Yes we are in the middle of the Olympics, the MLB trading deadline is passed and training camps for NFL are going strong. So with all the going on, a simple and fun way to start the fall college sports season kicked off this week…show your colors.
The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), a division of IMG College, and NCAA Football launched the project last year, and added a key partner in ESPN.com this year with a simple premise…go to schools and get supporters to log in, not just to BCS schools but to any football school that wants to participate…and empower them through digital and social media as well as through grassroots efforts…to get their supporters to show their school colors.
Over 165 colleges and universities decided to partake, which will culminate with the 2012 College Colors Day celebration on August 31, when the school with the most support will get to show their colors. The winning institution will also receive $10,000 toward its general scholarship fund. The public also gets a little incentive to vote, with weekly $50 gift cards from ESPN Shop and one of two grand prizes including a $500 college shopping spree at ESPN Shop dropped into the mix.
The University of Alabama, an early leader, got on board with a little creativity, even tweeting a photo of head coach Nick Saban casting their first vote.
Now the cynical will say it’s just another contest that will reward the big schools over the small ones again, and it is a gimmick that feeds into old school thoughts about college sports…big triumph, little ones get squashed. However it really is up to the schools and their entrepreneurial spirit to mobilize their fan and move up the rankings, which are charted every day in real time.
Can a small school find a unique way to garner votes…can Harvard get influential alumni to send out a little tweet that will drive a large number of votes? Will some big schools think it is too trivial and not care? It is all about a fun, simple opportunity to make some noise in a relatively quiet time for college athletics, and have a little fun as the fall approaches for some smart brand partners and their idea. It’s not rocket science, but then again maybe a rocket scientist who is an alumnus of x school will take some pride in making alma mater get some recognition it may not normally get. We probably have gotten way too cynical, and maybe rightfully so, about big time college athletics in many cases. However the games are still great fun, and Colors Day can serve as a great reminder.