* The following commentary appeared recently in the Hotline newsletter and has been republished (and updated) here for readers who missed the original …
The Oregon State football program made national news last week, seemingly for the wrong reasons:
The Beavers sent recruiting information to Hawaii players.
Not to recruits in Hawaii, mind you, but to current University of Hawaii players.
That’s a no-no. Or as the NCAA could very well call it: Tampering.
The Beavers, who have several former Hawaii assistant coaches on staff, claimed the mailings were unintentional and said they would investigate.
They shouldn’t bother.
Instead, they should self-report the matter to the NCAA, accept whatever minor sanctions might follow — at worst, it’s a secondary violation — and get back to being ultra-aggressive with their recruiting.
The Beavers have the right idea; they just flopped on the execution with the Hawaii mailings.
More than any football program in the Pac-12, Oregon State must be creative, must live on edge.
And not just in regard to recruiting, but to marketing, to fundraising … to everything.
The Beavers need to move their football operations to within a blade of the line they cannot cross with respect to the university’s integrity and the NCAA’s rulebook:
* Their division is loaded — one of the toughest in the FBS.
* Their in-state rival appears to have righted itself and could have a breakthrough season.
* The Beavers are emerging from a season in the gutter with a new head coach, Jonathan Smith, and a desperate need for relevance.
Regardless of whether the mailings to Hawaii players were unintentional or calculated, they got the Beavers in the headlines.
Given the state of the program, I’m not sure there is such a thing as bad press.
In fact, OSU should convene a team of the most creative minds in the athletic department to formulate marketing strategies that other schools wouldn’t consider — wouldn’t need to consider.
Increasing Smith’s profile across the Pac-12 footprint should be the priority, with all options on the table.
How about a shirtless appearance on the recruiting trail this spring?
Why not slap Smith’s face on a billboard in Seattle?
How can they maximize recent success in churning out NFL quarterbacks?
Nothing should be too outlandish to consider.
OSU needs players, and so much more: Energy, visibility, buzz …
All of it, three times over.
Why we need your support: Like so many other providers of local journalism across the country, the Hotline’s parent website, mercurynews.com, recently moved to a subscription model. A few Hotline stories will remain free each month (as will the newsletter), but for access to all content, you’ll need to subscribe. The good news for Hotline faithful: I’ve secured a discount: 12 cents per day for 12 months. Click here to subscribe. And thanks for your loyalty.
*** Send suggestions, comments and tips (confidentiality guaranteed) to email@example.com
*** Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline
*** Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.