Dotting the "i" in iPad

By Kyle Rowland on September 5, 2012 at 10:00a
43 Comments

In the 1970s, the wishbone offense was the big football craze. It evolved to the option, Steve Spurrier’s Fun-N-Gun passing game and, eventually, the spread for the current generation. 

Football and the iPad have come together in a Holy Union.

But there’s a new fad taking over. It’s not a sparkly high-tech offense or defense. It is high tech, though. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in 2010, college and NFL locker rooms were probably near the bottom of the list of places he assumed you could find one. But that is exactly the location you can find hundreds of the tablet computers two years later.

For Ohio State student-athletes, obtaining an iPad became a whole lot easier in May, when the university announced a $400,000 Digital First Program that will outfit every student-athlete – yes, all 1,100 from each of the Buckeyes’ 36 varsity sports – with the tablet by 2014. Five hundred iPads were distributed this fall.

“The use of iPads will allow us to find creative and innovative ways to enhance our tutoring and mentoring services for student-athletes,” Dr. David Graham, Ohio State assistant provost for student-athlete success, said. “The iPads will be preloaded with athletics department materials currently provided to student-athletes in paper or book form and will be available to students throughout their academic careers.”

During the 2011-12 academic year, Ohio State produced a school-record 548 scholar athletes (3.0 grade-point average or better). To build upon that academic achievement, the belief among university and athletic department leaders is that through technology, the educational experience will be transformed.

Ohio State’s academic success has coincided with its best finishes athletically. The Buckeyes placed second in the 2010-11 Directors' Cup standings, the best finish in school history, and followed it up with a fourth-place finish this past year.

With the introduction of the iPads, the university ensures that it remains on the cutting edge of a technology heyday. It’s a practice Ohio State has prided itself on for more than a decade. Eleven years ago they began providing laptops to student-athletes on a checkout basis.

As new technologies evolve and emerge on a near daily basis, the rate to keep up for institutions of higher learning is almost impossible.

The iPads contain a vast amount of apps, information and possibilities, all at the student-athletes' fingertips. Among them are e-textbooks, library databases and study tools.

“The student scholastic experience at Ohio State increasingly embraces technological innovations,” Dr. John Bruno, faculty athletics representative, said. “The state-of-the-art initiative of providing our student-athletes with iPads is consistent with this trend and, with the academic apps available, will allow our student-athletes to continue to keep pace with our student body.”

Crystal clear game footage on a handheld device. 

An area where the devices will come in extra useful is when teams leave Columbus. Athletic Director Gene Smith told Eleven Warriors there is distance learning and team travel programming provided to act as a classroom away from home. Already, freshman volleyball player Katie Mitchell said iPads have been “a huge help on the road.”

Tutors and academic assist personnel will still travel with teams, but the amount of materials that have to go on the road will shrink considerably because of the iPads.

“Our primary goal is to help our student-athletes graduate, and we are always looking for different tools to assist them towards that goal,” Smith said. “We want to be current and responsive to what they use and need. Technology is critical in learning today. The iPad program allows for digital technology to be used to enhance learning.”

For football players there is even more: game film and the almighty playbook.

Mere hours after his first start at right tackle, Reid Fragel was lounging in his apartment Saturday night. Bored, he figured he would do something more productive, so he pulled out his iPad.

Less than two hours after the conclusion of the Buckeyes’ 56-10 victory over Miami (Ohio), Fragel, a senior, was re-watching the game. He retraced those steps again Sunday morning, only this time Fragel watched Central Florida’s season-opener at Akron.

“I just wanted to look at a couple of things, so I was able to pull up my iPad,” Fragel said. “That was pretty neat. It’s the whole game. Then they also have cut-ups of blitz packages, different looks on defense and stuff like that.”

The implementation of iPads has also allowed players to spend less time in the cavernous Woody Hayes Athletic Center and more time focusing on academics. Because of the change to semesters, the 2012 season marks the first year Ohio State started school before football games began.

