Three Big Ten schools say they’re through printing media guides, joining an ever-growing list of sports teams putting an old friend out to pasture.
For decades, collectors who have plenty of space and an appetite for information have been drawn to media guides as a collectible option. Now, the team-issued guides may be on the way out.
Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan have agreed to halt the printing of athletic team media guides in a cost-saving measure.
Earlier this year, Major League Baseball stopped printing its long-running "Green" and "Red" books for the National and American Leagues.
“With the new media environment and current economic climate, the decision to cut back in this area was prudent,” Bill Martin, University of Michigan Director of Athletics, said. “The discussion to eliminate the printed version of the media guide has been ongoing within the Big Ten and NCAA administrative services for some time.
College media guides have gotten so large and sophisticated in recent years that the NCAA passed legislation limiting their size in order to keep bigger schools from using them as recruiting tools. The schools will concentrate on delivering information via their online platforms.
“We understand there is a need for a stronger commitment to new media,” Martin added. “Our alumni and fans want more timely information.”
“With Ohio State and Michigan together making this statement, I hope our decision will be a catalyst for other schools to follow suit,” Gene Smith, Ohio State Director of Athletics, said. “All athletic programs are in the midst of cost containment discussions, but our decision is not only based on economics, the structure of media consumption has changed rapidly and we need to meet the challenges head on.
“New initiatives will have to be developed to allow media, recruits, alumni and fans to follow our teams,” Smith said. “Social networking already plays a role in our communication plan and new platforms will continue to develop.”
The elimination of printed media guides will take place immediately and the three schools say they’ll save more than $400,000 per year combined by eliminating the printing of guides.