Many UCF fans have been watching the Headline as the NCAA hands out its penalty which force Central Florida to sit out the postseason for a year in men’s basketball and football.
After major recruiting violations were uncovered, both programs have not only suffered the consequences for possible post-season appearances, but also have slowly lost potential recruits along with current players. It was recently announced that Josh Crittle and C.J. Reed will be transferring from UCF to take their talents to other Universities. For the University, this is a tremendous blow as it presents and promotes a potentially failing system.
With all that being said, It is time for UCF to Respond with….. Positive Press!
Okay, I am stating the obvious there, but below I have put together a Plan of Action that will help rebuild their image.
So while the average University would normally release a statement expressing their plans to make changes and improve the image of the Athletic Department, as the saying goes…..
Actions Speak Louder than Words
With that being said, As UCF Celebrates their 50th Anniversary, its the perfect time for them to hold a UCF Rally.
The Goal here is to rally Fans, Media and Sponsors together for a celebration of UCF Athletics.
So lets break it down the game plan:
1. To highlight the accomplishments and success of UCF Athletics I would gather Former UCF Athletes like Josh Peppers, Kevin Smith, Jermaine Taylor and Brandon Marshall (if possible) to have them speak about their experiences as an athlete at the University of Central Florida.
2. The key here is to remind not only fans, but more importantly incoming and potential recruits that may see footage of this event that UCF Athletics has provided athletes of all sports a gateway to professional sports as well as a professional job.
3. I would take this UCF Rally also as an opportunity to get fans excited about this Upcoming Athletic Season. While the Football and Basketball Program will not be able participate in the post season, it is still critical that we recognize these athletes for their accomplishments throughout the season and getting fans excited about the upcoming games is a great way to get Athletes excited and looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel. (since there are no postseason possibilities)
4. I would also continue the segments I saw posted by Eric DeSalvo who is the Assistant Director of Athletics Communications. These segments have followed UCF Athletes throughout their journey of becoming an Elite Athlete. (**Continuing to Highlight the Athletes, not the programs that were at fault)
5. I would also take a page out the DeVos Sports Management book and begin to give back to the Surrounding Orlando Community. Gather UCF Basketball Players and Football Players for Community Events in the Area. For Instance, The DeVos Program the past several years has made trips to New Orleans to Help rebuild homes. It would be great to the see UCF Athletes doing the same in the Orlando Area.
6. Lastly, I would put together a strategic marketing plan that would highlight UCF Athletes that not only perform well in their sport, but also in the Classroom. This is critical for parents to see as they help their student-athletes decide what university to choose. ( A balance of Sports and Education here)
………..Not to be forgotten is the Legendary Tweet by Mr. Keith Clanton. I believe UCF Should highlight his loyalty and even use it as part of their Marketing for UCF Basketball.
For Example: I would love to see Ads or T-Shirts that had:
“The Tweet Heard Round the World, followed by Keith Clanton’s tweet to remain a UCF Knight.”
Possibly even a shirt that demonstates his recent kind words of the programs:
“UCF is where my heart was at,” Clanton said. “At the end of the day, I felt like UCF was the best place for me. I felt like the coaching staff and the players, I can trust everybody. And then knowing what we have as a team still here, I still feel like we have a chance to accomplish a lot.”
So The Glaring Question is this is a lot to do for just UCF Athletics, Why so much emphasis on Sports?
Lets face it, While good Educational Programs are the backbone of most Colleges, Sports are the foundation that help raise awareness of their Educational achievements.
My point here is that UCF currently has an amazing educational program and students are beginning to recognize that, but in order for top athletes to truly commit to UCF there must be a positive and impactful Athletic program.
Rebuilding the Image of UCF Athletics should be first priority as it will continue to lure High Caliber Athletes and as well as High Caliber Students.
For more of my insight of on my Sports Marketing, Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/YoTonyFernandez