“I just come in here more so I can get with our whole defense and watch it together,” junior safety Christian Bryant said.

Plays and their execution can be easily categorized on iPads. 

In the old days – the DVD era, which lasted from 1995-2011 – the video staff would distribute over 100 discs to coaches and players. Everyone was free to watch on a computer at home or at the WHAC. 

There wasn’t a great deal of inconvenience involved, though it may seem that way based on the advances made in a small time period, but the new-age technology and ease makes everything smoother for all involved.

Instead of burning countless DVDs, one click of a mouse sends out an untold amount of information to every member of the football team, staff included. The data can also be uploaded to iPhones.

“Athletically, what they need is always with them,” Smith said. “We can download videos, stats, schedules, reminders, etc. to their iPads. It is truly a tool to help teach and organize.”

Players receive football information based on their position. With it comes film from Ohio State’s practice, previous games and opponents’ previous games. It is broken up by down and distance, and there are also techniques pertaining to their position.

Another feature that players may or may not like: they, along with their coaches, can send messages to other people in the Ohio State iPad network. Coaches are also able to insert messages into the game film to explain why a play excelled or went awry.

“No doubt it’s helped us,” Fragel said. “You can carry your iPad and iPhone and you can load up film. It’s a lot easier access. You don’t have to drive to the Woody. Wherever you’re at, if you’re home or somewhere else, you can just pull it up on your phone.”

The use of iPads isn’t limited to Ohio State or even college athletics. The NFL has also dipped its toes into murky waters. No longer are three-ring binders all the rage. Instead, 20 of the league’s 32 teams have shifted to iPad playbooks.

“It enables players and coaches to do more, just like in the corporate world,” Chad Brown, director of business development for DragonFly Athletics, a designer of playbook apps for seven NFL franchises, recently told the Toronto Star. “You can do more from your house, from Starbucks, from your hotel. It helps centralize everyday workflow, whether you’re a coach or a player.”

In the collegiate ranks, Stanford uses a fully digital playbook, citing money as being the biggest reason behind the change.

Something tells me Urban and Braxton won't be doing this. 

Meyer, who gives off the vibe of a hip 48-year-old, is not shy about his use of technology. He texts his daughters more than a dozen times a day, and some reports would lead you to believe he sends more than a dozen per hour. He also owns an iPod.

If Meyer utilizes all the high-tech goodies the team gets, then he expects his players to do the same. So when a question was posed to him Monday about UCF, he anticipated his players were already aware of the challenge that lies ahead.

“To say that we don't have a lot of respect for Central Florida would be nonsense,” Meyer said. “The good thing is nowadays our players have already seen film, so they have a touch of what's going on with all these iPads floating around here. They have plenty of film to watch.”

Meyer’s coaching idol, Woody Hayes, was famous for watching film on a projector for hours on end, often times falling asleep at his desk as the film continued to roll. It’s also the same way Earle Bruce, the man who first brought Meyer to Ohio State, scouted the 1987 Michigan Wolverines the week he was unceremoniously fired. Bruce devised a game plan that week that was responsible for one of the Buckeyes’ most memorable victories in “The Game.”

For John Simon, however, there is no iPad to be seen. If Meyer is to find one area to criticize Simon, it’s his lack of affection toward technological innovation.

“We have some old-school guys,” defensive line coach Mike Vrabel said. “John Simon likes to come in and have a notebook in front of him and have a game plan in front of him.

“We have some new-age tech guys, and they have the iPads and go home and work on it. So I think it works both ways. I don't think the old-school, film and paper game plan is going to give way to the iPad. But overall, I think it enhances preparation.”

Dating back to the first time he walked on a practice field in Ashtabula at Saint John High School, Meyer’s been a stickler when it comes to preparation and efficiency. With the most up-to-date technology available to himself, his staff and the team, the revitalization of the Ohio State football program could be sped up.

As Fragel aptly put it, “It’s great.”

