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Virginia’s Option to Replace Media Guides

Following the change in NCAA legislation that prohibits schools from providing prospective student-athletes with a media guide, it is the proposal of the Virginia media relations staff to build a central “digital information recruiting/media” website. The site would include an area for each UVa sport and would function to assist in recruiting and also provide the information members of the media will seek in covering teams.

The website will be linked to the main landing page of All Virginia athletics programs will have a link to their specific sport landing page from their sport front page on

Using the services available in the media relations and video services departments, along with an outside web designer/consultant, we feel this will provide UVa coaches a greater tool to interact with potential student-athletes and a tremendous source of information for media, fans and supporters interested in Virginia’s athletics programs.

Several different options were examined before reaching this decision. Ultimately, the proposed site would be a hybrid and use different elements that we found worked best from the various sites we studied. A review of the different formats can be found at this link.

The Audiences
The proposed website will appeal to the two major stakeholders associated with media guides – recruits and media.

Recruits – Media guides are used by coaching staffs to introduce and educate prospective student-athletes, their families and friends on the benefits of attending UVa, competing for a specific sport and the long-term benefits associated with becoming a Cavalier. They help to sell the program. The media relations staff has adapted the Virginia media guides over the past five years to better suit this purpose for the coaching staffs. The front of each brochure is geared toward recruits by presenting the upside of the program in a very visual fashion. Other elements in the media guides have also become more visual and less relient on text.

Media – Media use guides as a reference tool, primarily seeking detailed information on coaches, student-athletes and the history of the program. Records and results are other critical areas they rely on to do their job. Media are not as interested in the recruiting information at the front of the brochures, however much of that is written in a manner that is very helpful if media are interested in the overall success of each program.

Overall Look
The Virginia website will feature a main, animated landing page using Flash. This page will include links to each sport’s animated landing page and contain links general to the overall athletics program. All landing pages will be built and designed by a web design company.

Each sport landing page will be built with Flash and include links to specific areas of information that would be found in a traditional media guide. These areas will be one of three levels of production (below).

Tiered Formatting
Each sport on the Virginia website will be broken down into three levels of production value.

Level 1
This area is geared toward recruiting and will include the most interactive information, including Flash software, embedded video and links, photo galleries and sound. This area will be designed and built by a third-party web design company. Examples would be the recruiting information currently found in the front section of all UVa media guides.

Level 2
This area is geared toward recruiting and the media. This area will include enriched graphics and interactive links to videos, photo galleries and other media. Examples would be player bios, coaching staff bios, season outlook, roster, season review. These pages will be heavy on graphics with links back to for detailed information that already exists on the main UVa athletics website.

Level 3
This area is geared toward media. This area will include basic information in list forms with limited graphics/images. Each page will have a similar template. There will be indexes on each page to allow for quick reference when looking for other records and historical information. These pages can be expanded in the future to include more interactive elements.

See THIS DOCUMENT for a specific breakdown on how UVa media guides would be presented.

A web design company will build all landing pages and Level 1 pages. They will oversee the architecture of the site and ensure all links function properly. They will advise on the design of all other pages and assist in creating templates for pages. They will take PSD (Photoshop) files from the media relations staff and convert those into HTML pages. They will assist in linking all multimedia elements to the website.

The media relations staff will layout and design all Level 2 and Level 3 pages. They will provide the web designer PSD files to be converted into HTML pages.

Web Designer’s Role
The designated web design firm will supervise the entire project including a timeline. They will oversee the architecture for the site and ensure all links function properly. They will advise on the design of all other pages and assist in creating templates for pages. They will also create a version of the site suitable for multiple mobile platforms.

Virginia has received two proposals by web design firms to fill this role:
• Willowtree
row27 Studios

The Future
Since this website is built and hosted outside of UVa’s current relationship with NeuLion for, it can be transitioned to any future official athletics website should the host change.

Being web-based will allow Virginia to utilize new web technologies as they emerge and repurpose video and other media created by the department.

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