Not that long ago, it would be unfathomable to even consider that high school recruits would choose a school based on the shoe sponsor.
After all, about 99% will not make the pros. So who the shoe sponsor is means pretty much nothing compared with the education to be received that will provide their income and their professional identity for the rest of their life. But contemporary high school students, not just athletes, deploy a more unique, holistic approach in selecting a college. As an example, over half rate the recreational facilities available as playing a major role in their decision as to where to go to school.
Ranking high is also the game day experience, of which venue music plays a major role.
Every great athletic program has a great tradition, that is buttressed by great venue music. At the University of Wisconsin, it comes at the start of the third quarter when “Jump Around” is played by House of Pain and all of Randall Stadium literally rocks. Enter Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech University and Metallica’s “Enter the Sandman” greets you!
There are even times when the music played at games honors a player.
Fly Williams lit it up for Austin Peay back in the early ’70s. Played at the games was “Super Fly” by Curtis Mayfield. And that was in a much, much innocent time when it came to the lyrics of a song. Gameday at a college is suitable for the whole family. The lyrics of many songs are not. In an article on Sports 24/7 about the best music played at college games, it is warned that “…some of the selections play lyrics that are NSFW.” Many find some of these lyrics to be offensive.
This is also true for the politics associated with music.
Rapper Kanye West came out in support of President Donald Trump. About that expression of personal choice which is the basis of our Constitution, Ta-Nehisis Coates wrote an article for The Atlantic bashing him with the not-too-subtle title of, “I’m not Black, I’m Kanye.” When UnderArmour founder and Chief Executive Kevin Plank took a similar position, there was a tremendous backlash. Some felt that recruits would not go to schools that wore UnderArmour gear due to his support of Trump. The same could be true for schools that played music by an entertainer whole viewpoints were opposed by many. This could also be true same with personal choices here, as singer Chris Brown, for example, has a long list of beef.
In this regard, is not too difficult to imagine #metoo opposing a school playing songs that were considered offensive to women, or by those who had abused women in some form.
Its not like college athletic directors need more to worry about for their programs and at their schools. But as the legendary Bob Dylan used to sing, the times they are a changing. What venue music is playing could one day be just as important as what shoe brand to embrace for the program. For today’s athletic director, it may not be the music you grew up with, but you better check out what is playing at your game day or face the consequences!