43 Comments

Comments

buck-I.8's picture

I actually really like this aspect of watching film. It adds another element of accountability to the game. If no one is forcing you to sit in a film room and watch tape, you could half ass it, but the results will show on the field.

FROMTHE18's picture

those results could mean a loss for OSU...

buck-I.8's picture

Maybe, but life isn't about football. Give these kids the autonomy on a small scale that they're gonna live with the rest of their lives if they aren't one of the lucky few that play in the NFL

DEEZnutz25's picture

Why are players complaining they need to get paid?  While I am all for keeping up with technology, I have been out of school and working for almost two years now and I still can't afford an iPad.  Must be nice.

Kyle Rowland's picture

In fairness to them, it's almost literally impossible for them to have a job while they're in college, unlike "normal" students, and a vast majority do not come from wealthy families. 

bukyze's picture

The vast majority of normal students do not come from wealthy families.  They still have to pay room/bed, books, meals, etc..., and graduate with tens of thousands of dollars of debt, even with their part time jobs.  Athletes, on the other hand, have everything paid for, have all the tutors they want, eat the best food, and can get their degree relatively debt-free.  There should be absolutely no sympathy for the trivial financial problems atheltes have.  Get a loan like every other student!

DEEZnutz25's picture

Well said.  My job in college paid minimum wage and the most hours they could give me was about 10/week because they wanted to give as many kids as they could an opportunity to make money.  I basically handed my paycheck to the bartender every two weeks.

klfeck's picture

Envy is a bitch, maybe you should have been a world class athlete........

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

klfeck's picture

Why are people who don't bring marketable skills that are valuable to the school complaining about those who do and receive a small benefit?

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

William's picture

I'll have to stop you here. A full ride is far from a small benefit. It costs my girlfriend ~$25,000 a year to go to OSU with out of state tuition. That's $100,000 alone for tuition if the athlete is here 4 years. Take into account room and board, as well as all of the clothing and other apparel these athletes receive, and that's far from a small benefit.

hodge's picture

^ This.  Most of us aren't complaining about the free ride, we're complaining about how much said athletes undervalue it when they ask the university to pay them in addition to the $100,000+ education/room and board/food/clothes/pro-sports-training that they provide.  

klfeck's picture

I wonder how many student athletes would take offense to the whole term "free ride". Let's ask Nathan Williams if his ride has been free.
 
Adam Bellemy's ride was so easy and carefree that he quit because it was just too easy.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

klfeck's picture

Your GF could have saved money and went to school in state. If she had a valuable talent like most scholarship athletes do, her education would have been much cheaper. That is life, don't blame others because they were born with or developed a valuable talent and you or your GF didn't.
BTW, my daughter is a senior at tOSU and her school is paid for with loans in my name. And yet I don't play the pity or the envy card. Had she worked harder in HS at being a better athlete or scholar the price would be much lower. Had she been born an athletic freak like Braxton, her only cost would be in labor, effort, and pain.
 
Just so you know, OSU boosters will be picking up at least part of the tab for the iPads. They are having multiple events to raise money such as the upcoming auction night that benefits the student athlete technology fund.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

hodge's picture

He's not trying to say anything like that.  William's point was that these kids with valuable talents who are asking to be paid by the university are already recieving $100,000 in education alone, a conservative estimate that balloons once you factor in the other benefits said scholarship includes.  He was trying to illustrate that the benefit said athletes receive is anything but the "small" benefit you refer to.  

klfeck's picture

And my point just so you understand is that none of these athletes receive a free ride. The small benefit I was referring to was the iPad.  It doesn't matter that these athletes can't really have part time jobs like most of the non athletes because their time is almost 100% dedicated to training. It doesn't matter that they have to travel for their sport and the iPads can make keeping up with school and even improving their skills easier. What matters is that some take every opportunity to complain about what others have and they don't.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

William's picture

No one here is complaining about what they receive. We do however find it wrong that some athletes/fans/whatever believe that what they receive is a small benefit for their sacrifice. That thought is just straight up bullshit.

