Update: The NCAA has shot down this idea. Akron just released the below statement:
While we appreciate the social media response, we feel it’s important to set the record straight about our@ZipsMBB Social Media Night promotion and the jerseys we will wear for our next home game, as some incorrect information has been reported.
Our Men’s Basketball Twitter handle, @ZipsMBB, will not be on the backs of our jerseys when we play on@ESPNU at 5 p.m. Saturday at James A. Rhodes Arena. We had asked the NCAA if this was permissible and were told it is not.
Earlier: Akron’s “Social Media Night” is this Saturday, and so is its big game against the Ohio Bobcats. So the school is pulling a fitting PR stunt.
Instead of players’ last names, the school will be promoting Twitter handles on the back of each jersey. The Twitter handles won’t belong to the players; they’ll be promotional handles associated with Akron. (Technically, schools aren’t allowed to use players’ names in promotions, because they aren’t professional, paid athletes.)
Hashtags will also be strung about the Zips’ court.
It’s a little surprising this hasn’t been done before. The school is already buttering up the press, creating jerseys for reporters like CBS’ Jeff Goodman.
The front of the jerseys has a giant “Z” logo across the front, with each player’s number.
[Image via Reddit]
Absolutely brilliant marketing strategy by Akron in preparation for its Social Media Night this Saturday. twitter.com/GoodmanCBS/sta…
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) January 28, 2013