Yale athletics fans logging on to the Athletics Department’s Web site for information about the school’s teams are in for a shock, a treat or both.
The department recently unveiled its new athletics Web site, which was created in conjunction with the corporate Official College Sports Network and is a far cry from the design and infrastructure of the old site.
With the move, the Bulldogs now have a more professional look for the homepage more efficient data uploading from inside the Sports Publicity Office.
“We felt like the current system was good for the beginning but that it had run its course both in design and how it was updated,” Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn said. “We decided to go with OCSN after we looked for the best working relationship possible as well as the best deal.”
OCSN manages athletics Web sites for over 140 collegiate programs, including all the Ivy League schools except Columbia University. The partnership provides the Elis with reliability and automated systems for data management as well as opportunities to tailor the Web site to the needs of the Athletics Department and the Yale Sports Publicity Office, Conn said.
“The objective is to make the Web site as automated as possible,” he said. “Eventually, we will want everything from ticket purchases to signing up for alumni events and reunions to be done online.”
But for now, the Athletics Department is simply trying to establish pages for all 34 of Yale’s teams and move all the old content to the new format.
The old Web site was run by Rich Kaplan, one of Yale’s athletic trainers, and a team of students. When content was added to the site, it had to be sent first to Kaplan or his helpers and then uploaded into the system via HTML programming, which was time-consuming and arduous at times.
Now, the Sports Publicity Department can use a software program called NetEditor, which OCSN provides. The program provides a template for the site which can be tailored to individual needs.
While data transmission is more automated under the new system, the Sports Publicity Office is still largely understaffed, especially during the current labor strike, and is often unable to handle the amount of Web content. Currently, Yale has the smallest sports publicity department in the Ivy League, Conn said.
As a result, the office is adding the position of student Web site reporter to work alongside Sam Rubin ’95, who is Web site editor, Conn said.
Conn described their roles as being similar to “hunter-gatherers” who will provide detailed coverage of all events ranging from football games to sailing regattas.
“In the old site, you clicked on a score, and you got maybe two sentences about the games,” he said. “Now, we want stories with quotes from the coaches and other details, even if the contest was on the road.”
Women’s golf captain Stephanie Wei ’05 said she was impressed by the page, which has individual biographies and photographs of team members, as well as up-to-date news.
“It will be great for recruiting because so many people go online to check out the schools they might be interested in,” Wei said. “The look is much more updated and modern.”
Despite all the benefits of the upgrade, there are some drawbacks.
“The old system was slow and uploading data could be a pain,” said Tyler Old ’04, who plays varsity men’s lacrosse and administered the team’s former Web site. “But now, we lose out on having our own individual page.”
The new Web site still can be accessed at the old address www.yale.edu/athletics or at the new URL: www.goyalebulldogs.com.