BrewstersMillions's picture

"Yeah, but when was the last time 80,000 people showed up to watch a kid do a damn chemistry experiment?"
James Caan, The Program
I get what you guys are saying. Small Benefit is the wrong choice or words here. Benefit. Moderate Benefit, or flat out "Advantage" is a better word to use. With that said, I hung out with some athletes during my few years at OSU. Some football players, some basketball players, some gymnists. No one really major (at the time I was hanging with them anyway). Those dudes and dudettes have a tough road to plow themselves. I get that school doesn't cost them a dime-but they are going to bring in more money to OSU than any of us probably ever will. Not to mention, imagine every day of your life being lived in a fishbowl where everyone sees, and (sadly) cares about what you do. It's not nearly as sexy as the free (insert item here) makes it seem.
I knew a lot of dudes who would have gladly told OSU to shove it if they could afford school on their own.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

William's picture

There is no doubt that it is not an easy road, but to suggest that it is a small benefit is ignorant. Also even with their sacrifice considered, it is a huge benefit to graduate from college with little or no debt, the 50,000+ students at OSU that aren't athletes would certainly take it a moments notice. 

BrewstersMillions's picture

I get it. We are hung up on the word "small", It isn't. I was in a different position because my dad paid my way so I did graduate from college with no debt. I got the best of both worlds so its easy for me to say "Oh come on, they work hard and play football!". I saw it firsthand, not many of them liked a lot that went around it. They certainly had more than a 'small' benefit, but they had to put up with a lot of shit too. And that was 2001-2005, before the world became even smaller than it was back then. There is a lot that goes with a ride, a lot of good, and a lot of bad. They don't experience college the same way I did\you do-but there's a lot of good they missed to go with a lot of the bad they didn't.
I know you are saying people sell the advantage short-my advice to you is don't do the same with the disadvantages (And there are many) they face.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

William's picture

Considering my Gf is one of the top riders for OSU's Hunter-Jumper team, sure she clearly has no marketable value for a team that should/could be a varsity sport at OSU. She chose OSU because of its business school, simple as that. She knows the debt she faces, and has chosen to more than take that on because of the prestige that now comes with a degree from Fisher. This is all beside the point I was trying to make, that these athletes receive far from a "small benefit", for to say otherwise is spitting in the face of every other student that pays their own way through Ohio State. If you would tell a majority of the OSU student body about Bellamy/Williams's situation most of them would easily jump at the opportunity to receive that scholarship, instead of graduate with thousands in debt. I am not arguing that these athletes have a very high marketable value, but to suggest that what they receive is a pittance really demonstrates how far out of touch you are with reality. You do realize that student debt in this country has now risen above $1 trillion right? And that since the 1970s, college tuition has on average increased at a rate of 400% in comparison to inflation? Most students would kill to receive a 4 year scholarship, let alone receive free room and board, books, and clothing. 

hodge's picture

I said it once, I'll say it again. ^ This. 
My parents helped me through school, but I also worked 35 hours a week to supplement that.  I'm not saying that athletes don't pay their own way (through blood, sweat, and physical exhaustion), and that their road isn't hard on its own. I have no problem with them getting free tuition/everything else. I have no problem with iPads for athletes, that's a great benefit for people in extinuating circumstances--as Brewster said, we're hung up on "small benefits". An iPad is small, but a free collegiate education--at the coast of busting my ass athletically--is a priceless commodity that I do not consider "small", thus the idea of collegiate athletes whining about how they should be paid does indeed annoy me a bit. It completely devalues what said university has given them, and make no mistake, I'd have gladly busted my ass if it led to a free education--as would a lot of my roommates and peers who aren't as athletically gifted. 

