Maryland is doing as far as getting their information. Go look at the University of Alabama. There are so many schools on this site. There are 30 conferences, about 714 schools using this site.
We also realize, at the Division III level, sometimes it's costly for a university to use this. I'm saying to look at it, use it and in a lot of cases, with you're your own SID, this will give you some good tips of how larger departments are doing it.
If you want to get into sports information web sites, directly link to any university or commercial site and dig, dig, dig. Whenever you go into a site looking for something, what we call drilling down, you're going to have to search deep, hard, long and keep clicking to the point you want. Sometimes it can be frustrating. If so, you can e-mail back to the person running that site and tell them it's frustrating. Chances are they'll fix it.
What's out there for the Division III schools on sports applications? There's scheduling software. TeamLink just did a deal about five months ago with the Division I-AA athletics directors. They created a scheduling platform that will take everybody in your conference, an equal in your division and in this case, it's I-AA football. If you've got a hole in your schedule, it will be able to fill it. It will search the entire database and find who has an open date on that date, so you're not just dialing around looking. Now that Rivals has gone away, a lot of schools have lost that ability to go to that coach's corner. They've been very good about putting that together.
Intramural program software amazed me at what I found on how to run certain programs on a university-wide basis or a sport-by-sport basis. How would you go search for intramural program software? Intramural plus program plus software. It's not expensive. In fact, you'll find a lot of these applications are well within your budget. They will save you time and money and will free up your people resources to do other things for you. You can find resource materials, books, presentations and articles on compliance. If you would go in and write compliance plus women's plus issues, you would get a lot of NCAA stuff.
I don't know that media credential software is a big need at the Division III level, but that exists as well. Your media would sign on and say I want to come to this game. You sit at a desk and say, you're approved, you're approved, you're disapproved, etc. I won't bury you with that.
Tracking software is neat. There are some programs for physiology tracking for student-athletes that will actually take you through what they weighed when they came into the program, any problems they may have physically while at the programs and sport medicine. This helps you track their success in getting better and healing times.
Facility scheduling can be done. One of the things TeamLink has been asked for is facility scheduling. They ask us to give them a web-based application where my baseball coach can go in and schedule a meeting room. The women's basketball coach could schedule a meeting room, etc., so that I can remove myself from that process of people scheduling the same thing twice. That's being worked on right now.
There's tracking software for concession sales. Instead of putting everything on a spreadsheet yourself, you'll be able to load it and track it by location. We move that stand over here near the parking lot and our revenue went up 12 percent. Those types of things.
You're able to enter things like weather, what else is going on in the area. When you go back to your sponsors, you'll be able to develop programs for them that could bring in more dollars for your program.
Rules. NCAA.word has a whole section on rules. I found out that you could break a rule, but sometimes there are exceptions to it. Before you make a university decision on a student-athlete, you might want to go in and, beside picking up the phone and checking with compliance at the NCAA, check this site first. You've got some ammunition in your back pocket when you're talking to that person. It's not up to a judge to go find the law to work in someone's favor. It's up to that attorney to present the law to the judge. That's very important. The National Association of Sports Officials has a whole site on interpreting rules in case there's a question. I suggest you look at that. There are also judicial rulings on athletics affairs through many legal services that are out there. These are state, national and local legal services that have done this. How do you look for this? Judicial plus rulings plus athletics plus affairs. Again, you're only limited by your own imagination as far as narrowing it down.
I'm going to make life easier for you. We're going to find applications that improve processes that save you time and money. If they don't save you time, if they don't save you money, keep doing it the way you've been doing it. Don't get into a program just because it's a neat thing to do. Believe me. I know I'm preaching to the choir.
Browse the web. It doesn't matter if you're a novice. It doesn't matter if you're a techno geek. You've got to take some time for yourself to make sure that you notice. New things are happening everyday out there. Search engines are getting better. Applications are being added everyday. If you go in one day and you can't find something, it could be there two days later or a month later. Keep searching. Give yourself one hour per week to go play. You'll be amazed how that will take you along.
I'll tell you a quick story about my 78-year-old mother and her computer two years ago. "I can't do this." I said, "Mom, if you can point to something and click your fingers, you could get whatever you want." She lives in Youngstown, Ohio and I live in Atlanta. My brother called me about six months ago and said, "You're out of the will." I said, "What do you mean, I'm out of the will? How did that happen?" He said, "There's a brown truck dropping packages off to Mom everyday and that's your share of the inheritance." She's all over it now. She talks to her friends, she chats with her friends and if she can do it, we certainly can do it. It beats watching the "Weakest Link" on television. You can find one hour a day, it's your own time and do it. You're going to be much better off.
