Inside Look

August 7, 2017

This article first appeared in the August/September 2017 issue of Athletic Management

More and more often, it’s all hands on deck when it comes to recruiting. At NCAA Division III SUNY Oswego, Director of Athletic Communications Mike Bielak is doing his part by creating short YouTube videos for each sport team.

The idea is to give prospects an inside view of the team, interspersing practice and game action with interviews. The videos focus on why current student-athletes chose Oswego and what they are getting out of their experience.

“We try to touch on that from both an academic and an athletic perspective,” Bielak explains. “Athletes from different majors talk about what they like about the school and team, and how it is shaping their future.”

The initial roadblock was that the athletics department had no resources to put together professional videos. But that problem was solved when university communications hired a videographer and Bielak reached out to him. “Because this is about more than athletics—it’s about showcasing our school and bringing in more students—the college agreed to help,” Bielak says.

To create the videos, Bielak begins by sitting down with the coach and the videographer. “It’s really up to the coaches to decide how they want their program to be seen,” says Bielak. “We started with wrestling, which has a good history here and a big alumni base. So with that one we focused on tradition.”

The videographer then shoots and edits the film, with help from an intern Bielak has brought on board who also serves as the sport director for the student television station. “We are making each video about a minute and a half to two minutes,” says Bielak. “The idea is just to give a brief overview of the program.”

Once produced, the videos are posted on the athletics website, the team website, the school’s YouTube site, and social media. Response has been overwhelmingly positive. “We’ve done two sports so far and the others are chomping at the bit, asking, ‘When’s my turn?’” Bielak says. “And we’ve been able to do this without any extra costs.”

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