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UCF going all-in on NIL for spring game

In going above and beyond to market its players, UCF is really marketing itself.

Three thoughts here.

1. This is really, really obnoxious.

2. It's also pretty smart.

3. Please, NCAA or whatever organization eventually takes its place. Never eliminate the rule that coaches and programs from publicly acknowledging recruits. That's the only thing standing between us and full on madness.

UCF has marketed itself as the program willing to go farthest for its players in the NIL era, and after putting Twitter handles on the name plates of their jerseys for last year's spring game, this time around they're going even further. For Saturday's spring game, the standard name plates will return, but the number on the back will be replaced by a QR code.

The QR code will link to each player's bio page on the UCF online roster, which then links to each player's social channels. Already, UCF includes each player's Twitter and Instagram handles along with their name, number, position, height, weight, classification, home town and high school on the roster page. 

“Last year, we put Twitter handles on our jerseys. I was like, ‘What the heck am I doing?’” Gus Malzahn told Sports Illustrated. “We wanted to be the school that embraced it. At the old traditional schools, there’s a lot of dynamics. Yeah, they’re for it but really, they’re not for it. We are a school that can fully embrace it—the young school, social media. It fits with us.”

Will any Knight see their NIL earnings rise because the school put a QR code on the back of their jersey for a spring game? Possible, but unlikely. (First obstacle: Who likes using QR codes?) But it doesn't matter. In marketing its players this way, UCF markets itself as the school willing to go further -- or lower -- than others in marketing its players.

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