BY ALEX KREMPASKY
Feb. 1 is one of the most exciting days in college football. But why? It is National Signing Day. This day is the day in which most high school recruits sign their National Letter of Intent to the schools they will attend in the fall. National Signing Day has also become a very big event with full-day coverage on ESPNU and all over the Internet. However, one tool that was used a lot this year was social media. Facebook and Twitter feeds “blew up” when signees were announced throughout the day. The cool thing about this new technology is every school had a different way to utilize social media to announce the signings.
Facebook was a popular medium for many schools including the University of Idaho. On National Signing Day, Idaho kept Facebook followers informed on each recruit who committed to become a Vandal in the fall. Beginning with their first commit, quarterback Andrew Williams from Elk Grove, Calif., they posted the names, positions, and hometowns for each new player along with a picture of an Idaho Vandal football helmet. Throughout the day, 24 players committed to play for the Idaho Vandals in the fall and each were given a spot on the official Facebook page of the Idaho Athletic Department, which is followed by over 14,000 members. This was an excellent way for Idaho to promote their new recruits as a mid-major program. Their followers were able to keep receive up-to-the-minute updates on the new Vandals commitments.
Twitter is another mode of communication athletic departments all over the nation utilized for announcing their new athletes. The University of Southern California was one of many of the programs that tweeted the news on National Signing Day. USC began the day by tweeting “#USCSigningDay is here! Text USCSIGN to 51234 to have each official announcement sent directly to your phone.” Not only were they using Twitter as a form of quick announcements, but also for Trojan fans to get even faster updates with a text service. USC’s tweets blew up feeds with announcements of every recruit who signed to become a Trojan this fall. There were also links to a profile of each recruit on the official USC Athletics website, and updates on head coach Lane Kiffin’s press conference he held at the end of the day that was telecasted on ESPNU. USC fans were also treated to up-to-the-minute experience via Twitter that many other programs also used.
Social media has made a lasting impact on sports on all levels but college sports have benefited greatly from it. Normally on Feb. 1, fans would have to wait until the evening edition of Sportscenter to get the news on their favorite team’s signings, at best; most fans would have to wait for the next morning’s local newspaper. Now fans can literally find out only seconds after the official fax comes into the athletic department’s office. As social media advances, information will become more instantaneous and more accessible to the everyday fan.