You found something you like, now what do you do? You just don't sit there an buy it. You've got to kick the tires. You found something you like that may improve your processes, you fell for the gouge they gave you, now talk to a person. Don't buy anything on the Internet until you've talked to somebody there. How long have you been in business? Who are some of your other applications? Who are some of the people you've worked with before, especially in our space? Try it before you buy it. Ask for a demo disc. Can you send me something I can look at? Your resources are limited. One thing you will find is that these Internet companies love sports. If they could have a sports application and tie it to an institution such as NACDA or your own universities, you could get that for nothing. Ask for a listing of their other clients and don't be afraid to call them.
When you need to know how something works, talking to a salesman is one thing, but talking to a client is completely different. Other clients will tell you what the pitfalls are. Don't listen to the first minute of what the client says because chances are they are showing for the product. Dig down. Ask some questions. How did it help you improve this process? How did it help you improve running your intramural program? How did it help you improve your rowing team? Make sure that there is 24/7 customer service. There is nothing worse than on a Saturday or Sunday night, after you do a posting or entering information and it doesn't work. You're stuck. You want to make sure there is 24/7 customer service. Chances are, the company has contracted with a help desk that can walk you through the process.
Be on the lookout. Watch for the warning signs. If they won't share a customer list, if they want a deposit for a demo, if they want too much information from you, run, don't walk. What they're telling you is, give me all of this information because I could go sell this later on.
Another application we'll talk about is the list serve. Is everybody here familiar with the NACDA, NACMA list serve. I think Becky Parke runs it for NACDA. Division I and Division II are using it. They are making sure they're polling their peers before they try an idea. You'll be surprised who you get these queries from. If you're looking for a mascot uniform, where is the best place to buy it? There's 400 people on that NACMA list serve. You could get 30 responses and chances are you're going to find the best price for it. One of the things I saw come through it was, where could I find portable signage for my soccer field, something I could put away. There must have been 15 or 20 responses to that. You guys are your own best group to discuss that information. I would suggest that whatever you do, try to get involved with that. It's not expensive.
E-mail to fans, alumni and supporters is the biggest application on the Internet right now. If I have a newspaper delivered to my house, I pick it up and read it. If I have to go across the street and drop 50 cents into a machine, I may only do that three days a week and only if there's something I want to see. These e-mail applications are wonderful, they're inexpensive and they let you communicate with your alumni, your supporters, your fans and everybody else that you come into contact with.
Audio and video? Audio, yes. Video, no. It's prohibitive right now. I'll show you why. Let's talk about list serve. As I said, you could poll your college with one e-mail. A list serve, instead of seeing all the names and numbers, what a list serve will do is make sure that that e-mail gets to the person you want. You share ideas with people who have tried other programs. Anybody do anything with Burger King relative to women's soccer? You can ask those questions as detailed as you want. If you don't get an answer back, the answer is probably no. Trust in your peers. They've tried things. Some have worked, some have failed, but they will tell you the truth. There's nobody else out there that can help you better than the people in this room.
Types of list serve. NACDA has one that allows you reach all NACDA, NACMA, NAADD members to poll ideas. It was set up by FANSOnly and has more than 1,000 subscribers from Division I to Division III. Your conference, if you use a list serve, sometimes you can save some money and replace those costly weekly conference calls. A list serve isn't time sensitive. Everybody has a chance to look over the information. You don't have to be there at 1:00 p.m., but you have to respond by midnight. Whoever is collecting at the conference level can go to those e-mails, cut, paste and make their jobs a lot easier.
Danger. Watch for out of office responses. What can happen is if you do one of those things on your e-mail that says, I'm out of the office and I won't be back until June 13. I'll contact you then. Anybody that replies to one of your requests on a list serve, that out of office goes to everybody, every time. It just happened with some of the NACDA folks. Be careful about that.
Be careful about some of the things that are moving around. You will love the way that works. If there's one tool out there that you should be using right now to communicate with each other, it's like everybody in this room knows everybody else well enough, but everybody will look at their e-mail. Everybody wants to help. If you ask somebody for help, I'd be very surprised that someone would ever day no.
How do you create one? Your own Internet service provider can help you. You can ask NACDA for help. They are already doing it. Why re-invent the wheel? I would suggest that as many of you try to get on that list serve as you can. Do it yourself. Most communication software out there right now offers small ones for 20 to 30 people. They're not hard to set up. There's a little wizard that will walk you through it. List serves have really been underdeveloped, but they are so great to use.
