I got this email (see below) in my mailbox from the university letting me know that the Razorbacks (all sports) have finished in the Top 25 of the Learfield Sports Directors Cup standings for the 2012-13 season. Well, we can now all relax about last year, can't we? It wasn't so bad! We finished number twenty-one in the Learfield standings. HURRAY! haha. Who is Learfield, you say? Who has heard of this cup until now? Who really cares when your football team went 4-8 and basketball team didn't make the tournament? One could snark away on something like this.
But I can also imagine the thinking behind the announcement. Horrible year, probably won't be too much better this coming year, we must throw those ticket paying Hog fans whatever bone we can. Accentuate the positive! Wherever the hell you can find it! But if you go through the trouble of watching the video, you'll also see that they did a fairly good job of eliminating the negative. There are lots and lots of shots of the track teams and women's sports, and rightly so. But I saw one, maybe two, clips of the basketball team in the montage. The football team, one brief clip from what looked like the Kentucky game. The email and clip also try to ease the hurt by looking at the big picture and how the Hogs have been finishing in the Top 25 (Learfield, that is) rather consistently as of late.
A sports marketing department is not going to mess with a Mr. In-Between, but instead of the rah-rah cheer tone, it would have been refreshing if the email contained something like this: "Hog fans, we know most of you have never heard of this cup and don't get up on Saturday mornings having dreamed about the Learfield Cup, and are disappointed about how last year went. We know that. And as a sports program, we are committed first and foremost to actual championships on the field. Of which, we will continue to strive towards, never yielding. In the mean time, we hope you will appreciate the positive things that happened last year for our sports teams to earn us this national ranking." Or something along those lines, something that also recognizes that last year was a big load of suck for us to swallow.
The Email Itself:
I want to share some exciting news with you regarding the Razorback program. For the third-consecutive year and the fifth time in six years, the University of Arkansas has finished in the top-25 of the Learfield Sports Directors Cup standings.
In 2012-13, the University of Arkansas scored a school record 830 points including a program best 460 points from our women's sports programs. Arkansas finished third among programs with 19 or fewer sports.
I want to thank and congratulate our Student-Athletes, Coaches and support staffs for their Record breaking effort! I also want to thank our Razorback Foundation members and fans for their support of our more than 460 student-athletes.
To help us get out the good news, I'm asking you to distribute this information through your social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook etc.). Below we have provided a link to the website story and the highlight video.
Link to website story - http://bit.ly/12ndlUK
Watch Video: http://youtu.be/lFFrMyVRglY
Thank you for your help in spreading the word.