Ohio State football recruiting: New job will oversee Twitter and Snapchat as social media director

Courtesy of the Dayton Business Journal:

For the first time, Ohio State University’s athletics department will employ someone whose sole focus is on the digital side of football recruiting.

Just a few other powerhouse football programs have such a position, the school said, and the Buckeyes will soon join their ranks, citing the large influence social media has on teenage athletes.

“It really reflects the changing dynamics in football recruiting and what’s happening nationally,” said Martin Jarmond, Ohio State’s executive associate athletics director for administration who will soon be Athletic Director Gene Smith’s chief deputy.

The athletics department is searching for a director of new and creative media. The person will oversee digital communications for the school’s football recruiting department, which includes a nine-person creative team.

Social media channels now divvied up by a variety of staffers will be coordinated by the new hire. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are directly referenced in the job posting.

The new role isn’t really a technology position or a marketing position – it’s a hybrid.

“We don’t just add positions at Ohio State to add them,” Jarmond said. “There has to be a business reason.”

Football recruiting is itself big business at a school like Ohio State, where winning the national championship can lead to a noticeable uptick not only in merchandise sales but freshman applications.

The entire digital landscape has changed quickly. Instagram debuted in 2010, followed a year later by Snapchat. Twitter, which is nearing its 10th birthday, is home to high school players with thousands of fans parsing their tweets with intense interest.

J.K. Dobbins, a Texas high school running back, on Sunday announced his commitment to Ohio State via Twitter. The post has been retweeted more than 500 times and liked twice as much.

The idea gained momentum at the end of the season when Mark Pantoni, director of player personnel, showed Jarmond some of the new tactics competing football programs are using to connect with recruits.

“It’s really a marketing thing – telling the story of Ohio State football in a professional way with 16-, 17-, 18-year old kids,” Jarmond said.

The athletics department will get assistance from within the university. In another new wrinkle, the director of new and creative media will partner with OSU’s Film Studies program to develop videos for the athletics department.

Other responsibilities for the job, which pays between $45,000 and $55,000: Providing live updates on social media during game days “for recruits to experience from afar”; coordinating photo and video shoots of players; creating new recruiting-communication practices; and training coaches on how to use digital media and communications.

The job could translate into other major OSU sports, if it makes sense.

“I envision this person really taking our recruiting efforts on social media to another level,” Jarmond said.

The job posting is no longer listed on Ohio State’s website.