Audio and video is great for small programs. You can do streaming audio on the web. It's not expensive. In some cases, it's $400 or $500 to set up most of your sports if you have your own web site. It gives mom and dad and displaced fans the opportunity to listen in on the games, whether it be soccer, a student doing play-by-play, field hockey, lacrosse, any of the sports that you play. You can also archive it. If mom and dad are working during the soccer game, they can come back later and listen to it.
Video is more expensive, but more effective. When I say video, I don't really mean rolling video. If you get into that right now, you could cause yourself nothing but problems. What happens is you're limited by the band width on the other end. The best use is still photos that you can take with a digital camera of the event and they are very easy to put up.
Who can help? The freshmen coming in this fall is probably one of your best assets. I would suggest you create a technology club within the sports department. You'll have to beat them away. All you need is three, four or five people who want to get involved with your athletics department and help you out. You will not believe what these kids know and what they can do. As long as your sports site is a stand-alone, you're able to do this as long as you're not selling anything commercial on it. Look for vendors with demonstrated effectiveness. Make sure they're breathing. Some people are still out there hanging on by their fingernails and you don't want to get involved in a relationship like that. Make sure they have a lot of clients. Make sure they're profitable. Make sure they have revenues, because you can really paint yourself into a corner.
How can the Internet help smaller university programs? It helps you build affinity with alumni, supporters, families of student-athletes and fund raising. You are now able to sit in your office, through e-mail programs, through fund raising programs, through notifying people out there that you have already within your family, that these things are available. It goes back to what I said before, I can send them something in the mail or I can send them something on the Internet and respond immediately. You would be surprised when you start talking to people that maybe you haven't talked to ever. How do you get that list? Through every mailing that you do, put an e-mail address in there that somebody can respond to in your department. You'll find you have more supporters out there than you thought. Families of student-athletes love to hear what's going on. You told them you would take their kids for four years. Now, you have to let them know you're taking care of them.
Click here for a hat from the university. Click here to buy a t-shirt. That's great for fund raising. I've seen this work. I've seen it work at small high schools in Atlanta. It's not difficult to pull out. Build some e-mail lists of your donors, your sponsors, corporations. You'll be surprised if you went through your alumni list and had a couple of interns on people, you might find some people pretty high up in corporations that could make decisions on development and fund raising. Make sure the local businesses in your area know what's going on at your university. The more you talk to them, the easier it's going to be to ask them for money.
There are thousands of interesting applications. All of your needs are different and I'm not going to be the one sitting up here and saying these are the only ones. These are the ones I found had a lot of really cool information. Number one is the NCAA site. The Sports Medicine Handbook not only teaches you how to deal with injuries, but also what to do when a student-athlete is hurt, the reporting procedures, the compliance procedures that you have to deal with. So, that's a great site.
Another good one I found is the National Association of Sports Officials. Very deep and very detailed with a directory for people in your area that you may need to speak with to fill some holes in officials and gaps that you might have during games. You can reach them at www.naso.org. Again, e-mail me and I'll send this whole presentation to you.
The Women's Sports Foundation is probably one of the better sites I've seen in collegiate sports. It talks about careers, issues in action, knowing your rights as a female athlete, dealing with harassment, pregnancy, parenting, and there is great information on organizing mother/daughter clinics that are really becoming the hot buttons now across the country.
Sportsvision.com is something to take a look at to see where the web is going, especially in broadband which is allowing you to send video, allowing you to retrieve information. These are the guys doing everything for the NHL. At the Super Bowl, they had that same thing. Again, way out of everybody's league right now unless you're one of those major sports properties.
PCLeagues.com is very easy to use for sports admin software. It works for Little League all the way up to some professional sports. Skylink.net is an intramural sports management site I found. Linklineup.com is a great fund raising program for small programs. There's probably 40 or 50 different ideas out there. Again, go find the ideas and build them yourself. You may not even need to use the Internet to do that.
We, at TeamLink, did scheduling software, credentialing platforms, sports information platforms. They just came out with an optional fund raising platform with turn key assistance that will give you online assistance. I believe their motto is there are no up front charges. They take their money on the back end once the stuff is sold. E-mail programs are good to use if you want to work on a larger basis where your list serves might limit you to 25 or 30.
It's up to you. Let your free time be spent on making your program better. Give yourself an hour a week. Challenge the other people in your department to do it for an hour a week. Come back, have a little 15 minute session in your meetings to discuss whether anyone found anything interesting on the Internet. You'll be surprised. You'll be surprised how it will sharpen your skills on how to use it. Don't be afraid of it. Encourage those in your office to work on it. One person comes up with one good idea a week, that's not a bad record. Fifty-two records that you didn't know about can come up in a year.