Photo courtesy of Martin Snicer
The world of college athletics has changed in many ways over the past decade. Schools have changed conferences (sometimes twice), television contracts have expanded department’s bottom lines, and there’s more drive than ever when it comes to funding new capital projects on campus to build newer, bigger, shinier facilities.
These changes have also had an indirect impact on athletic department staff members, who are challenged even more to find a work / life balance. Weekends “off” are rare from September through May, holidays are spent managing football games or bowl trips, and spring break is sometimes spent with your basketball team during March Madness.
But now this activity has crept into summer. Take for instance my friend Chad Weiberg, Deputy AD at Texas Tech. Their baseball team hosted the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which began on Friday, June 3. Rain forced them to move their final game to Monday, June 6th and they advanced beating Dallas Baptist, 5-3. Their reward? Hosting the next round (called a Super Regional) in Lubbock, Texas, the following weekend. They won the second and third games of the regional and advanced to the College World Series, held in Omaha beginning on June 19. They lost two of their first three games in Omaha, the last of which to eventual Champion Coastal Carolina on June 23, and were bounced from the CWS.
A great run for the team, the players and the coaches. But for Chad? It was an extra month of baseball (aka, “work”) that he wasn’t necessarily planning for. I talked to him on July 13 and he sounded tired and dejected that he was now “in the office” for the rest of the summer as football season looms, and behind it, basketball season.
The College World Series ended on June 30, marking the end of the college athletic “season”. SEC Football Media Day, a four-day event that allows the media to meet with players and coaches to preview the upcoming season, began on July 11. This means that only 12 days separated two of these events. The idea of a summer “break” has all but been eliminated.
People like Chad, while being asked to do more and more, are always going to look for tools to help them work smarter and more efficiently. Staff sizes remain static, but the requests made of them seem to increase exponentially. Automation, streamlined business practices, and increased revenue have moved Tennessee and Tulane to upgrading their ticketing solution to AudienceView in the past 10 months as they look to make more fans happy with the same amount of resources. In the meantime, know that the college football season kicks off in 35 days. If you’re interested in finding Chad, you can call his office. He’ll be there.