The SIDs are not okay

Give yours a hug. And maybe a raise.

Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.

Forgive me, but I have a lot of notes that I’d like to share with y’all before we head into the weekend.

First, I have a free copy of Wolverine Studio’s Draft Day College Football computer game to give away. I know many of my readers love simulation-style computer games, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing their college basketball offering. If you’re interested, all you need to do is RT the following tweet. I’ll randomly select a winner and send you a download key late tomorrow.

Second, I’ve been spending a lot of time this week on some projects outside of the newsletter. For one, we’ve added several new extensive updates to the Extra Points FOIA Directory. This directory includes itemized budget information, coach and athletic director contact info across every NCAA-sponsored sport, major vendor contracts, and more. Since I first announced the directory, we’ve added over 50 shoe deal contracts, coach contracts from D-II and D-III, regional streaming contracts, and much more.

This directory is free for all D1.classroom and premium Extra Points subscribers and can be accessed here. It is updated several times a week:

I’ve also spent a lot of time pushing updates to Athletic Director Simulator 3000. If you haven’t played in a few weeks, you’ll notice that we have a) added new graphics, b) added many new questions and c) changed the code so that questions will not repeat unless you get promoted to a new job level. We’ve been adding questions and tweaking probabilities at least twice a week since release.

In other news…your friendly neighborhood Sports Information Director could use some help

Earlier this week, Randy Jones, a longtime college sports communication professional who was previously working as an SID (Sports Information Director) at Anderson University, decided to step down.

But his quotes in the “going away” story, previously published on the school website, deeply touched a nerve for many who have worked, or even currently work, in the industry:

The current version of the story does not appear to have the quote about ‘flash’ and social media, but a revised quote addressing burnout is still part of the story. The revised quote reads:

"I haven't embraced the rising expectations that have been placed on SIDs or athletic communicators," said Jones. "I have been very fortunate to work alongside some tremendously dedicated and talented people who have understood what we do and how we do it. Over the past few years, quality people have left the profession in droves because of the expectations caused by additional responsibilities and the ever-expanding student-athlete number on campuses, they were simply overloaded."

Take a look at the reactions to my screenshots. As of this writing, my tweet has been RT’d well over 100 times, and close to a hundred have quote tweeted it…mostly with folks (former and current SIDs) saying that Jones was telling the complete truth.

Being an SID is an important job. These are the folks who help keep statistics and the institutional history of a program, who pitch stories to people like me and help facilitate media access, who write recaps and features of athletes all over the athletic department…and increasingly also have to do social media, original video, multiplatform editing, and much more.

That’s also happening while local media across the country is gutted, which arguably makes the role of a SID even more important. The overwhelming majority of D-I institutions right now do not have a single, dedicated beat writer. If the SIDs aren’t there to chronicle what is going on…it isn’t going to be recorded.

Those changes are happening while the role of what a SID is “supposed” to do continues to expand (short-form video! social media! podcasting! microblogging!), the number of athletes they’re supposed to serve continues to expand…but resources do not.

Burnout isn’t just a college sports factor. Hell, I was nearly so burned out last year I thought about quitting Extra Points. And I know that many jobs in college athletics are grappling with widespread burnout. Athletic trainers are done. Strength and conditioning professionals would be another. Game officials are a struggle to find all over the country. Graphic designers change jobs frequently due to low pay and difficult work conditions. Quality operations staffers tend to leave the industry after their late 20s. The list goes on.

But sports communication folks are really struggling across the board right now, and I think Jones’ remarks clearly touched a particularly raw nerve. I hope that fans and my fellow professional pencil-pushers can have some grace for the overworked and underappreciated folks on the other side of the desk. And I hope that ADs and university presidents can reimagine what this role is really supposed to be, and resource it appropriately.

If we see mass burnout or disengagement of quality SIDs, the athlete experience and the fan experience will get worse. And in the long run, that will hurt far more than the dopamine rush of any viral tweet can help.

Here’s what else we published this week

I can afford to file FOIAs, break news, pay freelancers and dig into the nitty gritty of college sports thanks to your subscriptions. You can upgrade and get the full Extra Points experience right here:

Thanks for reading everybody. I’ll catch up with y’all after the weekend.

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