klfeck's picture

^envy
 
Maybe "if" you had busted your ass a little harder prior to college either academically or  scholastically, you would have gotten some or more college paid for. Or maybe you just weren't born gifted in either way. Either way, it doesn't matter. These revenue sport athletes Benefit the school and the non revenue sport athletes and because of them all athletes get benefits that the average student doesn't get. That's not wrong. That's the way the world works.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

hodge's picture

^ Lulz
I'm not disagreeing with you.  I fully understand that revenue-generating sports are an absolute boon to the brand that is The Ohio State University, and that indeed they warrant such benefits as gifted to those whom qualify for the highest academic scholarships that the university offers.  It's not envy that I--and others on this board--recognize that a free ride is not a small benefit, therefore I--like the original poster to whom you responded--think it's a bunch of baloney that these athletes want their school to pay them for their services.  Remember that I'm not debating iPads or anything else, only your original argument that a free ride is a small benefit.  They're already being paid, whilst being given a two-front education: (1) in the realm of sports, where they aspire to one day play professionally, and (2) in the realm of the real world, where they're given the chance to bolster themselves financially should option one never come to  fruition.
Just because I have an opinion on said subject does not imply that I am envious, perhaps you should realize that before you judge me personally and make the assertation that I am a petty human being who is envious of those who you have merely inferred to have put in more time or better utilized their talents.  This is the internet, I don't ask you to know who I am, but I do ask that you respect the opinion that I hold.  No one here is  attacking you, just voicing their respectful disagreement with your original sentiment.

William's picture

Hodge, it's not worth it. This is like debating Hegemonic Stability Theory with a wall.

hodge's picture

Point taken, good sir.
By the way, William, you a poli sci major?

William's picture

Yes PoliSci and Econ. Focus is in IR Theory.

hodge's picture

That's rad.  I minored in Political Decision Making, with a Major in Strat Comm.  Loved IR though, Poli Sci 545 (Foreign Policy Decision Making) was one of the most interesting class I attended at OSU. Dr. Hermann was the man, rented out the top floor of Thompson just so we could do a 5-day game where we basically split into countries and conducted policy.  

William's picture

I'm taking that course right now with Hermann. It's now called something like Strategies of War and Peace. Hermann is an excellent professor. I've also got Politics of International Terrorism with Keiber and he's good. Really trying to get into one of Wendt's classes next semester.

klfeck's picture

@william
 
Maybe your just too young and naive to understand how the world really works. Your GF may be the best horse woman around but if that doesn't draw attention like football or basketball or any other revenue sport than it's marketable value to the school is greatly diminished and not on the same value as a top level athlete in a revenue sport.
My "small benefit" quote was in regards to an iPad, not in regards to the full ride some athletes receive in exchange for their participation in a revenue sport. You do understand that they don't really get a free ride right? You also understand that just because a majority or students would trade places with William or Bellemy doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because none of those students who would gladly trade places could do what Williams or Bellamy does. They just don't have the skill, dedication, passion. Nor have they put in the years and years of hard work and sacrifice that was necessary to get them in that position. That is the cold hard truth. The world is not a fair place. Some people have skills that are valuable to the outside world, some people have skills that are just as impressive, but not of value to the generall population.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

William's picture

No one is complaining about what they receive, yet you rant on and on about how they deserve that. We agree! But dear God, take a reading comprehension class, because as of right now you have yet to even understand Hodge's point, and mine as well. Also don't change what you meant by "small benefit", when you have clearly listed above that their full ride is a small benefit. I'm going to put this as nicely as possible, yes being a DI athlete is quite the burden, but it doesn't even come close to the burden of facing debt numebring in the thousands upon graduation, if you think otherwise, you're full of shit and have no grasp on reality, especially any financial aspects of it. So please don't lecture me on "The real world", when you fail to even grasp the financial ramifications of student loan debt, and how large of a burden it is on so many graduates in this nation. Also please don't lecture me on receiving scholarships, 2 years of my fathers GI Bill, which I have to maintain grades to receive, as well as merit scholarships are why I will be graduating with little to no debt. Also, little bit of context, my Gf moved around three times withing her junior, senior and freshman year of college, which prevented her from receiving in state tuition at UNC, Texas, and now LSU(she clearly attends OSU, but may have attended those schools if she could receive in-state). I've agreed to help pay her debts, so please don't lecture me on "responsibility" and "the real world" when you are the one without a clue.

