The Stephen F. Austin State University athletic department announced an interesting rewards program. SFA will begin using block-chain powered Tokens for rewards for attendance at sporting events, coaching education and other SFA Athletic Department initiatives.
“One of our core values within the athletics department is to be innovative and our definition of being innovative is to be different. Launching the SFA Athletics Token and creating this interactive community puts us at the forefront of this technology,” SFA AD Ryan Ivey said in a press release announcing the program
“Due to the fact that the technology has evolved to a state of mass adoption where people can learn to use it with relative ease, we now have an opportunity to merge our current fans and community with a new and different, unreached demographic of potential supporters. Over the last several weeks we have had positive responses through beta testing, which leads us to believe there is significant upside,” says Ivey.
So, what’s this all about?
Well a block-chain is simply a way of storing and safely transferring digital information – in this case, an SFA Token. You could compare the tokens to a form of campus cryptocurrency.
SFA is the first collegiate athletic department use the blockchain-based rewards token, the program is called SFA Athletics Token Club program. It will be managed by Lumberjack Sports Institute (LSI) Director/Head Soccer Coach Wally Crittenden, who says this special program is just the beginning.
“One of the real areas of value here is the innovative thinking and a larger conversation about athletic departments housing research and development divisions”, explains Crittenden. “Most companies with the budget of an athletic department have an in-house R and D, that’s where the incredible work happens.”
Crittenden spoke with CollegeAD and explained that, while he was at the University of Nebraska, he had a hand in creating the Ultimate Athlete Lab, the country’s first R and D arm for an athletics department. There, he began to learn how critical it was for an athletic department to operate more like an academic department when the rights to indirect cost sharing of grant dollars are on the table.
“What’s one of the largest line item costs for a typical athletic department? Upkeep of facilities. Well with a research and development department in-house, now you have access to shares of grant funded research dollars that can help off-set those costs.”
The SFA Athletics Tokens are housed in the Lumberjack Sports Institute, the research and development department for SFA athletics. Crittenden says they are using block-chain for low cost for the department and transaction speed for users. The SFA Tokens can be redeemed for SFA merchandise and benefits. Plus, participating local vendors will also have the option of accepting the SFA Athletics Token as a part of their sponsor agreements. Think of the tokens as a voucher that can only be redeemed at certain locations. But here’s a piece of the puzzle that makes the SFA token’s really special: they can also be bought or transferred.
“We really want this to be social incentivized participation, that’s why we made sure people could transfer tokens. The more people that use it, the better it will be,” he explained.
The rewards program is now live. All people have to do is create a free wallet with instructions found on the Lumberjack Sports Institute’s website. SFA is in the final stages of app development and, once approved, it will be available for free, for both Android and iPhone devices.
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