Guest column: Sports technologies are coming to college sports

By Fred Gittleman, David Mazza, and Clio Maranthaler, Special to The Washington Post Technology is revolutionizing the sports experience, as seen at many college campuses across the country. Designed to enrich student life and…

By Fred Gittleman, David Mazza, and Clio Maranthaler, Special to The Washington Post

Technology is revolutionizing the sports experience, as seen at many college campuses across the country. Designed to enrich student life and enhance access to sporting events, these new platforms are among the latest innovations in interactive technology. Of course, there is no replacing the human touch of live, in-person engagement with your favorite team or event, but these new advances are making it easier than ever to follow along with your favorite athletes — and by proxy the game — on the go.

For college students in particular, these new platforms have added something that has been lacking in live sports: a platform where they can learn a little bit about the players on the field from a unique perspective. We provide students with an opportunity to play the game from both sides of the field, taking up skill and mindset in an understanding that is unparalleled.

To give you an idea of what these platforms offer, here is the small district of Virginia Tech where college students in real time can watch more than $1.6 million in cash and gifts change hands as they make their choices, and frequently watch in awe as ball after ball is blindly thrown and caught. So, here’s a perfect example of how students on these campuses can no longer just pay for a ticket and be spectators of their own college football games. They can now play along, learning from each other the game-changing skills of player evaluation, leadership, interview skills, position-specific scouting and more. And, just as in the rest of college sports, the quality of players and coaches varies across the country, as evidenced by the twists and turns of first-round NFL Draft prospects.

Live, in-person student sports, however, are not simply relegated to attending in-person sports events. What if?

What if you could send a text message from your smartphone to your parents or other close friends who are attending a sporting event with you?

What if the entire nation tuned in to a high school football game on national television?

Could there be a better way to continue learning about the day’s game than watching, say, an entire NFL game unfold, around the clock?

You know the answer. It’s more than just expanding access to these experiences. It’s a way to further educate, guide and inspire our students — and their peers — during a time in their lives when they need to be constantly prepared for the challenges of life.

Our data provides compelling evidence to support the advancements in this growing number of technology platforms that extend the games beyond the average stadium. I believe we’re on the verge of witnessing a revolution in education that will directly impact generations to come.

It’s exciting to watch, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.

This column was first published in The Washington Post.

Fred Gittleman is Executive Director of Gittleman Sports & Events, vice chairman of the American Gaming Association and a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Board of Directors.

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