klfeck's picture

The article was about iPads. Nowhere in the article did it mention players saying they wanted to be paid. My comment was related to the article about iPads. If you can't understand that than either you have a reading comprehension problem or too much ego to admit your argument was for nothing.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

hodge's picture

The article was about iPads, no one's debating that.  You chose to respond to this comment on paying players, though:

"Why are players complaining they need to get paid?  While I am all for keeping up with technology, I have been out of school and working for almost two years now and I still can't afford an iPad.  Must be nice."

The small benefit you might have been trying to refer to was an iPad, but since it was based on the above comment, your wording implied you believing that an iPad and a full collegiate scholarship was a "small benefit".

William's picture

Also have a problem with this: "They just don't have the skill, dedication, passion." 
I agree they certainly don't have the skill, but the dedication or passion? How do you even know that? Man you're really coming off as ignorant, and I'm trying not to violate the "don't be a jerk" policy, but man how clueless can you be? Seriously, who are you to judge someone's drive or determination?

klfeck's picture

Again reading comprehension seems to be a real problem for you. The students you say that would gladly trade places with Williams or Bellemy do not have what it takes to make that argument plausible. Hey I would gladly trade places with Will Smith but the whole singing and acting thing might be a problem. An educated guy like yourself should not have trouble understanding this.

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

William's picture

Look, I agree with teh stance that an iPad is a small benefit, however this very comment you are addressing has nothing to do with whether or not they can do it. I admitted as much in one of the first sentences of my rebuttal. I do however have a problem with your stance that they don't have the drive or determination to do so.

Hoody Wayes's picture

Steve Jobs was more micro about design and engineering and more macro, about application. You may infer his thinking was never football-specific. But, football requires study and comprehension - the stuff of education. Education was cited as a principal application for the iPad, from the formative stage of its development.  
It would be nice - academically - if Ohio State weren't so "old school." Its catalog of purely, distance learning classes and majors is, pretty thin. This must be a manifestation of OSU's terrestrial footprint. The administration needs folks on campus, to pay for all that construction.

tennbuckeye19's picture

I heard Brady Hoke has a Zune. He rocks out on it listening to Loverboy and doing 12 ounce curls. 

BrewstersMillions's picture

I heard he only has IPod Mini! Everyone knows that is for little girls!

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

thorvath22's picture

I would be the guy asking to trade in his iPad for a galaxy nexus or transformer prime...why? because I'm a smart f***ing guy, thats why. Google all the way.

schooey's picture

Do you know that until around 1999-ish you could bankrupt out of student loans! It has been said that many doctors "paid" for school that way. Sadly, I entered grad school around that time. 

schooey's picture

Colleges make millions, the student athletes get a "free" ride, worth what at OSU $100,000? Then you have the NCAA, the real problem.
I would be willing to bet that one does not lose an academic scholarship for pissing on a bar. I say pay them as if the sport was a job, around $10/hr or something, because they do not have time to work a job. I would say pay them nothing, no way, but when the schools make enough money from the sport that it actually keeps them in business... the system has a problem. 

William's picture

"I would be willing to bet that one does not lose an academic scholarship for pissing on a bar."- You're right, this is entirely true, but then again, one does not maintain an academic scholarship with a 2.0, but they do maintain an athletic one. Also you don't receive world-renowned training, nutrition, medical care, or even the tutoring that you do with an athletic scholarship. I'm not arguing that those benefits are undeserved either. Also there are how many self-sufficient athletic departments in all of college sports? Less than 20? I say student-athletes should be happy with what they receive. They were born with athletic talent and earned the ability to receive a world class education that billions of people will not receive. They should be thankful for that, not demand more. I also think it was Jon Thoma who said he would even get a job so he could have an apartment off-campus, so that kind of throws a wrench in the whole "they can't get a job" machine.