"We're never really going to be 'finished' with the website," says John Veneziano, director of sports information, but on-line access to news about Harvard athletics strode boldly forward this past October, when the athletic department launched its newly enhanced site (http://gocrimson.ocsn.com/). The OCSN (Official College Sports Network)—which serves 125 colleges nationwide, including Brown, Cornell, Penn, and Princeton, as well as sports powerhouses like UCLA and Notre Dame—built and manages the website. Previously, a typical autumn day attracted about a thousand visitors to the Harvard sports home page, but on the new site's first day, 4,000 showed up. "We expect that number to grow," Veneziano says.
Enriched options should spur that growth. More complete and accurate schedules and scores, updated daily, are now only a click away from the home page. There are more photographs of more athletes, from a wider range of sports. Potential recruits can complete an on-line questionnaire; the data go directly to the appropriate coach, who can add it directly to a database. There is webcasting of radio coverage of Harvard games. There are fan polls. More statistics and box scores, along with improved layout and design, complete the package.
"The world is moving away from printed materials and traditional forms of media," Veneziano says. "We want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to electronic forms of communication. The upside is that we get our message out unfiltered as we bypass other media which, because of space and time limitations and editorial judgments, aren't covering Harvard athletics to the extent that we can." Some colleges have already eliminated printed media guides in favor of their websites. Harvard hasn't yet ventured that far into the post-Gutenberg world, but, Veneziano says, "that day is coming."