Video of the Day - Behind ESPN's new set
- Published: Tuesday, 08 July 2014 08:40
- by Doug Samuels
If your program had a way to raise $150,000 while spending only $25,000 and expending a minimal amount of effort, would you purse it? Most, if not all, programs would hop on that chance like a hungry dog on a hot piece of pizza.
Oklahoma State has found that avenue, and all it takes is going a little Xtreme. Oklahoma State director of football operations Mack Butler outlined the camp at the DFO Summit back in May.
Back in 2010, Oklahoma State launched Cowboy Xtreme Camp, sort of a fantasy camp multiplied to the sixth power for the orange-est of Cowboy fans. Held on the first two days of fall camp, the Pokes invite 100 fans behind closed doors and let them become a part of the program for those 48 glorious hours. They eat with the team. They sit in on team meetings. They stand on the sidelines during practice. And they get to dress like the team, which may be the best perk of all. Butler said that a chance to dress like the coaches was nearly worth the price of admission to many campers.
For any enterprising Oklahoma fans thinking of undergoing some covert ops, you can go ahead and stop right there. The list of attendees is heavily vetted. Most are already donors and/or season ticket holders, but all are friends of the program that bleed orange and black. If the program doesn't already know your name when the application comes through, you're probably not getting in.
The program asks fans to keep what they learn in house. Posting on social media is prohibited, and campers comply because, first, they're ardent Oklahoma State fans that resist doing anything to hurt the program they love and, second, they just paid a pretty penny to get inside the program, so why give their experience away for free?
There's no understating how valuable this camp is for those fortunate enough to get in. One poster on the Oklahoma State fan message board OrangePower.com described his experience as "a heaping ton of awesome. Worth every penny." Others described it as a bucket list item. To be clear, no one's putting on any pads here. Some brave fans may run a go route, but that's it as far as actual football activity. The rest is strictly observation but, still, for those two days each camper is as much a Cowboy as Mike Gundy and Glenn Spencer.
Cowboy Xtreme Camp isn't cheap, and that's by design. The cost started at $1,000 a camper, then rose to $1,250 and now stands at $1,500. Despite boosting an already steep price by 50 percent over the past four years, Butler says they still have a waiting list to get in. The proceeds go to the program's LLC, which funds Oklahoma State's six summer camps. Even at a price of a nice television, the guess here is that many of the 100 campers are repeat customers.
To be clear, this type of event isn't for everybody. Inviting 100 outsiders inside your walls isn't an idea many head coaches can get behind, and the head coach must be on board for this to have any shot at working. A school with a brand new coaching staff, for instance, should table the idea for at least a year or two. The simple timing of the camp, on the first critical two days of fall practice, may be a non-starter for many.
On the other hand, though, if you have a staff that's been together for awhile, this is an idea you should absolutely explore. The first two days of camp are well before any game-planning takes place, so the only actual football that campers see is basic fundamentals and install.
This is an idea that can be altered for programs of all shapes and sizes. Maybe small college programs and high schools could invite 50 fans in for $500 a pop. Even at those reduced prices, that's still $25,000 of revenue. Assuming Butler's figures are correct (and why wouldn't they be?), Oklahoma State's Cowboy Xtreme Camp nets $5 of revenue for every dollar they spend. And it's all raised in two days without anyone having to leave the football offices.
All it takes is going just a little bit Xtreme.
In February we had some photos of Mark Richt being arrested by some storm troopers. Definitely not something you see every day. They were photos from the set of Bulldogs wide receiver Chris Conley's Star Wars fan film, "Retribution".
The film was released on Saturday, and it's pretty darn good. Conley wrote, directed and starred in the film, and he got his head coach in for a hilarious cameo. The whole thing lasts 26 minutes, but we've fast-forwarded to Richt's moment on screen.
Trust us, you won't miss him.
(HT Fox Sports)
Imagine being a recruit and, on your official visit, the host coaches decide that their best chances of landing you is to not show you the stadium you would play your home games in. If you did see the stadium at all, it was at night.
This was Baylor football in the not-too-distant past.
On top of playing in the dilapidated Floyd Casey Stadium, Bears coaches also officed out of Floyd Casey, which meant the entire Baylor football program was a 15-minute ride away from campus until the on-campus Simpson Center opened during the 2008 season.
Needless to say, this is no longer the case (no pun intended).
The Bears open McLane Stadium in less than eight weeks. In anticipation of the opening, the Bears invited media on a tour of the locker room and playing surface. Needless to say, the days of shielding recruits away from the stadium are long gone.
In fact, Baylor recruits will have their own room inside McLane Stadium with a field-level view of the game, as well as giant video screens on which they can view classic Bears games or - of course - play XBox.
“We think it’s pretty spectacular,” Baylor associate athletic director Todd Patulski told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “The recruiting game is competitive, and you’re bringing in 17- and 18-year-old kids who want to be impressed. This is certainly going to accomplish that. You basically manage their entire experience.”
Ah Summer...the time for team building. Many programs, especially those fortunate enough to have strong leadership and buy-in from the players, parents and administration, have their coaches and players get together in a camp like setting for a couple of days. Some of that time is focused on planning for the season; but much of this time is focused on team building.
At Redmond High School (WA), head coach Jason Rimkus recently gathered his troops for their team camp. Rimkus told FootballScoop that during the day they would work out, talk ball and philosophy, vote on and announce captains for the upcoming season and decide upon their motto for the season; but each night he gathered up his group of 100+ guys and spent a few hours on teambuilding exercies...culminating in their last night in which they go "game night". "X-boxes all around, a lot of fun competition, everybody enjoys themselves."
Well, here's where the story gets a little different. For background, Redmond's defensive backs coach Morio Mongomery, aka Coach Mo, is a former rapper. After serving in the Navy, Coach Mo lived in L.A. for the better part of a decade and had a pretty good run at the rap thing, before deciding he wanted to devote his life to improving the lives of young men through coaching and teaching.
Well, to close out camp, one of the players challenged Coach Mo to a rap battle and, well, this is just something you have to see. Props to coach Coach Mo and to the young man Riley Brown, aka "Lobe Thunder".
Coaches hope camps like this will bring the team together. There is no doubt in my mind that every player will remember this night for a long, long time.