Once a week, SEC Digital Media Director Eric SanInocencio will share insights on the inner-workings of the conference office.
Birmingham, Ala. -- If you have ever worked in collegiate athletics, the summer months are a welcome sight. Our peak times correspond with the busiest months on a university campus, and the world of covering student-athletes requires you follow the same schedule they do. Summer means no competition, at least at the school level, so this time is reserved for recharging batteries after another long year.
Think about it. School starts for most collegians in late August, and the fall sports shortly after. Soccer is usually first, and then volleyball hits the court a week later. That is followed by football's opening kickoff, so the schedule ramps up quickly despite the fact that most college students are just getting acclimated to being back on campus.
For us, that means taking advantage of the time in between. However, that amount of time seems to shrink every year. There are a multitude of reasons for this phenomenon, but most fall in the category of things you generally want to have happen in your league.
First off, due to the success of the conference, the schedule extends for a much later period of time (I'll explain later). Secondly, the passion of fans in the SEC makes every day a unique challenge. Whether through Facebook
, we now have the ability to reach over 250,000 people with the click of a button. With that excitement comes responsibility.
The goal of the SEC Digital Network has now shifted, hoping to grow these platforms in addition to what we already do. The best way to continue that expansion is by providing unique coverage on a daily basis. While a fun and at times engaging process, it takes a strong core group of people to make that is a successful venture. But, the great part about these two points is that they overlap quite a bit, so it never feels like one causes more work than the other. They go hand in hand.
You lost? Let me explain.
The last "official" SEC athletic event of the season is the baseball tournament
, which most year's runs through the final days of May. From there, you aren't done, despite the fact that the final league matchups are in your rear view mirror. After presenting a trophy to the tournament champion, the SEC staff quickly changes course, beginning the trek to Florida for the conference's week long Spring Meetings. The focus changes from the games on the field to the policies that govern it, as various coaches groups and the top administrators from the league's institutions convene for a multi-day session.
No longer an unknown occurrence, Spring Meetings have become a media covered event and a place where news is made. So, tying into my point earlier, we feel the need to give the fan of view of all the action. This year, for the first time, we created a live stream show that had various coaches and administrators as guests
. Now in order to pull this off, you have to be there, so again, despite the games being over, the workflow continues. T
housands watched as Nick Saban, John Calipari, Commissioner Slive and others explained the week's itinerary and described each meeting live on our website. So, with that in hand we bid adieu from Destin, but returned home to a new task.
As you might have heard (hopefully here
), the conference's elite baseball teams decided to make strong NCAA runs as well, turning Omaha's famed CWS into a second version of the SEC Tournament. This means that games were played throughout the month of June, with squads battling for the right to capture national glory. The Digital Network was there, covering these memorable runs as they happened, even witnessing an All-SEC final in the Championship Series
. We flew to Omaha on June 28th for the epic tilt between South Carolina and Florida, so again, another month slipped away because our teams kept winning. Fair deal to me, and in the end I think we all will trade a little off time for another National Championship
Okay, big deal you say, they have all of July and August to take a break. Well, you are only partly right. The first few weeks of July are time to decompress, gather your thoughts and relax a little bit. Why only part of July? That's easy, because the second half belongs to possibly the SEC's biggest event of the year, as planning and execution of Media Days begins in earnest.
The actual three-day event takes place July 20-22, but you can't just show it and hope it happens. This "get together", which credentialed over 900 media this year
, has to be hashed out and prepared for quite a while prior in order for it to go off without a hitch. My first week back in the office, July 11th, saw five different meetings occur, all centered on the Digital Network's coverage of Media Days. On top of that, the SEC Media Relations staff is busy laying out the 12 different rooms that coaches and players will interview with, while creating a matrix like schedule sheet that ensures it all happens in one time block.
Once SEC Media Days actually starts, it is all downhill. All you have to do is make sure the live stream works, that players are on time and that 1000 journalists in attendance can all get along when the wireless is sketchy.
Some of those jobs are easier than others.
But again, because our fan base is so passionate about football, there is a need to have this "kickoff to the season" type event. Media have been privy to this for decades, but for the past two years you the fan have been right there beside them. So while we continue working at it, it is because you care about it. That's a good thing.
Alright, that should sign us off until school is back in session....right? As ESPN's Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast my friend"
. Actually, Lee Corso could have been the one to say it to us, in person, as the league's football coaches headed to ESPN headquarters the very next week
. We've covered that trip too, so the fans could feel "car washed" at the end of a fun two-day session.
Now, we have finally hit that lull that I talked about earlier. Despite debuting some new segments on the website
, days here at the office have begun to get quieter as everyone takes that last minute to escape. Plans continue to be in motion, including new features that will blow your mind, but for the most part this is the last breath before it starts all over again.
Because on August 19th, when soccer opens play for the first official night of action, we will be there
. When volleyball starts on the 26th of August, we will be ready
. When September 1st rolls around, we will be in mid-season form.
Why? Because we will have to be....this may be the start of another memorable year. It will be full speed ahead. We can breathe again next August.