The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday November 26th

Athletic department ramps up social media outreach

Marketing officials in the athletics department have ramped up their emphasis on social media, in an effort to increase athletics’ exposure among students.

For example, fans can now get live scoring and video on their iPhones with a free UNC Athletics app.

Rick Steinbacher, associate athletic director for marketing and promotions, provided a marketing and new media update at the faculty athletics committee meeting Tuesday.

“We’re proud of how we’re doing with traditional communities and digital communities,” Steinbacher said.

He reported that tarheelblue.com had the highest number of website visits in all of college athletics, averaging 500,000 visits per month.

Also discussed at the meeting was the UNC College Sport Research Institute, a nonprofit organization that conducts national research on various issues in college sports.

Richard Southall, director of the institute, said it is developing a new way to analyze athlete graduation rates, referred to as the adjusted graduation gap.

This method compares student-athletes to other full-time students, Southall said.

“There should be a comparison, full-time to full-time, and I think that’s valuable. Not why are they graduating poorly but why are they having trouble?” he said.

Robert Turner, a fellow in the exercise and sport science postdoctoral program, introduced another research study that focuses on individual athletes on basketball teams and Bowl Championship Series men’s football teams.

He said the institute is working to monitor these athletes over periods of time to see the effect of athletics on the athletes’ lives.

The data will also help shed light on whether certain athletic programs recruit players based on personal background demographics, he said.

The institute then plans to analyze how a player’s demographics and his status as an athlete affects his educational experience.

“We want to understand, are the wealthy universities going after a certain kind of athlete?” Turner said. “And what can that tell us about their ability to perform once they’re at that school?”

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